8 Tips and Tricks to Make Spring Cleaning Easier
It’s Spring! And that means it’s time to breathe some freshness into our homes and our lives by getting the winter out and letting the spring in. This is important for the cleanliness of our homes as well as for our physical health and mental wellbeing. But for many of us, spring cleaning is one of our least favorite tasks to do. That’s why professional organizer Jenna Fischer with The Arranged Abode is offering some tips and tricks to make spring cleaning easier and more enjoyable. Yes, you read that right – enjoyable.
What Is Spring Cleaning?
Jenna says that spring cleaning is different than organizing, decluttering or tidying up. While those tasks can be done in addition to spring cleaning, the process and the goals are very different. Spring cleaning is a thorough washing that gets the dirt, grime and bacteria out of your house. That means getting into the back of that cabinet, washing those baseboards and cleaning out the corners, cracks and crevices that you probably ignore the rest of the year. Jenna thinks of it as “breathing vitality into a space” after a long winter. Yes, even if you live in a place where the seasons are mild, every home or living space needs a good, deep cleaning at least once a year.
While decluttering isn’t the same as spring cleaning, Jenna believes that adding it to the process if possible can actually make the cleaning part easier. As you’re emptying out shelves and bins to clean them, if you go through and make conscious decisions about what you’re not using anymore, that may mean less to clean, and it certainly means less to put back. (Think kids’ hats, gloves and scarves that you know won’t fit by the time next winter rolls around.)
Why Is Spring Cleaning Good for Our Health?
As far as our physical health goes, spring cleaning is all about getting the germs out and letting the freshness in. Jenna says that with everyone being cooped up inside for the winter, sharing sickness and germs and breathing the same air, “things have probably gotten a little grimy.” This is the time to throw open the windows (after pollen season ends) and give it a good once over before you start on your late spring and summer endeavors that might keep you out of the house more. “If you get it done now,” Jenna reminds us, “You’re just able to upkeep it throughout the fun months.”
As far as our mental health goes, Jenna acknowledges that for many of us, spring cleaning is like working out. “You may not really look forward to it, but the feeling afterwards, the feel-good endorphins that you get post-clean are really what you should be going for.” When we’re done, it feels so good because our physical surroundings affect our mental state. “The process of going through and cleaning resets the space in order for us to think more clearly, probably be more productive and to simply enjoy it more.” And again, once it’s done, it’s done, and you can get on to the fun stuff.”
Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks
What’s the most the most efficient way to approach spring cleaning to make it go faster and hopefully be more enjoyable? Jenna offers these tips and tricks to get you going.
- Make a list. This is absolutely the first thing that you should do, and there are a couple of ways that you can do it using paper, a whiteboard or a spreadsheet. One way includes putting down every room or area that you need to tackle and be specific about the different jobs that need to be done within that space. Another way involves just listing general tasks that need to be done such as clean all windows, clean all furniture, clean baseboards, etc. Jenna reminds us to include the exterior of our home as well. Things like power washing, clearing out flower beds, wiping off outdoor furniture, etc. Having a physical list also lets us have that sense of accomplishment from checking things off versus a mental list that just keeps going on and on.
- Break up list into manageable chunks. No matter how you organize your list, be sure and break it up into manageable chunks or categories. Make sure that each one is something that can be realistically accomplished in a given amount of time. For maximum mental benefits, we need to be able to check off the items in that category at one time, otherwise, it can get a bit overwhelming.
- Decide how much time you’re going to spend in each cleaning session and put that time on your schedule. Jenna is a big proponent of scheduling time for anything you really want or need to get done. “You have to schedule time for things if you want to make them happen.” If you don’t want to spend your entire weekend spring cleaning, set aside a few hours or a day to do it and spread the process over a few weekends or a month. If you want to get it done all at once and not have to worry about it anymore, schedule a weekend and maybe some time each afternoon or evening during the week to “hunker down” and do it. Either way, it’s important that everyone involved understand how much time is being dedicated to cleaning.
- Don’t clean alone. Be sure and get your kids and spouse involved because spring cleaning is not a one-man (or woman) job. You and your spouse have different strengths and may enjoy or hate doing different tasks. Decide which tasks you’re both best-suited for so that neither of you are miserable as you clean.
**My note: While the level of misery, of course, doesn’t necessarily need to be taken into account when assigning tasks to kids (because any cleaning is probably going to make them less than happy), it is good to keep their ages, abilities and their general personalities in mind. If you have a younger child or a child whose attention may wander easily, give them wide open spaces such as windows or walls to clean. If you have a more fastidious one, give them the corners or tighter spaces to work on.
- Do a chore swap with close friends or parents. Jenna suggests this as a way to make spring cleaning fun. If your best friend really likes doing windows and lint-rolling curtains but hates doing floor stuff, spend your pre-determined amount of time at one of your houses and each of you knock out the things that you enjoy doing. You can even say that at the end of it, you’re going to treat yourselves to dinner. Then swap on another day and do the other house.
- Make sure you have the right products for the job. As you mentally get ready for spring cleaning, make sure that you have your rags, cleaner and any tools you might need. If you make your own cleaner, do that ahead of time. This all takes planning, but it’s critical to making sure that you’re able to get, and stay, in the right mind set for cleaning and that you don’t have to keep stopping and starting and losing momentum.
- Remember to clean your appliances that help you clean. It’s easy to forget that even the things we use to help us clean on a regular basis need to be cleaned themselves. Spring cleaning is the time to do this. Your sink and disposal need to be cleaned, as do your dishwasher, vacuum and washing machine. The same holds true for any of your appliances, such as coffee makers, Keurigs, microwave ovens, etc.
- Use discretionary funds to hire someone to clean. If you have fun money set aside, and spring cleaning is really something that overwhelms you or causes you stress, use that money to pay for a cleaning service or hire neighborhood kids to help. While you might miss out on the mental accomplishment of doing the cleaning yourself, if you’re going to be tired or resentful, you may want to consider waving the white flag and recognizing that it’s time to outsource.
Jenna suggests these resources if you need recommended products, do-it-yourself cleaners, tools, systems or simple motivation to set you up for spring cleaning success.
Bottom line, a good, thorough, deep cleaning should be one of your spring rituals because it simply makes you and your home feel good. So, blast your music and get your spring cleaning jam on. It’s time to breath some freshness into your environment and into your life.