Spring cleaning is officially upon us! Do you feel like you're behind? Do you wonder if you're doing it wrong? It can't possibly be this hard, can it?!
I feel you, friend! Our homes are so often the center of our lives, especially in the cold winter months when we hunker down to avoid the bitter chill outside (I live in Minnesota, also affectionately called Minnesnowta, so I know this all too well).
And once things begin to thaw, the windows open, everyone starts coming out of their houses like bears after their winter hibernation, and our eyes are opened to the havoc that we wreaked on our homes over the last season. Spring is a time of new beginnings, and an opportunity to give our homes new life as we clean out the old and the grime to refresh things and give them new life.
Don't forget to grab your printable version of the list here!
1. Declutter and organize your stuff before you try to clean around it.
You're making your job harder if you're trying to clean around clutter or disorganized chaos. If you first get rid of what you don't want, then organize what's left, your home will be much easier to get (and keep!) clean. It's the order of operations at its finest!
If you haven't decluttered yet, if you're not sure where to begin, or if you're just looking for some additional pointers, you can check out the first post in this series here. And if you've already decluttered and looking for organizing tips and tricks, you can find those here.
2. Gather your supplies.
The key to success with any endeavor is preparation. Before you begin cleaning, make sure you have the supplies you need on hand.
Now, you could go crazy and have different cleaners for every surface in your home, but I'm all about simplicity, and I don't think it needs to be that complicated.
I recommend antibacterial microfiber cloths (like these), an all-purpose cleaner for your toilet and particularly nasty spots (like this; most of the time antibacterial microfiber cloths do the trick!), and a good polishing cloth for glass (like this). You might also want a dusting mitt or wand, and you're going to want a broom, mop, and vacuum, too. But that's really it! If you're in a pinch or like the DIY natural approach, you can always use vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and essential oils, too!
3. set a timer.
One of the biggest reasons people don't accomplish their goals is because they think they don't have enough time. As you strive to clean your home, set a timer. Whether you can commit an hour or two or just twenty minutes, set a timer so you know your time is dedicated to the single purpose of cleaning.
Not only will doing so keep you focused, but it will also let you know when you can take a break. Breaks are just as important as focused work.
4. Pull things out.
I know you might have just decluttered and organized your home if you're following this series. And if you honestly did clean out the spaces when you emptied them to declutter, then you can skip this step when you get to it. But assuming that you haven't (like most of us with most of our spaces) taken all the things out of all the spaces in your home, this is the time to do it!
Can we really expect our homes to get thoroughly cleaned if we don't take the time to clear off our shelves before we dust them? Despite our hopes, the answer is unfortunately no. So take the extra few minutes and clear off the shelves instead of dusting around the books and plants.
5. Start high and work your way down.
Can you just imagine with me for a moment what would happen if you slaved away sweeping and mopping your kitchen floor, only to realize you hadn't dusted the tops of your cabinets or your countertops? If you go back to do the dusting and wiping, you're inevitably going to cause dust, crumbs, and who knows what else onto your freshly-cleaned floors. Which means you'd have to clean the floors all over again. Let's try to avoid that scenario, shall we?
Start with dusting the highest things-- top cabinets, ceiling fans, sconces, wall decor, high shelves. Then work your way down to counters and furniture. And then do the floors. You will thank yourself later when you don't have to double up on the floor cleaning.
6. Clean a room or a zone at a time.
Part of the reason spring cleaning feels so overwhelming is because there's this unspoken pressure to have to deep clean your whole house in a single weekend. In case you've fallen prey to this belief, let me crush it for you. You don't have to tackle your whole house at once. You can take it one step at a time.
Additionally, consider how cleaning everything at once might limit your use of your house. For instance, if you sweep and mop all the floors in your house at the same time, you won't be able to use any of your bathrooms until the floors are dry. I speak from experience. It's usually better to stagger it just a little so you're not mopping yourself into a corner.
Cleaning just one area at a time gives you a single task to focus on. It's more manageable because you can see the whole space at once. Your progress is more easily noted because the space is contained. If you were to measure your progress against your whole house, it would take longer to feel accomplished, and you might be tempted to stop. But if you focus on one space at a time, you can gain enough momentum to keep going!
7. Make it fun.
Okay, so this may not be quite as practical as some of the other tips. But it's still worth mentioning! If you can make cleaning-- or any relatively unpleasant task-- fun, you're more likely to stick to it and see it all the way through. You have to clean your house, so why not make the process more enjoyable?
Turn on some fun music. Listen to an audiobook. Do whatever you like to do so that your cleaning experience can be more fun for you!
8. Enlist help.
There's no rule saying you have to clean your whole home by yourself. Everything's better when done together, right?
Whether you live with a whole bunch of other people or by yourself, you can gather people to help you! If you have other people who live with you, delegate some tasks. Have your spouse or roommate take care of one room while you tackle another. Or have them sweep while you go behind them with the mop. If you have kids, send them before you to tidy up the rooms and ready them for sweeping or vacuuming.
If you have company while you clean, you'll have a better time, and the time will just fly by!
9. clean during the day & with natural light.
I understand schedules get crazy, and you might have to cram cleaning into a packed calendar. But whenever possible, clean during the day when you can have natural light coming in.
We too often underestimate the power of sunlight, but it will help illuminate areas that are dirtier than we realized. The top of that bookshelf might look okay in the evening, but in the bright afternoon sunlight, the dust looks like a fuzzy blanket. And any streaks left on mirrors will be more visible when the sun's shining into the house.
Plus, sunlight makes us happy, which will make cleaning a more enjoyable task than trying to scrub and dust and polish in a dark, dungeon-like house after sunset.
10. Tackle the grimiest and hardest tasks last.
If you do the easier tasks up front, you'll have more momentum to tackle the bigger tasks. And if you manage to keep up with a regular cleaning cycle, you'll save yourself the time required to do a full spring clean, lowering the barrier to getting started next year! If you regularly sweep and mop, for instance, when you're spring cleaning, you can instead focus on less frequent spots.
This is your opportunity (see what I did there? Framing it as an opportunity helps with the positivity! Bonus tip!) to clean your baseboards with soapy water, scrub your window sills, and clean your oven. This is your chance to clean your patio furniture before you put it out for the summer. Now is the time to do the dirty work so your house can sparkle in its cleanliness!
Which one of these was the most helpful for you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Don't forget to grab the printable version of the list here!
And if you're looking for more help and encouragement to tackle your decluttering, organizing, or cleaning, let's chat about it!
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