Tag Archives: spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning 101

Spring cleaning 5
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…spring has arrived! Spring in Austin can mean many things – bluebonnets, patio margaritas, lake outings, and the list goes on – but for this Austinite it marks the start of spring cleaning. What January is to healthy living resolutions April is to closet organization.

Unfortunately many people are overwhelmed by the idea of spring cleaning when all they need is a push in the right direction and a plan to keep them on track. Keep your eye on the prize and read below for my fool proof plan. Happy organizing!

Tips to keep in mind before you begin:

  • Start and FINISH one space before moving onto the next
  • All items you set aside for donation or repair must leave your home within the next 24 hours and all items you plan to sell must leave your house within the next 72 hours.
  • Make a list of your overall goals and tape the list in a spot where you (and others!) will see it daily…this will help hold you accountable and keep you on track.
Spring cleaning 2

Margaret’s trusty donation bag ready to be taken to Goodwill


Now the fun can begin. With any project like this it is always best to start at the heart of the matter, and in this case that means your closet. Begin with hanging clothes and look at every single item…every single item…in some cases this will move quickly and in others this inevitably means trying things on. Each item should fit well now (pre and post partum being the exception), be in good shape and be something that you love and makes you feel great. Clothes that are aspirational shouldn’t be allowed to shame you or take up unnecessary space. As you go along make piles for donation, sale and repair.

Goodwill is my favorite donation spot in Austin, as your donations will help fuel education and job growth, while Craigslist, Facebook sales groups and SparkleKids are my preferred way to sell home goods, clothing and kids items.
Spring cleaning 4Once you have finished giving your hanging clothes the once over, move on to folded items, shoes, purses, jewelry and other accessories. Everything that remains can now be given a proper and intentional home. But, wait! Before you can sign off on your wardrobe make sure all winter items are properly tucked away – coats and sweaters should be newly cleaned and surrounded in plastic to prevent moth damage and boots and winter bags that need some love should be taken to the cobbler. This may seem like overkill now, but I promise you will thank me in the fall!

Okay, now treat yourself to a well deserved margarita, and then apply this same method to every other closet in your home.

Thankfully this plan can be tailored for any area of your home and since it is spring cleaning this is the perfect time to tackle the nooks and crannies that normally get overlooked.


Kids clothing can get confusing since some items might need to be kept as hand me downs or keepsakes. I know it’s tempting to keep every little onesie but in this case I strongly recommend only holding onto items that will truly feel needed or special down the road. For items that are kept but no longer in use now is the time to pack them away in matching plastic bins or vacuum sealed storage bags.


Spring cleaning 6When cleaning out and organizing your kitchen and pantry don’t forget to go through your spices and infrequently used dry goods. This is also the right time to do a yearly scrub (Bar Keeper’s Friend!) on pots and pans. And of course don’t forget to wipe clean the dividers that hold your kitchen utensils and cutlery.


Bathrooms and vanities should be given the same scrutiny as all other areas…toss old make up, toiletries or any unnecessary samples that have built up over the past year.


Storage areas and garages can take on a life all their own and are often the places where unused items go to die. Make sure all lawn utensils, sporting goods and tools are both used consistently and in good working order. These are also areas where labels can be especially helpful. Once you give everything a labeled home your system will be a no-brainer to maintain.


Home offices are easily and quickly overtaken by paper. Of course there are non-negotiable paper documents which must be carefully labeled and filed. But once those have been set aside often what remains can either be digitized and stored on a cloud or found online. I love the Tiny Scanner app that allows for documents to be easily saved and emailed.

As each area of your space receives the spring cleaning treatment, make a list of needed bins or organizing tools. This step is best saved for last so you can actually see what needs to be contained, grouped or labeled.

Bravo if you have stuck to this plan and made it to the end! Not only is your entire home organized and spruced up but moving forward your whole space will be much easier to maintain. Everything is now in its place.

Special offer for iGnite readers! Margaret would like to offer $25 off your first three hours of organizing. Offer valid through August 2016.

Spring cleaning 3-1Margaret Williams is a professional organizer based in Austin, Texas. She believes if you spend the time and money to purchase something, it should be treated with purpose and respect. Our homes, no matter the size, should be intentional reflections of our best self – not just an afterthought. If you are interested in speaking with Margaret, she can be reached at margaret@editspaces.com or 512.656.7427.

All photography by Kady Dunlap

Spring Cleaning the Mental Garbage

“Tell yourself everything will work out, things will get better, you are important, you are worthy of great things, you are loveable, the time is now, this too shall pass, you can be who you really are, the best is yet to come, you are strong, you can do this!” – Doe Zantamata

Point to Ponder:
What stories have you bought?
What stories have you created and clung to as a way of excusing yourself from having the family, relationships, health, career, self- confidence, life you want, etc?

Action Item:
Decide what the new story is you’re going to tell yourself
about who you are and what you are capable of.

If you are like me, I really want a couple of days to completely dedicate to spring cleaning. The idea of clearing out the clutter and non-essentials that I have collected over the past year (or ten…) would be liberating and feel so good!  But, of course the ability to dedicate several days to this task (which I would need) is almost impossible. Instead, I’ve made it a goal to clean a little each week. With that said, I also feel like I have collected negative and useless thoughts over time that aren’t true and don’t serve me, my family, my relationships, or my life.  In other words, I’ve collected mental garbage that I need to purge and be done with!

Darren Hardy, the author and publisher of my favorite magazine Success, recently wrote an excellent article titled “The Stories We Tell Ourselves.”  The article is heavy on physicality, but it can of course be related to everything we tell ourselves we can’t do — our excuses and even the lies we tell ourselves.  So while we are spring cleaning our homes, what better time to focus on mental spring cleaning too. I actually think it’s equally as important, if not more important that the physical act of cleaning our homes.

by Darren Hardy

We are all excellent storytellers. We have a story for everything.  We have a story for why we can’t lose weight, stick to our diets, jog, do pushups, get up early, eat healthy, exercise regularly and stay disciplined. Examples are:

“I’m big-boned.”
“It’s bad for my knees.”
“I don’t have time.”
“I’m too old.”
“It’s impossible when I travel.”
“I deserve a reward.”
“I have PMS.”
“It’s fat-free.”

Recently my friend Kerri told me a story she heard when she was six months into her pregnancy. She had gained a significant amount of weight (she was, after all, pregnant) and started to worry whether she could ever regain her previous figure. She called a mom-friend and asked, “What really happens with this baby weight after my son is born? Will it all go away?” Her friend replied, “Well, a woman once told me you keep 10 pounds per child.” Kerri nearly dropped the phone. The friend’s pronouncement deflated her hopes of returning to her pre-baby weight and shape.

Later that week, Kerri was at the spin studio where she takes fitness classes. Kerri related the 10-pounds-per-child story to Wendy, who also was there to work out. “That’s ridiculous!” Wendy exclaimed. “I’ve had seven children, so I should be 70 pounds overweight. That’s just an excuse—don’t buy that story.” Then Wendy added that “it won’t be easy or automatic, but with hard work and time, you can get your body back… and better.” This mother of seven was indeed in terrific shape, better than most who have never given birth. My friend decided to buy Wendy’s story instead of her other friend’s.

You know that the only thing keeping you from the body you want—the energy and vitality you want—are the stories you buy and retell yourself (and others).