Spring can be a fantastic time of personal renewal. With the warmer temperatures and budding blossoms come a newfound sense of hope. The flip side? The feeling of obligation as sunnier days bring light to your dingy, dirty home.
This is the perfect time to tackle jobs you’ve procrastinated on during those long winter months — but all this can feel overwhelming when you have so much to handle and so little time.
If you struggle with spring cleaning (or cleaning in general), don’t despair. We’ve compiled helpful tips and tricks that will allow you to make the most of this opportunity. You just might discover that deep cleaning is nowhere near as bothersome as you assumed.
Make a Plan — And Don’t Try to Tackle It All At Once
If your typical approach to cleaning involves haphazardly moving clutter or wiping a dust cloth here and there, get ready for a whole new mentality. The more thoroughly you plan your spring cleaning initiative, the better your chances of making major improvements around your home.
Like any major undertaking, spring cleaning should be goal-oriented and divided into manageable chunks. It’s tough to admit at times, but you can’t do it all — especially if you have kids or pets at home. Still, you can make significant progress in targeted areas.
Choose a few basic priorities and then get more specific with detailed goals. These can be divided into small, daily goals for a particular cleaning session and larger objectives encompassing the entire spring cleaning effort.
For example: If one of your primary goals involves cleaning all the blinds around your house, schedule one day per room to focus on this task. If you believe that this goal is more urgent than, say, cleaning the grout in your bathrooms, schedule your blinds-cleaning efforts for earlier in the spring.
Declutter Like You Mean It
No matter which tasks you’ve identified as essential for this year’s spring cleaning initiative, it’s essential to begin with decluttering. Regardless of how clean you ultimately can get the stovetop or the baseboards, it won’t matter much if the rest of your house is filled with objects you rarely use.
Before you pick up a mop or a dustcloth, make the most of the age-old decluttering strategy: three piles for items you intend to keep, donate, or throw in the trash. Be realistic about which objects you actually need and which are simply taking up space.
Resist the urge to hide unnecessary items in rarely-used closets; imagine how much easier it will be to store and organize your home once those closets are freed of excessive junk.
Decluttering can be tricky even in the best of circumstances, so be sure to reward yourself extensively for every success. Avoid object-oriented rewards that add to the clutter problem. Instead, treat yourself to special experiences such as dinner at your favorite restaurant or a much-needed massage from the local spa.
Once you’re satisfied by the reduced clutter around your house, continue to maintain these results by completing an extra decluttering session at least once each week. Be aggressive about preventing clutter from creeping back into your life. This will pay dividends for your future cleaning efforts.
Clean From Top to Bottom
This piece of advice is repeated so often that it feels cliché, but there’s a reason for these ongoing reminders; essentials such as dusting tend to knock debris down to the floor, so you’ll be forced to repeat yourself if you focus on tiles, hardwood, or carpet first.
What’s often left unsaid about the top to bottom approach is that this means starting from the very top: light fixtures, ceiling corners, and fans. All three are regularly neglected, so spring cleaning provides the perfect opportunity to give these areas the attention they deserve. From there, you can slowly work your way down, hitting the walls, the furniture, the appliances, and finally, the floors.
How does this fit into your goal-oriented, highly scheduled initiative, as mentioned previously? It’s simple: As you’re assigning urgency to various tasks, schedule those that involve the top portions of any given room earlier on. When possible, tackle the floors later on, even if they’ve previously been identified as priorities.
Add Time-Saving Tips to Your Routine
The principles we’ve outlined above will make a far greater difference for your spring cleaning initiative than any particular cleaning hack. Still, it can be helpful to have a few simple tricks up your sleeve. These allow you to get more done faster so that you can move on to other activities.
You’ll find ample inspiration on Pinterest or in home & garden magazines, but the following cleaning time-savers are worth adding to your regimen right away:
- Clean the windows on an overcast day, as cleaning in the sunshine may lead to streaks.
- Microwave a solution consisting of water and lemon or vinegar for a few minutes before wiping the microwave with a sponge.
- Combine dish detergent with hot water and wipe the solution on stainless-steel appliances to make them shine.
- When safe, use the dishwasher or washing machine for appropriate toys to streamline an otherwise time-consuming process.
- Use an old pillowcase to clean the dreaded ceiling fan. Insert each blade, allowing the pillowcase to gather dust rather than letting it fall on the floor.
- Keep a stash of relevant cleaning products in each room, so they’re easier to reach. For example, Windex is essential for the bathroom, while the living room should have its own dust cloth.
If all this cleaning feels overwhelming, remember: You don’t have to tackle everything yourself. From household members to cleaning services, plenty of solutions can give you a break when you need it. Determine which tasks you dread the most and whether somebody else might be willing to take them on. Don’t be afraid to trade jobs or give bribes to make everybody happy.
Keep in mind that kids can be more helpful than you assume. Yes, their whirlwind of toys may make decluttering difficult, but they can help you match socks, recycle junk mail, or donate unwanted items to kids who need them more. Teach your children about the essentials of spring cleaning early on, and you may be surprised by how helpful they become over time.
If you live on your own, don’t be ashamed to treat yourself to help. You can hire a service, of course, but your friends might also be willing to come over and help if you furnish snacks (or alcohol) — and especially if you return the favor.
With a bit of planning, some help from loved ones (or hired experts), and a positive attitude, you can completely transform both your home and your mindset. This year, discover the appeal of spring cleaning.
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