Wes Colwell and Aaron Lawson of Atlas Junk Removal show off one of their trucks at the recent spring home and renovation show. Wolf Depner/News Staff

A few tips to make spring cleaning a breeze

These are busy days for Aaron Lawson and Wesley Colwell.

They co-own Saanich-based Atlas Junk Removal, which combines junk disposal with environmentalism. The duo – who attended business school at Camosun College and worked junk removal in the summer – go to great lengths to recycle or donate as much of the material as they can. And as the calendar has turned to spring, they find themselves on the move, shuttling between the residences of clients, recycling centres and landfills.

“We are fairly busy,” said Lawson.

Lawson and Colwell are just part and parcel of a larger chain that begins to unfold once residents, whether they rent or own, get serious about cleaning up their domiciles after the winter months.

Spring cleaning can be a daunting task. Professional organizer Maggie Megenbir, who owns Calm, Cool and Uncluttered, and works with Atlas Junk Removal, offers 10 general tips,when it comes to spring cleaning.

First, focus on your front entrance. “It’s time to think about putting it all away: coats, hats, scarves, gloves and quite possibly a mountain of footwear,” she said. “Look at each piece with a critical eye. Anything that no longer fits or wasn’t worn this season can be given away or donated.”

Second, let old electronics go to a better place. “Grab a box and go hunting for those snakes of unused cords, chargers and defunct phones that seem to lurk in every drawer and cupboard of your home,” she said. Then drop them off for recycling.

Third, collapse old cardboxes for curbside recycling.

Fourth, raid the attic for old toys. “Spring is a great time to work with your kids to weed out any broken or unused toys or simply to reduce the volume,” she said. “Decide on a charitable organization together and allow your children to enjoy the benefits of donating and living with less.”

Fifth, clear out freezers. “Make sure you get the most bang for your buck and start to use up these supplies,” she said.

Sixth, clear out cupboards. “Revisit your cupboards to use up edible food and toss the contents of those expired packages … in the compostable green bin of course,” she said. Unused dishes or appliances are also candidates for recycling or donation centres.

Seventh, cut through the paper clutter. “Walk through your home with an empty box and start to fill it with all the loose papers you find,” she said. “Get out your shredder and recycling bag, sit down and start to sort into categories: shred, recycle, action, file.”

Eighth, reclaim space. Take a peek into “overflow” rooms where what Megenbir calls “deferred decisions” dwell. Such spaces include garages, basements or spare bedrooms, where ‘I’ll-deal-with-it-later” items reside. “If it’s broken, not in use or an unwanted gift it’s time to let it go,” she said. “Find homes for the belongings that are important and free up space to use these rooms productively. With the nice weather here make sure you have room in the garage to easily access bicycles and camping gear.”

Ninth, clean out bedroom closets. “Put winter wear into bins or vacuum bags and store them elsewhere in your home if you can,” she said. “Any clothing that you no longer love, doesn’t fit or has been hanging in your closet all season is out the door.” In other words, purge.

Tenth, clean bathroom drawers and sinks. “When old shampoo bottles, dried up pieces of soap and five shades of blue nail polish start to pile up it’s time to take action,” said Megenbir. “Pull out everything from under your bathroom sink and the drawers. Give it all a wipe and put back only the products you’re currently using.” Rinse out and recycle empty containers.

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