Guest Post – Spring cleaning tips from organizing expert Tina Murphy

To kick-off the spring cleaning season, and as a special treat for my blog readers, I asked Tina Murphy to share her favorite tips on how to conquer this stressful seasonal ritual. Tina is an interior decorator and organizing expert who has been sharing her expertise with those of us who are organizationally challenged for seventeen years. She is the owner of MCM Interiors based in Virginia, and has participated in several prestigious Home and Garden Decorating contests in her area. The Designer Showcase house, Homearama 2005, which featured five designers who decorated different areas in the home, won the coveted Gold Award in Interior Design. Her young teen room was spotlighted on ABC Family – Living the Life, and she has appeared on local television demonstrating her talents.



How should we approach spring cleaning?

Spring cleaning to me is like a rebirth.  It’s a time to open up and clean out after the winter snow, rain and sleet have dissipated.  When approaching spring cleaning it is important to start small.  It is great to have a big vision, but even better to have a small goal that can be accomplished.  Looking at the big picture tends to overwhelm any individual. Start with a list of the areas in your home that bother you the most.  When you tackle them first, they give you the biggest sense of accomplishment.

Tip: Keep a pen and paper handy as you are organizing because you will start realizing you need certain things whether it is wardrobe or storage related. 

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You don’t need to complete a room or an area in a day. You may only have an hour a day, and if that is the case then dig into one section of your closet, one drawer in your dresser or the area under your kitchen sink.  The key is to stick with that one area until it is complete, and it may take one hour a day for seven days, but when it is done you can move on to the next area in the same room.


Start with the closet. I find myself delving into closets and taking every piece of clothing out, trying on, seeing what is still current, dry cleaning and laundering anything that needs to go into winter storage and switching the wardrobe to spring-summer clothes. When re-dressing your closet with clothes you may want to indulge a little and splurge on wooden hangars.  Somehow having all your clothes organized on the same hangars creates instant organization.  When you place your clothes back into the closet start with all the shirts; divide them between short sleeve and long sleeve and the material they are made of.  If you are so inclined arrange them by color order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue).  Follow the same order for pants, shorts, etc. 


Going green means donating. For those clothes that no longer fit, or don’t want, create a give away pile-whether it is consigning or donating to the Salvation Army, it will require an extra step, but one that makes you feel good too!


Next, tackle your dresser.  (This is something that can easily be done when you only have 30 minutes!)  Start with your sock drawer by discarding the lost pairs. 

Tip: Socks make an excellent buffer between floors and furniture legs when moving furniture.  Not only do they keep it from scratching the floor but it is much easier to move.


Don’t forget the bathrooms and kitchen.  Go through your linens and transfer any old linen to the rag pile–they come in really handy when polishing furniture and silver. Work one drawer at a time and discard any old prescriptions (don’t flush them; they go into our water ways). Wipe drawers out, add a new drawer liner and return contents to drawer.  If you have lots of hairbrushes or combs purchase rectangular containers or drawer dividers to separate those from the other contents.  Keep like things together. Throw out old make-up and cleanser bottles. Suddenly, you will have found space you never thought you had.


Name one thing that would provide an immediate result for those with limited time to spring clean.

For those with limited time to spring clean I would recommend purging the kitchen counter.  If nothing else, having visual space on your counters gives you mental clarity, and it is something you can do relatively quickly.  Do you really use a blender every day or need 500 wooden spoons in a jar?  Leave the coffee pot, toaster, canisters and a few cookbooks out, but otherwise clean the slate. You will find that you are more organized, productive and efficient when you have a larger area to work in.


Here's a little extra tip Tina sent to inspire us to decorate for the Easter Holiday. Enjoy!


Photos by Tina Murphy

Pick twigs or branches from your own back yard, and arrange them around a chandelier or lamp to resemble a nest. Then hang colored eggs with colorful ribbons to match your Easter table decor.


Happy Easter!



  1. […] Alison’s motto of “use what you have, love what you use” and Tina’s motto of “organize first, design second” an interior design dream team has formed. And […]

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