Spring is almost here! And with spring comes the dreaded chore opportunity to do some spring cleaning. Here are the Mom for Less tips for productive spring cleaning:

1. Identify your needs. Get into your kids’ closets and take out anything that doesn’t fit, or anything that never gets worn (we’ll talk about what to do with all that stuff in a minute). Then take a look at what’s left. What do you need? Does your little guy need some more jeans? Does your princess need a new pair of dress shoes? Do you have way too many unmatched socks? Make note of what you need, so when you do your shopping you’ll have a focused list.

2. Don’t sort toys with your kids in the house. If you are like me, you’re constantly tripping over toys. My kids have way more toys than they could ever possibly need. My oldest has his favorites, and then he has the ones he never plays with. And we have a ton of duplicates: two sets of snap beads, about five toy cell phones, two baseball sets. You can probably get rid of a bunch of toys without your child even realizing that they’re gone. But the key is to decide what to get rid of when they aren’t there. Otherwise that truck they never play with becomes their most favorite toy ever and please don’t make me give it away! Or the baby rattle that they are way too old for suddenly becomes the coolest toy in the whole wide world. Save yourself the inevitable tantrum and get the toys out when your kids are gone.

3. Divide your remaining toys. Take the toys you are keeping and split them into two groups. Leave one group out and put one group away somewhere that your kids can’t get to them. In a month, switch them out. It’s like all new toys! You know, without actually having to buy all new toys.

4. Do something with all that stuff. All that stuff you don’t need – do something with it! If you need some cash, there are many avenues to sell gently used items like kids clothes and baby furniture. Craigslist kind of creeps me out (I watched that Craigslist killer movie on Lifetime), but I love Trading Cradles. It’s an easy to use free service that connects moms who are selling with moms who are buying! You can also donate items to a wide variety of organizations. I donate most of my items to LifeCenters and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.

These are just some tips to get started. What are your tips for productive spring cleaning?