This month we are going to focus on spring cleaning: the why and the how. Join us all April long for tips and tricks for cleaning and organizing your space.
It’s is finally SPRING! After what felt like the longest winter (as all winters usually feel for me), the days are finally a bit longer and there is more sunshine to help motivate us into getting our lives together! For many people, spring means the start of gardening, for others it means hopping on the motorcycle for a few chilly rides, and for others it means spring cleaning.
HOW IS SPRING CLEANING DIFFERENT THAN REGULAR CLEANING?
We clean all the time. There are certain chores that need to be done daily, some weekly, and some seasonally. No matter what your “cleaning style” I am sure that you at least occasionally do your dishes, vacuum, and straighten areas of your space. Whether you are living out on your own or at your parents’ home, having a clean space is more inviting for guests and gives you peace of mind. So, if you keep up on cleaning all the time, why do you need to spring clean?
Well, let’s start with what spring cleaning is. Spring cleaning is a more thorough cleaning that usually happens after being cooped up all winter and not having the motivation to clean. Spring cleaning involves getting rid of old items, organizing items you are keeping, and cleaning every nook and cranny that gets missed throughout the year. Instead of just vacuuming and dusting your living room, you would wipe down cobwebs and dust bunnies under furniture, wash the baseboards and trim, wipe down light switch plates, and dust off your ceiling fan. You will notice areas of clutter and figure out a way to organize it better or clean it out more thoroughly. Windows will get washed and curtains and drapes will get dry cleaned. Basically, spring cleaning is all about a fresh start.
I think most of us relate spring with a fresh start. Metaphorically, spring cleaning our space is giving our minds a fresh start as well. During the rest of the year, things start to accumulate and clutter and we often just let it happen. As this happens, our minds also start to feel cluttered. Have you ever cleaned your bedroom and automatically felt more at peace? That is because our living space can be a reflection of what is going on in our minds or in our lives. Often times, therapists will suggest a patient clean their bedroom when they are starting to feel depressed, because it is something that will make you feel accomplished and can help you concentrate better. Regular cleaning can help maintain your peace of mind, but spring cleaning gives it that sense of a “new beginning.”
WHERE DO I BEGIN?
Even if your space isn’t “dirty,” it can still use a spring cleaning. Trust me. But knowing where to begin can be the hard part, especially if your space ISN’T very clean. Here is how I tackle my spring cleaning:
- Write a list. I write a very thorough, long list on many sheets of paper of what I want to get done in each space. I always start with my bedroom, because it is the room I have to relax in and that is most important to me. Also, it is usually the easiest room to start with. Starting with choosing the room, I will list underneath everything that needs done. I start by looking at my doorway and work my gaze around the room looking at what needs done. Wiping down the light switch, cleaning out my closet, organizing my jewelry, putting clothes away, cleaning my curtains and windows, cleaning off nightstands and drawers, washing sheets and blankets, and rotating my mattress (more on that in another post), dusting down the walls and vacuuming. This is my beginning to do list. Then I will look at the areas within areas and make smaller lists that will address organization for closet, under the bed, and drawers. I make lists like this for every room in my house before I ever get started on actual cleaning. Does this mean I will do it all? Not really, but it is a place to start.
- Gather cleaning materials: Once I have my lists, I will do a quick inventory of what cleaning products I have on hand and what cleaning products I need. Are my microfiber cloths a little worn out? Am I almost out of a product? Are there any special products I need (stain removers or carpet cleaners)? You don’t want to start cleaning just to have to stop because you don’t have what you need to finish.
- Gather cleaning tools: Is your vacuum working at it’s best? Does your broom push dirt around more than it actually helps clean? Has your duster broken just enough that the dusting pad falls off every time so now you need to use tape to hold it on (or is this just me?)? Make sure all of your cleaning tools are available and working their best. I will show you in another post how to clean your cleaning supplies.
- Make a list of organization tools: As you were looking around your room to make a list, did your eye keep stopping at that pile of stuff on your dresser? Did you realize that you have items that don’t have a home and just always end up back in the pile? We all have areas in our homes like that. So as you are writing your lists, starting thinking about how you can organize those spots. Can you buy a pretty basket to hide it all in? Do you need a more advanced form of organization? Start making a list of things you think you would like and maybe start shopping for those items.
- Schedule your time: I use a planner and I recommend every one use one to help optimize your productivity and time. My planner contains everything I need to make my life easier. Looking at my calendar, I can see what weekends I have free several weeks in advance and start to schedule each room I want to spring clean. The most important piece of advice I could give you about spring cleaning is to not think you can get it all done at one time! I choose one weekend for each room of my house, but depending on the size of you living space and the size of your list, you may be able to schedule one room a day or even a couple rooms a day. Schedule in advance and make cleaning a priority on those day and you will be more inclined to actually get it done.
I’M READY, WHAT’S NEXT?
It’s spring cleaning day! You are ready to go! So, now what? I make sure I get up a decent time of morning, eat, have coffee, and start my morning like a normal day. I look over my planner and make sure I have nothing else to do today so that I am not rushing or feeling like I don’t have enough time. Personally, I like to do this on a day when no one else is home, but if you have others around, talk to them about helping out. If you have kids, create a small list of things they can be working on while you are cleaning (even if it’s just busy work, make it seem important to you and they will love doing it), if you have roommates, talk to them beforehand and make a schedule together for everyone to pitch in.
The next thing I do is put on comfy clothes, throw my hair up and out of my face, and put on my favorite music, which for me is early 2000’s rap! And since I am usually alone, I can listen to and sing the explicit lyrics! I grab my list for that particular room and just start! Some people suggest cleaning in a specific way, like clockwise, top to bottom and left to right. Some people start with the larger areas, or with the dirtiest areas, or even with the cleanest areas! Wherever you start, just make sure you have all your products and tools handy and that you aren’t making already clean areas dirty again.
Don’t forget to wipe EVERYTHING down. Throw things in the wash right away so that they will be done by the time you are done with your room. Take breaks as needed, make sure you are eating lunch and drinking lots of water. Organize your stuff as you clean so that you don’t have to take things out again later. Make it fun and remember how good it will all feel once it is cleaned.
Spring cleaning your space is great for your physical health (getting rid of dust mites and allergens) and your mental health. Scheduling your spring cleaning will ensure you get it done and won’t burn yourself out. Looking at spring cleaning as a fresh start and not as a chore will help you get it done and will make you feel proud.
Make sure you check out Being Grown Up on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and your favorite podcast subscriber or at Anchor.fm/kim-stamler. Let me know in the comments what spring cleaning questions you have for me this month and I will try to get to them. Thank you for all your support. XOXO