There’s something about the return of spring that makes us want to declutter, scrub, wash, and clean the entire house from top to bottom! National Spring-Cleaning Week is March 26-April 4, so now’s the time to think about doing just that!
But before you dive in and find yourself overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks, let’s talk a bit about how to break it all down and make it easier to achieve your goal of a less cluttered and much cleaner home.
First of all, decluttering and cleaning are really two different tasks. You can’t deep clean a room that is filled with boxes and has junk on every surface until you tame the clutter. You may have heard of the KonMari movement, which is a Japanese method of decluttering created by Marie Kondo. Her blog also has some great tips for paring down and organizing.
Once you have the clutter under control, it’s time to start cleaning. The following advice can help you get your house in tiptop shape:
- Break it down and set goals. Yes, you want the whole house clean, but breaking it into smaller tasks will help to keep you from getting overwhelmed. Think about it practically: how much stamina do you have, and how much time can you devote to cleaning on each day you’ve set aside to do so? Maybe you only have the time and energy to clean your bedroom this weekend, and that’s fine! It’s a start, after all. Jot down a schedule. Include the tasks you want to accomplish and when you hope to have each task completed. Being able to tick off every dirty job as you go will help keep you motivated – even if your spring-cleaning lasts several weeks from start to finish.
- Be prepared. Nothing derails a cleaning project faster than not having the stuff you need to do the job. Take inventory in the days before you start to clean, and find, make, or purchase everything you think you’ll need.
- Go top down. With decluttering, it makes sense to break a room down into smaller chunks and complete each area before moving onto the next. But when it comes to cleaning, top down is a good strategy. Dry mop the ceiling, dust and wipe down your walls, clean windows and sills, then tackle any flat surfaces like desks, credenzas, and book cases (and any items on them) before finally cleaning the floor. This helps ensure that any dust you’ve disturbed during your cleaning will be vacuumed or swept up rather than re-deposited on your surfaces.
- Reorganize when necessary. Even if you’ve already decluttered, you may find more things to purge once you start cleaning. Keep a box handy as you move from room to room so you have a place to toss these items so they’re not in your way – and so that you can be sure they will make their way out of your house once and for all.
- Don’t get distracted. It’s easy to start one chore, then see something else that needs doing and start tackling that before you’ve finished the first thing you were working on. Resist the temptation! Finish each task, then scratch them off your list and move on; otherwise you may end up with a dozen half-finished tasks.
- Get help. Unless you want to, you don’t have to clean alone. Your spouse and children should be pitching in, because they helped make the dirt that needs cleaning! If you live alone, offer a home-cooked dinner or a batch of your famous chocolate chip cookies to friends and family members who will help you do chores you may not be comfortable with anymore, like getting up on a ladder to dust high surfaces, or lugging a carpet steamer around the house. The Spruce has a list of age-appropriate chores for children, including those as young as two-years old!
- Try healthier, homemade cleaning products. Not only can these potentially save you a lot of money, they’re also safer than some of the chemical-laden products you buy – and can be just as effective.
- Maintain the clean. The dirt will come back – that’s inevitable. But there are ways to keep cleaning from becoming a monumental task, including taking just a few minutes out of each day to reorganize communal areas, and wipe down, spot clean and sanitize your kitchen and bathrooms. Visit The Spruce for a look at the areas in your home that you should be cleaning weekly and those that only need to be tackled monthly.
It’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease, but your reward will be a fresh, tidy, healthy home that you’re proud to share with friends. For a complete, printable checklist of spring-cleaning tasks that you can use as a guide when tackling your own home, visit I Dream of Clean.
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