It’s official, folks! Spring has finally sprung. The rain has slowed to an occasional drizzle, the flowers have bloomed, and so has the popular Netflix special “Cleaning Up With Marie Kondo”. In the series, a friendly, pleasant looking young woman smiles as she walks through a family home. She calmly assesses the cluttered shelves before suggesting that, well, it’s all useless junk.

Okay, not quite. She follows a method she’s dubbed the “KonMari Method”, which requires us to ask ourselves a difficult question about each household item: Does this spark joy? If not, perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to that particular knick-knack and open up space for something new.

If your home is feeling a little cluttered, take a few pages from Marie’s (very neat and tidy) book and clear out the stuff that no longer brings you joy- along with all of last year’s dust, dirt, and extra grocery bags, of course! Spring cleaning can be overwhelming, so here’s how to start.

Step 1: Get Organized

At first glance, cleaning and de-cluttering an entire home feels like a massive undertaking…and it is! That’s why you have to break it down into bite-sized pieces. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, as they say. Before you throw yourself headfirst into the nearest cabinet, make a Spring Cleaning Game Plan. In it, draft:

– What needs to be done
– Which projects you’ll tackle first
– Who is going to handle each assignment

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, either. There are plenty of cute, printable cleaning checklists online, like this one from JustaGirlandHerBlog:

The blank checklist allows you to fill in your own tasks. If you’d prefer to let the internet fill out your checklist for you, try this pre-made list that should cover just about every household cleaning task imaginable. If you can’t spend a full weekend channeling Mary Poppins, don’t sweat it. Instead, try setting aside 2-4 hours of focused de-cluttering time per week and Spring Cleaning will be done before you know it!

Step 2: Free Up Space

So you’ve made your list, started checking off boxes, and it’s time to start clearing out the old…only you don’t really want to. That stack of graphic tees taking up two shelves in your closet is covered in dust, but memories too. The boxes of old yearbooks, art projects, and old toys in the garage are too special to toss…or are they?

In her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, Marie Kondo drops some tips that hit a little too close to home. In an inspired and surprisingly deep quote, she reminds us that our space should reflect how we want to live:

“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” – Marie Kondo

Her suggestion? “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”

As tough at it is to say goodbye to old things, it’s worth asking, “Does this antique flower vase really make me happy?”. If not, tell that vase thank you for its years of service and let it go!

Step 3. Minimize Waste

Tempting as it is to dump the purged contents of your entire household straight into the garbage, the only things that should go in the trash are items that are broken, non-recyclable, and non-hazardous. That means no old laptops, no batteries, and no ugly Christmas sweaters! For everything else, it’s best to donate or recycle at the appropriate location…or even sell it!

For tech waste: Schedule a pickup with Tech Waste Recycling, located in Manhattan Beach. They recycle your old tech products responsibly while keeping all of your data private and safe.

For hazardous waste: Drop off paint and solvents, used motor oil and filters, anti-freeze and other automotive fluids, cleaning products and aerosol cans, expired medicine,  automotive and household batteries, and more at The Hyperion Center. The center is located at 7660 W. Imperial Highway, Gate B, between Vista del Mar and Pershing Drive in El Segundo. Call 800-988-6942 for more information.

For donations: Goodwill’s shop and drop-off center is located at 630 N Sepulveda Blvd #5B, El Segundo. Before you go, check their list of acceptable donation items.

For a little extra cash:
Children’s Orchard– A typical resale store for gently-used children’s clothing, toys, and products. Choose between cash or store credit after your items are appraised. Some items may not be accepted, and specific drop-off hours are enforced.

South Bay Mom-Mom Resale– Just one example of a local Facebook group focused on local exchanges and resale. Most items are low-priced, but sometimes you come across great deals.

Torrance Antique Street Faire– For vintage items and furniture, the Antique Faire offers appraisals for only $3. Open on the 4th Sunday of each month.

If none of those sound like a good fit, there’s always Craigslist or a good, old-fashioned garage sale!

Step 4: Care for Our Community

Once your home is de-cluttered, de-stressed, and de-dust-bunnied, continue to do your part to keep our city (and planet!) clean. Almost everyone is on board the recycling train, but review these common recycling mistakes just in case! Whenever possible choose non-toxic cleaning products, too. They’re better for your family and the environment, too!

Remind children not to litter, and set an example by picking up trash when you see it. To take Spring Cleaning 2019 to the next level, get the whole family outside to your favorite park or beach. Spend just 15 minutes collecting trash, followed by a picnic lunch to celebrate. Have fun!