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Tidy Up!

Spring Clean Your Space
by Jennifer Tapper Richards

It’s officially busy season, which means we’ll try anything to make life a little easier and more organized. Here’s three simple tasks for a fresh start this spring.

Tidy_Mail copy copy

Why get organized:
Mail and paperwork from school, work and activities flows into the home daily. Setting up a system will help relieve stress and keep things efficient and out of towering piles on the countertop.


  • Pick the spot – preferably near the family entryway.
  • Find the closest horizontal surface – a desk, corner of the kitchen, cabinet, table, etc.
  • Assemble the supplies needed to handle and process paperwork – a letter tray or mail sorter, pens, stationary and stamps, a trash and mini-shredder or portable accordion file might also come in handy. I love binder clips to keep things together once sorted.
  • Beautify the unbeautiful – add a decorative item to the area to make it feel a little special and welcoming. We want something to draw us in. We need our mail station to remind us, lure us in and say,
  • “Come hither, relax and sort this mail, it will be so lovely when it is sorted and tidy instead of all mixed up in this pile, I promise. Besides if you don’t, the next time someone needs something in here it will be a complete mess. Oh, what’s that you say? Johnny is missing a permission slip? {gulp}.”


  • There is no avoiding paperwork (yet) – it’s a constant in our lives. Some ways to decrease what comes in is to take a few moments to have names and addresses removed from certain mailing lists, catalog lists or mailings for offers of credit. With less coming in, we’ll have less to sort, and it will be better for the environment.
  • To stop receiving offers of credit and insurance, call 888-567-8688 or visit
  • To curb the influx of catalogs:
  • For more tips on how to stop junk mail, go to
  • For Direct Marketing go to to tailor your preferences

Tidy_MakeUp copy

Organized Make-up and Accessories will help speed things up on a busy morning and give cosmetics better longevity. So smart and beautiful!


  • Sort your gear into items you (1) use frequently and (2) use for special occasions or seasonally.
  • Toss anything dated, out-of-style, ruined, smelly, clumpy or sticky.
  • Clean-up what’s left: wipe down compacts with a slightly damp cloth and dry well.
  • Wash brushes and repeat about once a month to prevent breakouts and skin irritations.
  • It is best to store make-up in a dry, cool place (think linen closet or bedroom – not bathroom vanity).
  • Keep items visible and accessible – any area too crammed with stuff will inevitably fall back into disorganization.
  • Set up shop near a window – natural, balanced light is best for makeup application.
  • Beautify the beauty – select some adorable trays, containers, jars or vases for storage


  • Re-visit the set-up every so often, perhaps when a new purchase is made to edit and tidy up.
  • Consider making an appointment with a makeup artist to help supplement or further edit the collection of beauty supplies, bring it up to date, and keep the routine efficient and effective.

Tidy_Craft copy

Happy, occupied children makes for sane parents. With little ones, crafting is an excellent go-to activity on rainy days, long weekends away, or even on the go. It can be a great activity for both adults and children to share together.


  • Be at the ready with pre-made mini crafting kits you can take out when it’s time for new activity at home, or a restaurant outing or maybe double down and bring extras to a playdate.
  • The key here is the newness of the supplies – they are like little gifts for kids to explore – so keep it fresh and simple.
  • Hit the discount section of retailers or dollar stores for supplies.
  • Assemble all of the supplies needed for a given craft – for example: water colors, brushes, mini water bottle, paper, etc. or pompoms, fuzzy twists, shells, pebbles, glue, cardstock, etc.
  • Use cute little labeled burlap sacks or even a simple zip-lock bag to keep it all together.
  • Stash a stack of paper towels in for {the inevitable} cleanup.


  • Replenish and re-stock. For creative kids, what is more exciting than a new set of paints or full sheet of stickers or a fresh box of crayons?
  • Keep an eye out for items around the house that can be used too – paper towel tubes, jars, paper plates and cotton balls also make great supplies.
  • Hang or display their artwork to encourage their creativity and keep interest in surprise craft time.

photography by Megan Belanger. Feature by Jennifer Tapper Richards of Tapper Richards Interiors, a contributor to the Spring/Summer MoPa Living Magazine – see full issue here.

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