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Organization 101

Cleaning Grand Plan: Living Room

by Katie Leckey

Begin by washing the outside of the windows in this room.  You will appreciate being able to see outside when you sit down at the end of the week in your beautiful, clean, and organized living room!

Take everything off walls, dust it, and set it aside.  Dust or wash the wall, vacuum or dry-clean draperies and blinds. Get your favorite cobweb killer and sweep down ceilings, corners and tops of doorways.

Take cushions off furniture. Vacuum thoroughly,  replace cushions, spot treat any stains and shampoo if necessary.

Wooden furniture (and anything with drawers/shelves):  Empty,  sort and throw away what you really don't need.  Put the rest where it belongs. Dust/polish the piece you've finished with and repeat with other pieces. Don't forget the maintenance on piano.

Baseboards: depending on condition they're in, dust or wash them.

Coat closet: empty, sort clothes (by family member, season).  Remove any "off-season" items and decide whether to trash, donate, or store elsewhere. Replace only those items which should be in your coat closet.

Clean the TV screen (if you have a set in this room).  Don't neglect the stereo items either. Re-organize tapes/records/videos as per your needs.

Clean/change the silk flower arrangements as per seasonal needs. Wash/trim any live plants in this room.

Other items needing attention if your room has them:

  • Fireplace/mantel/chimney/glass doors
  • Lamps (does the shade need dusting or replacing?)
  • Electrical cords (check for frayed wires)
  • Mirrors (items framed w/glass)  get out the Windex
  • Doorknobs/drawer-handles (are they clean?)

Now is a good time to measure furniture pieces and windows, to enter in your planner or Household Notebook and keep on hand for shopping for necessary items.

Stacks (of anything!):  Take time now to use the sorting method of trash/donate/store elsewhere.  Now put these new piles where they belong.

Vacuum the carpet and clean if necessary.

Hang the items back on walls, if you haven't already and take a good look around. It should look pretty good by now. Take out camera and take pictures for inventory.



Cleaning Grand Plan: Family Room

by Katie Leckey

Since the Family Room is much like the Living Room, consult the notes from that week as well, to be sure we haven't missed anything! Here goes!

Start by washing the outside of your windows.

Take everything down off the walls, take down curtains etc. Wash, vacuum or dry clean as needed.

Sweep ceiling corners and other nooks in the room - tops of doorways, windows, arches, bookcases, etc.

Wash inside of windows and sills. Polish and touch-up stain on wood.

Re-hang window coverings.

Take cushions off furniture, vacuum thoroughly.  Vacuum cushions, checking for wear and turning as needed.  Spot treat any stains or shampoo furniture as needed.

Wooden furniture and anything with drawers:  Empty, sort, and throw away what you don't really need. Put the rest where it really belongs. Dust/Polish the piece you're finished with, repeat as necessary. Do shelves the same way.

Baseboards - dust or wash as needed touch up scuffs on wood or touch up paint on painted surfaces.

Clean the TV screen. Dig out and sort all the accumulated electronic equipment--games, tapes, camera parts, wires, connectors, etc.  Put everything where it belongs and get rid of the rest. (I stash things for a few months in the attic and if they don't miss it then I can dispose of it as I please!) If something doesn't work, take action--if it is worth getting fixed then decide when it can be done. Otherwise just liquidate it now.

Vacuum the entire room.   Use a whisk broom to get into those hard to reach areas and around the baseboards if your vacuum doesn't clean close enough. Yes, get help and move the furniture. There may be a wealth of lost treasures hiding under the sofa right now! 

Clean/change silk flower arrangements for the season. It is also a good time to clean, trim, and/or repot live plants. They can't absorb CO2 and light through a layer of dust!

Other items needing attention if you have them are: Fireplace/mantel/chimney/glass doors Lamps - cleaning and/or replacing shade/bulb/wiring Light switches (clean)

Mirrors and anything framed under glass clean it.

Door handles--and the area around them-- if you have little sticky fingers be sure to get the area below  them clean too with an appropriate cleaner. Polish the wooden doors and retouch scuffs.

Clean shake/wash/vacuum/take to professional-- any area rugs.

Now is a good time to reorganize the video tapes and CDs ,Cassettes etc. If you have not viewed or listened to them in a while, donate or take to a consignment shop or a second hand music store and swap.




Living Spaces -- Allergans and old furniture -- dust mites -- baskets

Because afghans and pillows are less likely to be used as cold weather goes away, then it makes sense to find a convenient but out-of-sight place to store them. Try packing them in a trunk, preferably one that is attractive enough to double as a coffee table or end table.

When removing mail from your mailbox, quickly look through it and identify those items that you don't need or didn't ask for--such as advertising and bulk rate mailings--and immediately throw them away.

Credit offers--If you don't feel comfortable with throwing your name and address out along with the application that you know is inside that envelope, cut it up with scissors or a paper shredder (figure A). You can use shredded paper for packing material or even as compost it in your garden.

Magazines--If you find that you aren't reading your magazines because you don't have time or you just aren't interested in them, cancel your subscription. You can get a refund for the unused portion of your subscription.

Catalogs--If you know there's something in there that you want, tear out that page and save only that page, the order form and the back cover of the catalog. Otherwise, discard the whole thing.

Bills--Throw away the outer envelope and any junk inside, saving only the actual bill and the payment envelope. Place bills in a manila envelope and file with your punch-up file. (See the instructions below.)




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