Your spring cleaning season just got a lot easier! With the help of a new Goodwill service, you can now donate your items more conveniently than ever.
The Pack & Ship service allows you to mail your donations of clothing, shoes, and accessories to Goodwill at no cost and at a time that is most suitable for you.
Follow these 5 easy steps:
1. Pack and seal their box of donated clothing, footwear, and accessories
2. Visit: packandship.dcgoodwill.org
3. Schedule a date they would like the donation picked up by the U.S. Postal Service
4. Print a mailing label from the website and affix it to their donation box
5. Leave the donation box at the concierge desk on the date they would like it picked up (or deliver the box to their nearest USPS location)
January and February are a thing of the past, and March is officially on the calendar! Along with warmer weather and cherry blossom season, the time to begin your spring cleaning is here. For renters’ this is an exciting opportunity to get a fresh jump on sprucing up your apartment in the front end of the new year!
We know that cleaning and organizing your apartment sounds fantastic, but we also understand that it requires time and energy that a lot you reading this might not have an overabundance of in your everyday lives.
For this reason, we’ve decided to overview three time efficient cleaning tips to make getting your apartment clean super easy just in time for the spring season!
Tip #1: BREAK-DOWN “THE BIG 3” CLEANING TASKS
Cleaning your apartment can be broken down into what we call, “The Big 3” – The kitchen, the bathroom, and the bedroom. These are generally the areas of the apartment that are used the most and are going to take the longest to clean; this makes it super important that these areas are addressed first. Studies show that cleaning at least 1 of these three areas make the most visual difference in the cleanliness of your apartment.
Cleaning is already exhausting enough as it is, don’t make it any harder by tasking yourself with cleaning every closet, nook, and cranny inside of your apartment in a single day. If you’re short on time, break down the significant 3 areas of your apartment as you see fit, and tidy up accordingly.
Tip #2: CLEAR THE CLUTTER
A big factor in organizing your apartment home is knowing when to part ways with additional materials that create clutter; this means trashing the mountain of junk mail, old receipts, and even older grocery lists laying on all of your counter surfaces.
Doing this is a fast and effective way of cleaning your apartment when you’re in a time crunch. You will quickly find that having less clutter makes your apartment home feel more open and most importantly cleaner.
So, say goodbye to clutter, and hello to spring clean!
Tip #3: SMELLS GOOD, LOOKS GOOD.
The smell of your apartment home matters when it comes time to freshen up. We all know that it’s unsettling when your apartment is a disaster area, but it’s even worse when the smell of your apartment matches the look.
Instead of adding insult to injury, try adding in a scent like a candle, a scented plug-in, or an essential oil diffuser to your cleaning process when you’re short on time. In no way are we saying a clean smell makes up for a messy apartment, but the aroma of your place goes a long way when you don’t have hours to deep clean your apartment.
Cleaning will always be a process, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a difficult process.
Welcome to March, and happy spring cleaning!
Clear the Decks
Start by clearing off every surface in your apartment. Take every decorative item, kitchen gadget, candle and magazine and put them aside in a box for a day or two. After taking in your space with a fresh perspective, start slowly re-introducing items. You’ll have efficiently decluttered your visual and physical space and shifting some items around will give your place a new look with minimal effort and cost!
One of the best ways to refresh your apartment is to deodorize your carpets (especially if you have pets). Simply sprinkle your carpets with baking soda, let it rest for 30 minutes up to a few hours, then vacuum! The baking soda will absorb any lingering odors and is safe on most carpets.
DIY Your Decor
If you have a piece of furniture that no longer makes your heart sing, consider giving it an update with a coat of chalk paint! Chalk paint adheres to almost any finish so there’s no need to sand or strip your furniture, making it an apartment friendly project. Use a tutorial like this one to help you upgrade your outdated pieces.
Nothing freshens up a space like bringing the outdoors in! Pick up one of these house plants to spruce up your surroundings and clean the air around you at the same time.
Personalize Your Space
If you’re like us, there are a lot more photos on your Instagram feed than there are in your apartment. Take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through your photos from 2014 then pick one or two to print and frame!
