The merry month of ... spring cleaning?

Thousands of Seattle-area homeowners will choose the month of May to launch home and garden improvement projects, and to clear out junk from homes, gardens, garages and sheds.

For anyone planning to go into battle with household clutter and garden garbage, here are some quick tips from Seattle-area junk disposal experts 1800 Rid-Of-IT:

* Prepare. Before you start, have plenty of bags and labels ready so you can keep track of all the stuff you're cleaning up.

* Double the time: sorting out your junk and cleaning up will always take at least twice as long as you think, so don't do it all at once. Try an hour a day, or block out several half-days over a few weeks.

* Dedicate your time. It's easy to get sidetracked. Pick a rainy day, switch off the TV and wait till the kids are at school or in bed before tackling your spring clean.

* Divide and conquer: split your cleaning into manageable chunks and tackle one room, or even one bookcase, at a time. Seeing quick results will spur you on to finish the rest.

* Purge first, clean later. Start by getting rid of stuff you don't need; then you'll have more room to organize the stuff you do need. If you have a lot of junk, or heavy, awkward items like furniture or appliances, a professional disposal service will load it into a truck and take it away for you in one go. Look for one who will recycle.

* Mess means progress: the Law of Spring Cleaning dictates that things look a lot worse before they look better. Don't be afraid to tip the contents of your cupboards out so you can sort them out effectively.

* Have a "piling" system: make a "junk" pile, "recycle" pile, "charity" pile and a "keep" pile. If using a disposal firm, ask if they'll take your recycling and even some of the charity pile as well as junk.

* One man's junk... Spring cleaning might be profitable. Try throwing a garage sale or selling items on Ebay or Craigslist. Make sure all furniture and products, new or used, are safe and meet safety standards. Damaged articles should be discarded.

* Reward yourself! Cleaning up is hard work. Set yourself a target, and when you reach it, treat yourself - even if it's just to a hot bath or a takeout dinner.

For more information, visit

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