These small areas can easily be tackled in 30 minutes or less each, leading to an immediate sense of accomplishment. Remove all items and give the area a thorough scrubbing. You might even decide to change out shelf liner for a fresh look. If you are throwing out old household cleaners, be sure to dispose of them safely.
Stale breads and chips, expired canned, boxed or bottled items, items that no one in your household eats – toss them all out and straighten the remaining items where they are easy to see and access. You might even find that you have more room for those healthy foods you promised yourself you would start eating when January 1st rolled around.
Like the pantry, it is easy for food to get pushed to the back and forgotten. Check dates and remove not only those that have expired but also those that have been opened and forgotten for months. Remove drawers and shelves for cleaning rather than just wiping them down. You will be amazed at how much brighter a clean, uncluttered refrigerator will look when you open the door.
This task can be considerably more time consuming, depending on the state of your garage. If you’re fairly organized, it may simply take a little straightening and sweeping out. If you tend to collect (or even horde) things in your garage, break it up into sections and tackle one section each day. Organize tools one day, clean drawers another, straighten shelves the next, etc. Be sure to finish each small area before moving on to the next, so you’re not left with a bigger mess than what was originally there.
An attic can be tricky because it tends to be the place where we store items considered more sentimental. If space isn’t an issue, simply organize your treasures in well-labeled plastic bins and stack them where they are easily accessed. If space is limited, make a careful assessment of what you are holding on to. Things that may have seemed important at the initial time of storage may seem less so now. When dealing with these types of items, make three piles – things to keep, things to get rid of, and things that are “on the bubble.” Remove the items you are certain you want to dispose of first, then assess how much room you have left before deciding on the bubble items. Attics also tend to house items that were not being used but were stored away in the event that they might be needed at a later date. These items can generally be eliminated.