I just had an amazing weekend of spring cleaning. For those of you who have been reading along, you know that means I had a fantastic time. Decluttering, organizing, scrubbing, shampooing and sweeping were all on the agenda and all were crushed!

Of course the reward of a cold beer in the hot tub didn't hurt one little bit. Not to mention the tub was re-filled and we got the chemicals sorted out. You don't want to know what happened in that tub over St. Patrick's Day weekend! Thankfully we avoided the green food coloring.

If you're itching to get cleaning and you are (beyond) ready for spring, this article should help nudge you in the right direction. I have memories of Mom (and us kids) taking down all the curtains, washing all the windows, laundering all the blankets and moving all the furniture during those spring cleaning weekends. It always seemed like a ton of work to me. I also could never really tell the difference in the items being cleaned. But what did I know? I was a snotty-nosed teenager.

Today, my roommate and I relish in the fresh smell of the carpets. We gleefully bury our faces in the blankets on the couch (no more dog smell!). Truly appreciating the fruits of your labor is as important as doing the work itself.

OK. Let's get started.

One of the easier and more "hidden" ways of spring cleaning is to attack and organize your closets. Chances are you only deal with the material right up front. Most of us have various random bags, toys, a printer, backpacks and even a ski helmet tucked away in the back of our closets. I'm not saying that any of those things are bad. The lesson here is simply to evaluate the item and determine if it needs a new home. The options are relocating it to a more suitable spot; adding it to the donation pile; or leaving it where it is.

The standard "rules" of evaluation cover just about everything in your home. If you haven't touched it in a year (or three), get rid of it. Either sell it, donate it, or give it to a friend. If it is something you use on a fairly regular basis, try to find a more appropriate home for it. A shed or garage is a perfect spot for ski gear (critters notwithstanding) and off-season clothing and equipment. I have a large bin (currently living in my closet) that holds all of my (soft) winter gear. As soon as I'm done adventuring in the backcountry, it gets moved to the garage. Of course that doesn't really help with the decluttering, since it is replaced by my summer gear bin! Alas, at least it is still organized.

We have had some shuffling in the roommate situation at the house, so this weekend was high time for a kitchen ransacking. We removed everything from every cabinet (one at a time) and evaluated every bottle, bag and bin. The goal was to only keep things that were either ours or useful. There were dozens of spices, sauces, random containers in the fridge and bags/boxes of god-knows-what that found their way out the door.

If you haven't done this in a while (and you enjoy cooking even a tiny bit), do yourself a favor and empty out all of your cabinets. Not only does it make you remove (and even find) items you had forgotten about, it is a great time to clean those cabinets out as well. (We all have a layer of salt and/or sugar in one of our cabinets!)

The garage is one of my favorite places in the house. It provides a bit of shelter in the winter months for quick car projects or fixing some random broken device. It also holds all of the fun gear that makes living in the White Mountains worthwhile. Skis (backcountry, nordic, downhill), bikes (cruisers, mountain, road), snowboards, longboards, frisbees, and — of course — cornhole boards. During the winter season, we tend to be a little less organized when we get home from an adventure.

This spring cleaning season is perfect for ripping everything off the shelves (you do have shelves, right?) and re-organizing where everything lives. We hang the skis from the rafters and hang the less-frequently-used bikes from the walls. The goal is to be able to get to whatever "toy" you're after without moving three other things just to get to it. Of course, depending on the size of your garage/shed, this can be a bit more challenging, but you can still get the "warm-weather" stuff toward the front and be ready for a great spring!

Switching back to inside the house, it is called "spring cleaning" for a reason.

"I strongly recommend shampooing the carpets and cleaning the windows during your spring cleaning weekend," said Badger Realty agent Linda Walker.

"Those two items have a huge impact every time you walk in the front door and, if you are selling, these two projects will pay off more than any other cleaning you may do," she continued.

Lastly, it is always a good idea to take a cruise around the outside of your home and tidy up the lawn (assuming you can see it!) with a quick raking. The winter snows have squished down your lawn and you likely missed a few leaves last fall. This raking is much easier than having to gather up all the leaves, and it will have a big impact on how your home feels this spring.

Happy cleaning!

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