Clear the Clutter
Before you can really dig in to the deep cleaning, you’ll need remove the obstacles. This task does not need to be a painful one if you set yourself up for success. Tackle one room at a time and start with a smaller space like the foyer, bathroom or closets. Set up four different baskets or bags: one for items that will be thrown away or recycled, one for items to be donated, one for items that belong in a different room, and one for items to be reintroduced to the space.
Spring offers a fresh start for everyone and everything, so take this as an opportunity to change the way you clean. Harsh chemical cleaners may give off a recognizable “clean” scent, but the impact on your health and the environment is something that should give you pause. There are some great eco-friendly options on the market today, such as Seventh Generation and Grab Green, both available at our local Harris Teeter. If you want to take your greening a step further, there is an abundance of homemade recipes for everything from tile cleaner to laundry detergent available at the click of your mouse. Go ahead and check out this Pinterest board for some inspiration. Say hello to your new best friends, baking soda, white vinegar, borax and citrus fruit!
Now that the clutter is minimized and your cleaning cabinet has a renewed sense of pride, it’s time to throw in some elbow grease. Make a game plan before you begin: decide whether you will tackle one room at a time or one category at a time (such as the floors, the upholstered furniture, mirrors and surfaces), then get started! As a general rule, start your cleaning at the ceiling and work your way down to the floor or you will end up cleaning your floors and surfaces twice. Scrub the tub and sinks, clean out and defrost the fridge and freezer, de-grease your kitchen appliances, clean and disinfect the insides of drawers and cabinets (emptied during your “clear the clutter” step), and move the furniture aside to do away with dust mites and pet fur.
Now that every nook and cranny in your apartment is cleaned and you’re left with a blank canvas, it is time to tackle your box of items that need to be re-introduced to a space. With the cabinets, drawers and surfaces clean and empty and all of that rooms items consolidated, you’ll be able to strategically decide where you want the items to go. The old adage “a place for everything and everything in it’s place” is made easy with this technique. If the item does not belong in that room or is simply unnecessary, it will become abundantly clear. Add storage as needed for the items that do belong but don’t yet have a designated space.
You’ve worked really hard to get your place ready for the new season. Take the freshening a step further by introducing a few new decorative items to your apartment. A new throw pillow, fresh bed linens or a unique piece of flea-market art are all great ways to give your space an update with minimal cost and effort. Now that your apartment is looking magazine-cover worthy, invite some friends over for cocktail hour or a dinner party. Toast to your success and share your spring cleaning tips with the envious masses. Or don’t; it’s your call.
The kitchen is a great place to begin organizing. Start by pulling everything out of the pantry or food cabinets and group them appropriately. Pulling out a basket and snatching the item you need is much simpler than pulling half of the shelf out to get to the beans in the way back. Pick out a couple of small baskets or bins that fit into your kitchen drawers and use them to tame the junk drawer.
In the bedroom, consider creating more space by putting your bed on a higher frame or risers. Fill baskets with seasonal clothing and shoes, then when the weather changes simply swap out your drawers’ contents for the baskets. Smaller baskets help to keep your underwear and sock drawers tidy; in the winter, consider a larger basket on the floor for easy access to your fluffy and wool socks.
The bathroom is typically home to any number of small, miscellaneous items. Use a large, pretty basket to hold fresh towels, bathrobes and face cloths, and use another to hold extra toilet paper or magazines. Under the sink storage can be a tad tricky; adding baskets to group items such as hair products, moisturizers and oral hygiene items.
The living room seems to be another catchall space where items go to hide from their seekers. Keep remote controls out of the couch cushions with a small coffee table basket and bundle unseemly electronic cords in another. Toys for pets or children can be contained in baskets with a lid to maintain a clean visual and physical space. Video games, consoles and DVD’s can be stored in flat boxes and slid under a couch or coffee table for additional space and storage.
An entry space/foyer is another space that tends to attract clutter. Designating and clearly marking baskets for flip-flops, mittens, umbrellas, keys and bags prompts everyone to sort their stuff right when they walk through the door. Creating a space for these items will also get you out the door faster when you eliminate the search for keys, shoes and sunglasses.
To help maintain your clean and organized home, place a basket at each doorway. When an out of place item is found in a given room, simply add it to the basket. At the end of the day or week, empty each basket by returning the items to their proper place. Before long, your friends and family will be begging you to share your organizing secrets. Whether you decide to share your simple basket solutions or keep the mystery alive is entirely up to you!