How often should I clean out my …

I always have clients ask how often they should clean out various spaces in their home.  Well, to be honest, the answer varies depending on how much stuff you accumulate and how good you are at keeping up with the spaces.  In order to answer I decided to pay attention to how often I myself end up cleaning out and organizing these various spaces:

Clothing closets & dressers- These spaces should be cleaned out every six months, ideally when you switch seasonal clothing.  Even if you are lucky enough to fit all your clothes in your closet, you should still do this every six months.  You don’t have to pull every item out and snuggle it to see if it “sparks joy” (although also fine if you want to go this route), just breeze through and pull out things you haven’t worn in the last six months, things you know don’t fit, and things that have seen better days.  Just pulling out these items will free up space and you will probably find you don’t need to do much more.

Pantry & fridge- You should clean these spaces every month.  I know, I know, you are rolling your eyes.  Well guess what?  This is stuff you are putting in your body and if you accidentally eat some mayo-based dressing that expired a year ago, that is not only disgusting but quite possibly dangerous and you may get sick.  I’m not asking for much here, just a super quick run through… if you can’t remember buying the item within the last few months then check the expiration date.   Basically I just want you to pull out and trash items that haven’t been touched since your last clean out.  If you hate wasting perfectly good food like I do, check out this cool new app, LINK, and donate it (kind of like Craigslist but for food donation).

Junk drawers and storage closets- They are easy to forget but junk drawers and storage closets should be cleaned every three to four months.  If you do a simple purge this often you will never end up being totally overwhelmed by these spaces (and thus calling me in to help).  Again, you don’t need to set aside a whole day or go nuts here, just pull out what you definitely don’t need and do a simple “put like with like” to get things back to good working order.

Car- Yes, you spend so much of your life here, it would improve your whole outlook immensely if you just clean your car every two months.  It’s crazy how many people use their car as a dumping ground.  I actually wanted to say more often than two months but I didn’t want to scare you off.  The reason that you need to do this pretty regularly is because it can be easy to let gross stuff like food trash sit in there, and if you’ve ever found a three-month old smoothie in the back of your car, then you know it’s not a fun place to be. 

To simplify the process I do this every time I get my car professionally washed.  I simply pull over before I get to the carwash so that I’m not rushed if the line happens to move quickly.  I grab two bags, one for trash and one for stuff that has to go in the house.  Most stuff falls into one of those categories and the items that need to stay get put in their proper home (like my reusable grocery bags which go in the little pocket on my driver’s side door, so that I always see and remember to take them when getting to the grocery store!).  Make sure to look under the seats and in all the random crevasses, the whole process should take no more then five to ten minutes.

Any other areas you are curious about?

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