Out with the old, in with the clean
It’s spring – so that means spring cleaning time! The air outside smells fresh, plants have pushed up from the ground, and the trees are budding. Like the outside naturally purging old growth, this is a great time to do a little purging of our own.
If your downtime so far hasn’t allowed you to get going on any spring cleaning, here’s a little motivation and some tips to get you started!
Before you read on, here’s something I want you to remember…you do not have to tackle this task in one go. Break it up to pace yourself and start with some decluttering that will allow you to see immediate progress. Seeing progress triggers something in our brains that motivates us to keep going.
Don’t forget to give yourself grace. Every day will not be great. You will not be super productive every day. Some days I personally feel like I’ve made zero progress and have barely juggled everything without letting a ball drop. IT’S OKAY! But I also know that we have this little bit of downtime NOW and we don’t want to regret it.
Why bother to spring clean at all?
If you’ve never been one for big cleaning sprees, I get it. It can be intimidating to list out all of the things that need to be done around the house after a long winter. Especially when you think you hardly keep up with the daily surface cleaning. Maybe you’ve just never thought about cleaning some of the things we’re about to discuss. Either way, spring cleaning is beneficial for a multitude of reasons outside of just having a clean home.
It’s Good for our Health
During the winter, our air is trapped indoors, for the most part, recirculating through the furnace and vents. We are lucky to live in a time when home heating units have built-in air filters, but there’s still a mustiness to the air after a long winter…we need to stir that shit up and get it OUT of our homes! Spring is the ideal time to rid our homes of the dust, let in some fresh air, and enjoy the scents of spring.
If you suffer from allergies related to dust, you’ll notice an immediate relief once you purge your home of built-up dust. Bathroom air vents and ceiling fans are a big culprit for triggering allergies, so don’t forget those when you start cleaning.
Many of us struggle in the spring with seasonal allergies. You might notice that opening windows actually makes your eyes water and your sinuses plug up. It might even bring on a mild asthma attack. You can still open windows to let some fresh air in…you’ll just have to be more strategic about it. Aim for days with lower humidity and pollen counts.
Even if you can’t have the windows open, spring cleaning can keep your seasonal allergies at bay. Dusting often from spring through fall can actually be beneficial to decreasing your allergy attacks while you’re home. Try dusting with the Norwex dusting mitt. The cloth traps the dust without using any chemicals and it is sustainable. All Norwex clothes can be washed with non-lint clothing and reused for many years.
Gets you moving
Spring cleaning is multitasking to the max. (Workout…check! Being productive…check!) You will literally use your whole body and increase your heart rate as you clean. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little sore the next day–you may have used muscles you don’t use often while washing windows, scrubbing floors, or dusting hard to reach places.
It’s Good for our Mind
Increases mental clarity and productivity–Different aspects of our lives are much more intertwined than we even realize. Having a clean and organized home makes us feel more collected and calm in other areas, increasing our productivity at home, work, school, etc. After a big cleaning job, you’ll hopefully feel more relaxed and have some time to play hard with your family without feeling like you need to be doing something around the house.
Makes us happier–Who else gets stressed out from a disorganized, cluttered home? Organizing the chaos in our homes can relieve the burden of stress and result in feelings of happiness. You may be physically decluttering and organizing but you’re probably handling built up things in your mind as well. Did you know cleaning was free therapy?!
Where to start
So now that you’re pumped up about getting your spring cleaning on, where to begin?!
There’s no ONE way to spring clean―some find it best to focus on one room a day, while others would rather knock everything out on a weekend. Do what works for you!
Here are a few strategies that I recommend for spring cleaning productively. I might think spring cleaning is necessary but I want to get it done as quickly as possible so I can move on to stuff that is way more fun!
To begin with, declutter. I feel spring cleaning lasts longer when I’ve cleared out the things my family doesn’t use. Once that is done, I dig into the cleaning.
It’s so easy to hide and forget about things in closets. It’s too easy. So easy that before you know it, your closets are scary places that require full protective gear to open (we’ve all seen the episode of Friends with Monica’s secret closet, right?).
Since human nature tends to be “just throw it in the closet”, it’s good to give each closet a good deep cleanin’ once a year or so. The spring is the best time to pitch or donate winter gear you didn’t use the last two winters or so (I say two years here because some winters are less extreme than others…maybe you didn’t need those giant snowshoes this year, but the one before…it was a real doozy).
We all know how much I enjoy this decluttering thing. My specialty happens to be the closets. Read more about making your closet declutter work for you here.
Kids clothes rotation
Even if you have the Taj Mahal of closets in your daughter’s bedroom, it’s still good for clutter control to rotate kids clothes by season. Not only does it make the closet more organized and neat, but it makes it easier for your child to select her own clothes when there’s fewer to choose from. Kids get overwhelmed by too much stuff, too.
Keeping summer stuff out in the winter results in a swimsuit, tights, a cardigan, and sandals on the coldest day in December. And then drama when you force her to change. When you’re already running late. And have to stop for gas. (I know you know the type of morning I’m talking about.)
