These days, spring-cleaning is trendy. Sure, it's still a dreaded chore, but we're all rethinking our clutter, thanks to the influence of tidying expert Marie Kondo. The Japanese best-selling author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" has a new show, "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo," on Netflix, motivating viewers to organize their homes.
Her approach, known as the KonMari Method, is focused on tidying items by category. Start with clothes and then move on to books and papers, followed by "komono" (miscellaneous items) and sentimental items. Kondo's guideline? Only keep things that "spark joy." If an item doesn't spark joy, thank it for its service and get rid of it.
"If you're lacking motivation, I highly suggest watching an episode," says Kelsey Roadruck, editor of House Method, an online magazine. "Her method will teach you the art of folding laundry, how to categorically organize drawers with small boxes and how to finally purge the piles of stuff that no longer bring you joy."
Getting rid of clutter seems to be the top tip for organizers.
Marty Basher, a home organization expert for Modular Closets, urges consumers to clean their closets. If you're struggling with sentimental items, try his three-pile method: one pile for items you love, one for items you're unsure about and one pile that you can donate guilt-free.
"Pack the pile of items you are unsure about into a storage bin for three to six months," says Basher. "The next time you pull the storage bin out and go through the items, most personal attachments you have will have vanished. For items that you still cannot part with, you can add to your love pile or try leaving them in storage again."
Purging junk can be overwhelming, which is why Kim Jones, the owner of L+K Home Organization, recommends starting with a smaller, less emotional category. "If you are planning to organize the entire kitchen, start with spices which you can easily tell by expiration date if you should keep or let go."
She urges the importance of setting aside distraction-free time to organize, even if that's only in 15-minute increments. Make time for the job and do it right.
"If you are doing a closet, take every single item out to an open space to categorize every item and decide what you want to keep," says Jones.
When it comes to cleaning, don't reach for the same old cleaning products.
In the springtime, there's pollen, and dust and dander go airborne during deep-cleaning. Before beginning, make sure you have allergy-friendly cleaning products.
Wash fabrics such as linens and upholstery with hot water. Then, while your bedding is in the wash, turn on your bedroom ceiling fan to air out your mattress.
Change your home's air filters this time of year, too. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which traps airborne allergens.
Dust thoroughly throughout the house, wash floors and don't forget hard-to-clean areas such as baseboards.
"Start by sweeping baseboards to loosen dirt, then go back with a wet rag and either mild soap or a spray cleaner to get them perfectly clean," says Basher.
Spring is also the time to change smoke detector batteries and make sure fire extinguishers are in working condition and not expired.
Don't forget to spring-clean the outdoors, too, including gutters, flower beds and outdoor cooking areas.
"If you are cleaning gutters yourself, enlist help for safety," says Basher. "The main task is to remove debris that makes the gutter heavy and prevents water flow."
Trim flower beds and add some mulch. Next, clean the outdoor cooking areas. Basher recommends using Simple Green.
"Use an onion to clean the grill surface when the grill is heated," he says. "The acid in the onion will melt away debris."
He recommends using a window cleaner and newspaper for streak-free windows.
Clean window screens with warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid. Scrub each screen with a brush and then rinse thoroughly.
Once you get the house clean inside and out, work hard to keep it that way.
"This is key to not only get organized, but to stay organized," says Jones, who encourages consumers to give every item an easily identifiable space in the house and put those items back when you're done with them.