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A spring-cleaning checklist

After the long, cold winter, the last thing any of us wants to do is spend time inside organizing our house. But now is a good time to do a few quick projects that will still leave plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors and give you the satisfaction of keeping things on track.

Clean out your car. Take advantage of the next few weeks to clean out your car. It’s not freezing cold or sweltering hot, which makes it the perfect time to take a garbage bag out to your car and throw away trash. Clear out the trunk and glove compartment and don’t forget to look under the seats. Bring anything inside that shouldn’t be in the car, like toys, newspapers, extra phone cords, books and travel mugs. And if you don’t have a first aid kit, jumper cables, and other safety products in your car, this is a good time to get them.

Take a home inventory. Smartphones make this task easier than ever, and it’s something we all should do at least once a year. Walk around your house and take a photographic inventory of your belongings. Take pictures of furniture, art, rugs and light fixtures. This photo archive will be invaluable in the event your house is damaged or burglarized. After you’ve completed your photo tour, back up the photos to an external hard drive or the cloud. Your insurance agent might thank you later.

Clean your closet floor. This is a spot that rarely gets attention, but spring is a great time to take everything off the floor of your closet and clean it. As you’re switching out seasonal clothing, storing the long boots you won’t wear all summer and removing items you no longer want, do a thorough cleaning of the floor and baseboards. You’ll notice the difference.

Clear the retail clutter. Do a little spring cleaning in your email inbox by unsubscribing from at least five retail emails that you receive regularly but never read. And to curb the constant in-flow of catalogs, unsubscribe to at least five, either by using www.catalogchoice.org, or by calling the retailer’s customer service number.

Update your electronic address book. Do you have people in your address book that you haven’t spoken with in years? Or did your new smartphone import your existing contacts in triplicate? Take 20 minutes to review at least part of your contact list. Doing so will make it so much easier to find the correct information when you need it.

Organize your jewelry. Spend 20 minutes sorting and organizing jewelry. Untangle necklaces and find the matches for earrings. This will help you find what you need quickly and also serve as a reminder about those pieces you’ve forgotten. If your current jewelry storage isn’t working for you, do a little research into options that will better meet your needs. There are lots of artistic solutions for storing jewelry so it doesn’t get tangled and remains in good condition.

Clean out your pantry. Take 10 minutes to review the expiration dates on your pantry staples and consolidate any open bags of flour. If products have expired, throw them out. Then make a list to refresh your pantry so you’re ready to entertain this summer. With the end of the school year approaching, this is a good time to assess your storage containers. Those that are damaged or no longer have lids should be discarded.

Frame your favorite photos from the past six months. You didn’t take all those fabulous pictures to have them live on your phone forever. Pick a few of your favorites, print them and get them on display. If you don’t have space for new frames or don’t want to buy new frames, you can put the new pictures in front of the existing ones.

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