Get rid of all your clutter this spring

Spring cleaning. What memories those words conjure up!
Carrying out the heavy parlour rug and beating it until the carpet was completely dust-free. Brushing all the cobwebs from every corner in the whole house.
Taking everything out of the china closet—dusting the shelves and washing every dish that hadn’t been used for a while.
Washing the bedroom spread and the curtains. And hauling the mattress outside to air.
And in our house, spring cleaning meant washing down every closet and the floors of our six bedrooms upstairs, although only one was used.
By the time March ended, everything was sparkling clean!
It was a lot of work. But now, spring cleaning (if I did it!) would take at least five times the work.
As I remember spring cleaning, all we had to do was “clean” and the spring cleaning was done. Now, the biggest part of spring cleaning is not getting rid of the dust and cobwebs, but getting rid of all the clutter.
With our affluence, we have too many clothes that we rarely wear, too many dishes we never use, too many books we seldom read, too many small kitchen appliances with no place to put them, too many file folders we hardly ever reference, and too many boxes of clutter that weigh us down.
If we would get rid of all that clutter, spring cleaning would be a breeze.
I don’t really think I’m a “pack rat.” But on the other hand, why do I have so much stuff? And come to think of it, almost all of the people I know seem to think they also have too much “stuff.”
In her book “The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter,” Linda Cobb declares, “Controlling clutter and organizing your life may seem like an impossible task, but just think of all the impossible tasks that you do every day.”
When you think about it that way, getting rid of clutter seems very doable.
Cobb, who has been named the Queen of Clean(r), has a helpful, easy formula for getting rid of clutter. An acronym: QUEEN.
Question-Unpack-Evaluate-Eliminate-Neaten up.
•Question: Begin with asking questions. What is the purpose of this room, cupboard, and drawer? How can I make better use of this space?
•Unpack: Remove the contents of one drawer or one cupboard. Figure out what you have and what to do with it. “You can’t conquer clutter if you can’t see it.”
•Evaluate: Look at each item and evaluate. When was the last time I used this? Do I really need this? If so, where should I put it?
•Eliminate: Get rid of unwanted things without guilt or regrets. Have two bags as you eliminate—one for charity and one for trash.
•Neaten up: Put your belongings in their newly-decluttered space.“This is the fun part,” says Cobb. “This is the time you get to put things where you want them and stand back and admire your work.”
Now that you have a system, Cobb suggests you declutter in 15-minute blocks. “You don’t have to eliminate your clutter all in one day,” she stresses.
After all, you didn’t accumulate it in one day. It took a lifetime!
So why not begin your spring cleaning by decluttering one drawer or one closet today?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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