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8 Life Kit episodes for spring cleaning your home (and life)

Updated March 20, 2023 at 5:39 PM ET

This story is adapted from Life Kit's weekly newsletter, which arrives in inboxes each Friday.Subscribe here.

The long winter is over. As spring settles in and longer days commence, Life Kit has some ideas to help you nurture that seed of "fresh start" energy that starts to sprout this time of year.

First things first, it's OK to start small. Taryn Williford, a lifestyle editor at Apartment Therapy, suggests giving yourself a "bite-sized task" to begin. "We might kick off an entire whole home decluttering project by just cleaning out one drawer," she says.

It's physics! Remember Newton's first law: An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Once you get going, it might be hard to stop. Now, onward to spring cleaning, organizing, decluttering and letting go of whatever might be weighing you down.

Clean out the fridge

This ... can be scary. Especially behind the Tupperware containers of three-week old beef stew. Did that used to be an avocado? But guess what: A lot of what you might think is wasted can actually be salvaged. Wilted greens, for instance, can be sautéed with your favorite spices. And if it really is too far gone, consider composting.

Organize your kitchen cabinets

If you spend more time looking at #kitchengoals on Instagram than you do in your own kitchen, it might be time to roll up your sleeves and make friends with your cabinets. Deb Perelman of the blog Smitten Kitchen shares her tips for kitchen organization, especially in small spaces.

Declutter pre-move or just to lighten your load

Millions of Americans moved last year, and even more are thinking about relocating during 2021. If that was you, we hope you've nested. If you're still thinking about it, may we suggest a little decluttering first. The lighter your load, the better off you'll be. Even if you're staying put, here's an idea for a fun downsizing activity: moving expert Ali Wenzke suggests "shopping" among things you already own to pick out what you really want to keep.

Say goodbye to older garments

It can feel good to whittle down your closet. Consider one of these routes to finding a new home for your old clothes: organize a clothing swap with friends or sell your unneeded items on resale sites like ThredUp, Poshmark, Depopor The Real Real. Here's more advice on cultivating a sustainable closet and mindfully parting with what you no longer need.

Tackle tricky stains

The average American throws away about 80 pounds of clothes a year. This episode has super simple tricks to treat stains and prolong the life of your clothes. A sneak peek: rubbing alcohol gets ink out, dish detergent works for oil, and try white vinegar for stains like grass or mustard. (Make sure to watch the video at the top of the page for a trick to treat red wine stains. It also makes a great party trick.)

Deep clean your space

Maybe you've been putting off a big clean during quarantine. After all, if there are no guests around to notice dust bunnies, do they really exist?! They do. And besides, you deserve to enjoy a clean home as much as any visitor. So, throw open a window, put on a playlist, and gather your supplies. This list should get you started: an all-purpose cleaner, a disinfectant, a window cleaner, microfiber cloths, a scrub brush, a duster, a mop and a vacuum or broom. Here's how to clean any space.

Clean up your camera roll

Feeling overwhelmed by thousands of photos? Your dog/baby/fiddle-leaf fig is pretty cute. Here's how to organize your deluge of images — from tagging them to backing them up. We've got tips from tech experts.

Get your finances in order

There's no better time than tax season to take stock of your spending. Keeping tabs on where your money goes is a good first step to cutting back on spending and saving more. If you want to tap into the empowering — yes, empowering! — possibilities of budgeting, this episode is for you.

We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at LifeKit@npr.org.

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Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Harlan is a visual and engagement editor for NPR's Life Kit.