There are all sorts of helpful tips and checklists out there for spring cleaning, so today I want to focus on setting yourself up for success. Most years I get pumped up to really scrub, clean and purge our home, but end up throwing in the preverbial cleaning rag mid-way through, or worse, never even starting.
My littlest guy's asthma has been a problem this year, so I'm more determined than ever to not only do this, but to work out a spring cleaning plan that I'll be excited about using again and again. So, here we go!
1. Schedule It In
Our calendar fills up so quickly, that if I don't write down our cleaning week and treat it as a standing date, then before I know it my week is full. So, use pen not pencil and block off your days for cleaning! And be diligent about not scheduling anything that isn't absolutely necessary. Hair appointments not included...
I have a couple of things on our calendar during those weeks, but for the most part our days are dedicated to the cleaning task at hand!
2. Be Realistic
You may be totally gung ho to get started, but if you set a cleaning schedule that you can't keep up with you're more likely to get discouraged and stop short. This year I blocked off 2 weeks on our calendar for spring cleaning. That should allow us enough time to tackle the inside of the house, and hopefully the garage and shed without hitting burn out.
3. Have A Plan
There are so many different ways to crack this nut. Some of us work, some have large families, some are single, and some stay at home. So, your best plan will be different from mine. Since I'm at home the majority of the time, I chose to tackle one room each day. But for you, it may be more effective to do all the linens one day, all the baseboards/dusting/etc another day, or maybe a combination of the two is your sweet spot. Here's a look at our breakdown....
Mon - Living Room
Tues - Dining Room
Wed - Kitchen/Laundry room
Thurs - Family Room
Fri - Mia's Room
Weekend - Garage
Mon - Boys' Room
Tues - Master Bedroom
Wed - Bathrooms
Thurs - Office
Fri - Steam clean rugs
Weekend - relax!
However you approach your spring cleaning, be sure to have an overarching plan of attack before you get started.
4. Many Hands Make For Light Work
Make it a family affair. I've been guilty of waiting until the kids nap or go to bed at night to do housework. I'm faster and more efficient when I don't have to worry about little hands that may or may not actually be helping. But those are generally the times of day that I'm tired and lacking both energy and motivation. Sure it may take longer, but get your little ones involved.
Chances are they love to "help" and it will instill in them a sense of pride and ownership as you take care of your home together. Older kids can be given their own responsibilities - particularly in their own rooms. If kids aren't a factor, it's easier to stay motivated and productive when you team up with your partner. And single friends, don't be afraid to enlist some help! A lot can get done when everyone works hard together for 30 min!
5. Start With The Easiest Room First
It's sort of like the debt snowball concept....when tackling debt, you pay off your smallest debt first to quicly get a sense of accomplishment and gain momentum. Same applies with spring cleaning. It's a big job! So, start with an "easy" room or task. As much as it will feel great to tackle that room whose door you keep locked whenever company is around, it will take a lot of focus and effort. Give yourself a good start. We began with our living room...the one room I try to keep neat even when the rest of the house is in shambles. And I still discovered this when I moved the couch.
Who knew we were running a toy operation from underneath our couch. Even those "easy" rooms may have unknown clutter to deal with, so set yourself up for success by starting with a smaller task at the top of your list.
6. Designate A "Dump Spot"
Not everyone may need this, but since there are a lot of rooms that currently need a good purge in our home, the "dump room" is key. As you go through drawers, cupboards and baskets you'll find a lot of things you can throw away, a lot you can give away, but also a lot that needs to be put away but doesn't have a home yet. In order to avoid piles of stuff-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with accumulating around the house as you are trying to clean, designate a holding place to put all those items that you will need to deal with later.
For us, that room is the office. A lot of what I find are papers that need to be filed, magazines I want to keep for later reference and random craft or office supplies. As we clean, our left over to-do piles go in that room. And we schedule that room last on our clean-up schedule.
7. Purge, Clean, Put It Back Together
Just as having a cleaning schedule is important, having a plan for each room is important too. There are a number of checklists out there to keep you on track. Two of my favorites are this one from A Bowl Full Of Lemons and this one from Ask Anna. My overall goal for each room is to purge every closet/drawer/cupboard/basket/bin, pulling out anything to toss, donate, or sell. Then give the room a good deep cleaning (using those handy checklists above), and finally put everything back in place in an organized way.
8. Keep A "Fix It" List
Often when we're cleaning and organizing a room, we'll come across random issues that can eat up precious time. Try not to get distracted. This is your time to clean, so stick to your vacuum and make a running list of things to address once your are done with your spring cleaning. If you end up finishing your room or cleaning item for that day and have time to fix that broken handle, go for it. But if it's going to eat into the next item on your list or throw off your schedule, save it for the end.
9. Get Pumped!
Ok, granted there are some of us that get all excited about the thought of a dirty floor and a mop. I, however, am not one of them. I love having a clean house, I just don't love the process of getting it there. Anything, you can do to make the process more fun is going help keep you going! Turn up your favorite tunes, burn a candle, or keep your favorite drink with you. I like to pour myself a tall iced coffee in a lidded cup and it comes right along with my cleaning caddy.
10. Be OK With Less Than Perfect
So, you don't get to quite all of the baseboards today, or that darn kitchen is more of a clutter bomb than you realized. Do what you can and celebrate what you've accomplished! Anything you do is an improvement to the state of your home before, so celebrate!
And on that note, I'm back to my own task for the day. Otherwise, my living room will stay just like it is (mid-clean) at this very moment.
*There are so many other tips and tricks out there for a good spring cleaning. Let's hear some of yours! How do you set yourself up for a successful spring cleaning? What are your best cleaning tips? Who else waited until May to get down and dirty with their cleaning?
Linking up at A Bowl Full of Lemons!