When you start thinking about spring cleaning, what do you think about? I think about opening windows, shaking out the dust, and breathing fresh air. In truth, spring clean is a large project, almost above and beyond the normal call of duty. Instead of a chore, though, it’s great to think of it as an opportunity to freshen your home. It’s a chance to use the longer spring afternoons to tackle some projects around the house that have been nagging you all winter. It’s a chance to get rid of things you no longer need and start fresh. Frankly, it’s a good opportunity to shake out the winter doldrums and usher in the new season.
*this post contains affiliate links.
Here are 10 tips to make your spring cleaning adventure go smoothly:
1. Before you start, make a list of things you want to accomplish as they come to you. Start a memo or note in your phone (or even an analog paper list on your fridge) of things that nag you like the jumble of sports equipment in the garage or random hats/gloves left in the car. That way, you won’t forget about them and you will target the things that bother you the most
2. Batch cleaning tasks. Constantly switching tasks is almost a guarantee that few will be completed. So start with the larger batch tasks then shift to the detail work. Do the same task in most rooms. This will help save time during your set up and clean up of the task. So, do the clothes weeding for everybody on the same day. That way you can take one trip to the donation center (even if the bag rolls around in the trunk for a couple of weeks. Don’t worry, this is a judgment free zone!)
- Do trips on their own day i.e. laundromat and dropping off recyclables/donations. Use this as a trip for yourself to go get a nice cup of coffee and read your book or favorite magazine.
- Work your way from large task to small tasks. So get all of the vacuuming in the upstairs or downstairs in one swoop, then collect all the garbage, collect all of the items that need to be sorted into once location (that’s a separate task), do window cleaning, then work on sorting books or paperwork. (Sorting tasks can be done easily when you’re tired and low on energy. Don’t waste early morning energy on sock sorting.)
3. Do it on a warm day that you can open windows. This is super important if you’re using cleaning products like bleach or even tile cleaner. I try to use more natural products where possible.
4. Get cleaning supplies and equipment ahead of time. There is nothing worse when you go to start a project when you need a certain tool or product and you don’t have it. It not only makes the job harder but takes a whack at your motivation.
- Heavy duty garbage bags. Even if you are super-conscious about recycling and donating, chances are you’ll still have some items that need to be discarded. The heavy duty bags will hold up to sharper edges or heavier-duty items.
- Old boxes to put in heavy items such as magazines for recycling or toys for donation. Diaper boxes are the perfect size.
- Dusting rags. As family socks become a little ragged or your dish towels are too embarrassingly stained to leave out, put them in a designated box in your mud room/cleaning closet/basement. That way you can use those instead of rolls and rolls of paper towels (see #7).
5. Enlist help (partner, kids, even outsource). There is absolutely no reason why you have to be responsible for the entire house from window seam to attic eaves. Unless, of course, this is your job or you have a particular passion for deep cleaning, don’t feel like you should be the only one doing this in your house. Teach the kids to put their clothes in the hamper. Poke your partner when he doesn’t put the dishes in the dishwasher. There is plenty of work to share. If you can, hire a professional. Maybe
Try Amazon Home Services?
6. Schedule your cleaning about a week or two before company comes. This way, you’ll have a clean house and you won’t be exhausted when they arrive.
7. Don’t do it all in one day. If you can do it in one day, then make sure you get a nap in the next day.
8. Use reusable cleaning supplies to reduce waste. So instead of paper towels dry cleaning cloths, washable microfiber towels instead of disposable Swiffer cloths, and use old toothbrushes instead of new scrubbers.
9. Don’t just clean, institute new systems. I have a confession to make. I have a love-hate relationship with my kitchen counter. For the longest time, the small strip of counter near the mudroom became a repository for everything. It wasn’t a problem of the things needing to be thrown out. It was a problem of habit. So, I instituted new systems to eliminate (or at least reduce the problem).
BONUS TIP #11!
Focus the cleaning on areas that are most important to your health and sanity. Cleaning isn’t about being able to eat off of any surface in your home (at least not in my home!). It’s to keep you and your family safe, organized, and happy. If you have limited time, focus on the tasks that try you the craziest (like not finding any clean clothes or a cluttered kitchen counter).