Get Your House in Order: Spring Cleaning Tips
The phrase “spring cleaning” can inspire a wide variety of feelings in different people. For some, a busy day of cleaning and purging is the most rewarding feeling on Earth. For others, spring cleaning is a necessary burden, a slog they can’t wait to finish. Regardless of where you fall on the cleaning spectrum, everyone can agree that it makes no sense to enter spring cleaning season unprepared. Maximize your impact and your cleaning capability this year with our helpful list of tips, which will ensure you get the most out of your hard work.
1. Make a Plan Before You Start
The worst thing you can do is start cleaning with a single bottle of product, a few rags, and no plan. Tackling a major whole-house cleaning project without a plan is a quick way to ensure it either never gets done or takes longer than it should. By making a plan beforehand, you’ll ensure you maximize your hard work and minimize the energy spent. You don’t need to follow the same plan as everyone else; the only requirement is that you start intentionally.
2. Get Inspired with Resources
Some people spend the winter and early spring delving into resources that highlight effective cleaning methods. One of the most popular books in this genre is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese author Marie Kondo. There’s also a wide variety of books extolling the virtues of a simplified life, like A Simplified Life by Emily Ley or Getting Things Done by David Allen. If you’re interested in changing your outlook this spring, these books are a great place to start. They’ll make you motivated to get your house in order.
3. Rethink Your Existing Habits
Another way to ensure your spring cleaning efforts are maximized is to consider the way you use your home in the days leading up to your scheduled cleanup. Start noticing where things pile up and why. Chances are, if items are continually out of place in your home, it’s because they don’t actually have a designated place. The best way to prevent messy spaces from forming is to devise a new system. Install hooks for your keys, designate a place for incoming mail, or institute a new plan for ongoing piles of laundry or garbage.
4. Split Up Tasks to Avoid Exhaustion
Cleaning is annoying, but there’s nothing worse than working yourself to exhaustion and frustration. Ensure a successful spring cleaning by being realistic: don’t try to accomplish everything at once. Your motivation will falter. If you split up the tasks you have planned into separate days, it’s much more likely you’ll do them all. Don’t forget to keep track of what you’ve already accomplished. This will give you a sense of achievement and keep your motivation high.
5. Make a Plan for the Future
Cleaning and organizing your entire house can be exhausting, especially if it’s been a while since things were cleaned properly. Combat this problem by making a plan that keeps cleaning simple, straightforward, and easy. Asses which cleaning tasks are important to you. Divide them up based on how frequently they need to be done. Minor tasks like cleaning countertops and picking up dirty clothes need to be done daily, but larger tasks like deep-cleaning your pantry or buffing the floors only really need to be done once or twice a year. After you’ve made your list, schedule the tasks into your calendar so you don’t forget.
6. Store Out-of-Season Clothes
Many people combat clutter by storing seasonal items out of the way when they’re not in use. To do this, all you need are a few clear plastic storage bins. Neatly stash all out-of-season items like clothing, toys, and outdoor gear away in the bins (make sure they’re labeled first), then tuck them out of sight. You’ll be able to enjoy more free space in your everyday living quarters.
7. Find Healthier Cleaning Options
Thanks to new eco- and health-friendly cleaning products, some products that were once touted as indispensable are actually pretty unhealthy to use. The Environmental Working Group recently put out a list of the most toxic cleaning products on the market, calling it their “Hall of Shame.” If you’re planning a major spring cleaning project, reach for healthier alternatives like Ecover or Biokleen. You can also make your own with natural ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.
8. Dispose of Hazardous Items Safely
In the course of cleaning your home, it’s likely you’ll run across some items like batteries, old cans of paint, and medications that shouldn’t be disposed of in the regular garbage. Before you start cleaning this year, look up a resource like this one that tells you what to do with any dangerous materials. Depending on where you live, there may be a central drop-off location where you can safely dispose of your items, or you may have to call a company that specializes in hazardous waste.
9. Take Advantage of Your Dishwasher
While you’re cleaning, you should take advantage of every opportunity to lighten your workload. If you have a dishwasher, make it work for you! Dishwashers can be used to clean and sanitize items like brush heads, light fixtures, plastic toys, and even hats. Just make sure to use the gentle cycle, keep the heat as low as possible, and put plastic items on the top rack.
10. Care for Your Tools
If you’re working with faulty tools, spring cleaning will take twice as long. This year, start with tools at their peak and maintain them throughout your cleaning session. Start your spring cleaning with an empty vacuum bag and clean filter, clean out the gunk from your broom, and make sure you’ve stocked up on rags, cleaners, and other necessities. Then, after spring cleaning is over, make your last task cleaning out your tools in preparation for the next season. The more effective your tools, the easier it will be to clean on a regular basis.
11. Use Apps to Sell Unwanted Items
Once you’re done purging unwanted items from your home, make a little cash off them: sell them through an app or website like Kidizen, eBay, or Carousell. Just make sure to research each one thoroughly before you list your items. Many apps will take a percentage of the final payment in exchange for their services. Also, make sure that the items you’re listing are worth enough money to justify your time in listing and shipping them.
12. Air Out Your Drapery and Blankets
A great way to bring fresh air into a home is to air out your textiles. Washing your sheets and blankets is important, but don’t overlook items like duvets, curtains, and pillows that would also benefit from being thoroughly washed and aired out. Just a few hours on a clothesline on a sunny day will do wonders for your tired household textiles. If your washing machine at home is too small to fit something as large as a duvet, head to a laundromat, where the washers and dryers are usually more spacious.