Spring cleaning often isn't about organizing or decluttering as much as it's about dusting and washing and mopping, and scrubbing all the winter dust and yuck from our living spaces. But we still think that it's smart — before you dig in on your spring clean — to minimize the stuff that needs to be cleaned and cleaned around. Your marathon clean will be easier and deeper for it.
Getting rid of books is always a controversial topic, but books are huge dust collectors. If you can whittle down your collection to, say, only the books that have moved you in some way or that you'd heartily recommend to others, you'll lessen the load of what needs to be dusted and add some breathing space to your shelves as well.
2. Collections of any kind
In addition to books, go through your DVD, record, CD, snow globe, magnet, mug and any other collection, particularly if it's on display in any way. If the things themselves don't mean enough to you that you simply must keep them, but you're having trouble letting go of the attached memories, take a picture of the item or items and donate the originals.
3. Lingering winter decor
When decorations have been out for a few months, you almost don't notice them any more. Look around your home, scanning specifically for seasonal decor that can be put away until the holidays come around again. For instance, candles are hygge all year, but do you need them all out? Pare down what's on display to maybe just one in the kitchen and one by the tub.
Time for these to get stashed. First, consider if you need to hang on to all the blankets you have. Did you use each of them this past winter? See if you can donate a few and just keep the ones that get used. Wash and dry the ones you'll keep and stow them for future cold weather.
If you've got pillows knit with comforting words like joy and peace or mermaid snowflake pillows, it's time for these to make their exit as well. While you're at it, see if you can edit your throw pillows in general; they collect dust and allergens and are not the easiest to clean. Go through each of your sofas and beds and see what can be removed.
6. Countertops, dresser tops, and desktops
These clutter magnets must be cleared. Go room by room. Put away all items on the kitchen counter that aren't supposed to be there. Clear paper piles from your desk. Put away all the extras on your nightstand and dressers. And corral anything that must remain out on your bathroom counters (if you have no choice but to store items there). Don't move the clutter around; you have to do the painful work of dealing with it now. It'll feel awesome in the end.
7. Cleaning supplies
Imagine that, when you're ready to get down to your spring cleaning business, each and every spray or rag or tool you reach for is in working order and tip-top shape. For that to happen, you probably need to go through your stash now. Re-fill anything that's almost empty (for me that's my shakers of baking soda), toss tools that will only frustrate you (the squished flat toothbrush-turned-scrubber), and take note of supplies you might need to buy.