March is here, and it’s almost time to start your spring cleaning! This article has wonderful tips on to help you with your spring cleaning this year.
Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips
1. Make A Plan
Whether your place is tiny or massive, spring cleaning can be a challenge. Spring cleaning is about going beyond your usual dusting, mopping, vacuuming and scrubbing routine. And if you’ve never done it, how do you even know where to start? Like all big undertakings, it’s a good idea to make a plan. Yes, that means committing pen to paper. Or creating a spreadsheet, if that’s more your style.
Start by listing out every room of your house, without forgetting places like the utility room, laundry room, garage and closets. Think about tasks like cleaning the baseboards, the walls, the windows and window treatments, as well as moving and cleaning behind and under furniture (and the furniture itself). Basically, things that you probably don’t clean on a regular basis. If it helps you, walk through your house or apartment while making the list.
If even the idea of making a list is too much, do a little research first. There are books and Web sites on every subject and that includes cleaning. Find a list to work from or at least get some inspiration — I use a printed chore system that hangs on my fridge, and it has spring cleaning tasks built-in when that time of year rolls around. While it doesn’t look like there’s an app just for spring cleaning, there are more than a few for cleaning in general. They could help you find your starting point.
2. Take Your Time
o you want to do it fast or do you want to do it right? After you draw up your list of tasks, you might be re-thinking how much time to allot to it. Sure, you can hit the highlights in a weekend, but if you want every square inch truly clean, you’ll need to take more time. Before you give up because you can’t take a week off work just to clean, remember this: nobody can.
The answer? The classic divide-and-conquer technique. Go back to your list and break down each task into manageable chunks. There’s no rule about how long it should take you to finish your spring cleaning, and it doesn’t have to be finished by the first day of spring. Estimate how long each task will take you and where you can add them on to your everyday routine. For example, if you’re in the bathroom wiping down the sink and counter, maybe you can also take the time to clean and organize under the sink, too.
You also need to build in breaks to avoid burnout. I’m guilty of powering through when I’m in the middle of a task, but then sometimes I run out of steam before I reach my goal. At the same time, be a little ruthless with yourself — now is not the time to flip through your old yearbooks or reread letters from pen pals.
3. Get Ready
You probably have the basics already, but at a minimum, you’ll need an all-purpose cleaner for everything from walls to floors and a glass cleaner for windows and mirrors. Don’t forget about specialized cleaners, like oven cleaner, silver polish or wood oil, because you probably don’t use those things nearly as much. Your tools are just as important: Inspect everything from brooms to mops, and replace them if they’re in bad shape. A frayed broom can make sweeping take twice as long.
Spring is also a good time to go green. You can even go one step further and discover new uses for household items like white vinegar and baking soda. You may not have them in the quantities you’ll need for cleaning, but buying them will cost you much less than traditional cleaning supplies. Try to avoid using paper towels if you can (although I can tell you that coffee filters are the best way to a streak-free window). Microfiber cloths are great for dusting, and you can use the inexpensive white cloths known as bar mops for just about everything. I use these, as well as a mop with a refillable head that can be machine washed.
4. Declutter First
Spring cleaning is kind of a misnomer because it’s just about cleaning. If all you do is shuffle piles of stuff to clean around them and then put them back, sure, your stack of VHS tapes is cleaner, but is your living room ambiance really better off for all of your hard work? Before you can clean, you have to declutter and organize. There are lots of ways to go about it, but the easiest is to set up three different bins (or boxes, whatever works): keep, toss and donate/sell.
With each item, ask yourself what this particular thing is doing for you. If the answer is nothing but it’s still calling to you, next decide whether you could be happy with just taking a picture of it (I’m thinking of some of those souvenir tchotchkes gathering dust). If you don’t even want a picture of the thing, then why is it sitting on your shelf? A common mistake is to let the donate/sell bin stagnate. Make time to deal with those items accordingly so you don’t have that staring you in the face in the midst of your otherwise sparkling clean home.
Once you have your “keep” items, think about how you can better organize them. If you’re a cooking magazine hoarder (guilty as charged), go through the magazines, pull out the recipes you just have to make and haven’t gotten around to yet, and either put them in a binder or scan them in. Recycle the rest. You can find inexpensive baskets and bins in all sizes at thrift stores or dollar stores.
5. Bring Backup
You’ve got a plan, you’ve budgeted your time, you have your supplies ready … and it still seems like way too much work for one person. There’s really no shame in asking for help. And you might even need it for some of the big projects that involve moving around furniture or climbing ladders to dust light fixtures. Getting someone to help you clean might be even harder than getting someone to help you move, though.
If any other people live in your house, that’s a good place to start. Their stuff and their mess are contributing to the need to spring clean, right? If you have kids, get them to focus on their rooms first (including the closet). Just remember that you’ll need to help keep them on track and make sure they didn’t just shove everything under the bed. Even small children and toddlers can do things like dust baseboards; they’re still eager to help, and there’s no time like the present. No luck with anybody at home? Offer to help a friend with his or her spring cleaning in exchange for help with yours (or for free food and/or alcohol — if it works for moving, why not for cleaning?). Finally, if you can afford it, you could also hire a maid service to tackle some of the larger jobs that just seem way too overwhelming.
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