Set aside half an hour or so per child to switch out cold weather clothes for warm weather clothes. I tend to leave a few long sleeve shirts and a few pairs of pants out for those crazy cold days in July (because, you know, Iowa weather…) but otherwise, I sort the rest of the clothes.
If I think my child will still fit into a particular item of clothing the next time it’s appropriate to wear it, I store it. If not, I put it in a donate, sell, or hand me down pile.
This can be a daunting task, depending on how many clothes your child has. My older child has a lot fewer clothes than my younger two that have been passed down clothes.
Christmas and maybe a few birthdays have hit since last spring. Your kids have gotten older…do you have toys that are now just taking up space and not getting played with (until you threaten to get rid of it, probably?). Play my favorite game with your kids, “keep or pitch” and let them choose what they actually want to keep, just not all of it.
The springtime is the perfect time to give all those unused kitchen gadgets the boot. You’ve gone through the holidays―the busiest baking and cooking time of the year―if you haven’t used that breadmaker or egg separator in over a year, it’s time to part ways. It’s just taking up space and messing with your clean vibe.
For the record, I love homemade bread. I’ve got no beef with breadmakers…I’m just saying, if you don’t use it, lose it.
For more tips on decluttering your kitchen, check out How to declutter your kitchen gadgets in less time.
Okay, so now that the decluttering is done, it’s time to start the actual cleaning!
Ceiling fans and vents
I favor starting with the household ceiling fans and vents. They get super dusty throughout the rest of the year and cleaning them stirs up a LOT of dust. You don’t want to mop the floors, wash the windows, and clean surfaces and then drop a bunch of stale dust on them. That’s the kind of situation that makes me want to throw a broom through a window…not really, but it would make me throw my head back and question WTF I was thinking.
For real, make this one of the first tasks on your list. In fact, make it one of the first tasks on your husband’s spring cleaning list. He’s gotta get some skin in the game, too. This ain’t all you, girl. Households take a team to run and chores are something to be shared among everyone who lives in the house.
Tip: This Envirowand with a two-sided sleeve works wonders for this messy job (and cobwebs)! It collects the dust and keeps it from falling all over the place. So in the event you think of this AFTER you’ve mopped the floors, you won’t want to Hulk out. It’s also great for blinds and light fixtures.
Windows and mirrors
When washing the dirt and grime accumulated over the winter, I like to use this Norwex set. It comes with a window cloth, a microfiber cloth, and a hand mitt duster. The duster works great for getting the dust off the window ledge, followed by using a wet microfiber cloth to remove dirt, and drying with the window cloth. NO CHEMICALS NEEDED! This is the easiest way to clean your windows without having any streaks.
This task is great for kids! Send them around with socks on their hands and have them clean tabletops, floor trim, banisters, etc.
The last thing I like to do in my spring cleaning is the floors. This just feels like closure to the whole shebang. Vacuum the carpet, remembering to do any carpeted staircases, and mopping floors.
If you are looking to get really deep into cleaning (ain’t no time like quarantine time), here are a few other ideas:
- Wash curtains (window and shower curtains)
- Beat dirt out of rugs and mats (outside, of course)
- Scrub tubs and showers
- Wash walls
- Shampoo furniture upholstery
- Clean table and chair legs (these get really gross with kids–milk splatters are the WORST)
- Tile grout
- Appliances (clean out the fridge, run the dishwasher and washing machine on a cleaning cycle, inside the oven, etc.)
What to do with items we want to purge
When the decluttering and cleaning business is said and done, my guess is you’ll have quite a pile of stuff to get rid of. It can be tempting to throw it all back into a closet or storage room, but don’t give in!
If you have space in your garage, box up the items so they can easily be taken to donation centers once they open. I’m sure they will be overwhelmed with it all by then, but the good news – it won’t be taking up your time and energy anymore and can bring joy or a job to someone else.
You’ve heard the phrase, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, right? Well, it may be a cliche but it’s totally true! Depending on what you have to get rid of, there’s a women’s’ shelter, veterans’ home, Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul type place to donate to.
There’s also a plethora of online sale sites if you’re wanting to make some extra money for a vacation or new (mindful) purchase, and willing to do the work. This can be an exhausting ordeal though. I try to only go this route for bigger items I’m selling that I know I want a certain dollar amount for.
Depending on where you live, many towns host city-wide garage sales once or twice a year. I don’t personally enjoy the tagging and set-up process, but a garage sale is an easy way to get rid of a lot of stuff at once, without having to load it all up in your car. This takes a bit of dedication with sorting, organizing, and being tied to your garage for a day or two though.
If you can’t sell, reuse, or recycle any of the rest of the items, trash it!
Set forth and conquer!
Enjoy the newness of spring, and tackle some cleaning now. If you are needing some additional help to get going, check out my free gift for you, a straightforward checklist to tackle the clutter in mere minutes a day.
It’s time to embrace the change, the sunshine, and purge your home of the clutter.
Now throw on some energizing music and get down with some spring cleaning!
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