No one likes to clean house, but someone has got to do it. If you don't, you and your spouse could wind up in divorce court -- or worse on one of those get-organized-or-else reality TV shows like Clean House or Clean Sweep. Getting started on the right foot -- from the first days after your wedding -- could save you from either of those tragedies. Here's a to-do list to tackle immediately that could help you both:
1. Put away wedding keepsakes.Although looking at your wedding dress everyday may make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, you should not keep it hanging in your closet. Get your dress properly preserved and put it in the attic or storage. While you're at it, put those wedding photos friends gave you in books or on CDs. Throw away your bouquet unless you're having it preserved or drying out the flowers. In other words, do not let the wedding mementoes take over your living space. If you must have constant reminders of the big day around you, limit them to a few really special ones. Put your favorite photos in frames and display them on your mantle or put the cake topper in the china cabinet. If they are truly special, you would not want to just have them lying around.
2. Unpack right after the honeymoon.Many couples are so exhausted -- or on such a high -- after the wedding and honeymoon that they put off unpacking their luggage and leave it in a corner somewhere half packed. This creates visual clutter and usually a literal mess. Open those bags, unpack them right away, and take care of any laundry that is left over from the trip. If both of you do it together, it will take half the time. You might just need the items in there, and this way you won't fight about whose job it should be to get the bags undone and put away.
3. Get rid of gifts or keepsakes from ex-lovers. You should have done this when you decided you had found the one, but many people do not. They can't bear the thought of throwing away a letter, mix tape, or gift from someone with whom they once shared a meaningful relationship. But now, you're married. You have someone to love and support you by your side always. You don't really need that love poem from old so and so, do you? Dump it to make space for the keepsakes you'll undoubtedly acquire during your marriage.
4. Return wedding gifts you already have. No matter how technologically advanced wedding gift registries seem to be, people are always receiving doubles of things for which they registered. Grandma won't mind if you return the bath towels that both she and Uncle Joe gave to you. She will understand that you need other things, too, and that you do not have the space for doubles. Quit feeling guilty and get back to the store with those items.
5. Have a yard sale. Newlyweds usually move. Either both bride and groom move into a new place together, or one spouse moves into the other's house or apartment. Go through your stuff and see what you really need. Keep in mind that you might have doubles of certain household items because you likely merged two households and received wedding gifts. Purge anything that is unnecessary. Compromise. You both should be giving up equal amounts of junk. This is the start of a new chapter, so don't be afraid to get rid of things from your single days. Sell, sell, sell it all by having a yard sale. You can use the proceeds for something you both want like a weekend getaway or a new TV. Now that's a reason to de-clutter!