Spring is just around the corner for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and for many of us that hopefully means the end of snow until next Winter.
For me, like numerous others, spring also carries with it the idea of spring cleaning. Yes, even this uninspired homemaker has notions of spring cleaning. And it’s not that I don’t like cleaning- I actually do. At times I find it to be therapeutic. My problem, sometimes, is figuring out where to start. And trying not to take on too much so I don’t get too overwhelmed too quickly.
The biggest part for me is staying sane during spring cleaning.
Some years the urge to purge has really gotten strong and I have to resist the urge to not throw away everything. Yes, throwing away some of it is fine and I should make an attempt to declutter on a regular basis. But, I also want to tackle my spring cleaning in a way that makes sense and in a way that’s going to meet my goals for cleaning.
Some might associate spring cleaning as something that women just do. Or maybe it’s just something that mom does. And really, sometimes I have to wonder- why do we spring clean?
Part of the reason we do spring cleaning is because at least three different cultures have this custom. In addition, since so much of American heritage comes from other cultures, the traditions are passed along from family to family to the present.
Spring also brings with it newness that makes us want to create the same feeling in our homes. Fresh air, blooming flowers, budding trees and longer days encourage us to seek the outdoors. Besides, after the doors and windows have remained closed all winter, it is important to let the fresh air in to help clear away any sickness that may be lingering.
Stuffy air is not good for your health, neither is the dust that tends to accumulate during the winter months. Spring weather tends to get you out of the doldrums and energize you in a way you may only remember from the spring and summer months. This is a great time to let go of the clutter as well as shedding some personal weight.
Do you have to wait until the first day of spring to begin spring cleaning? Of course not. You can do ‘spring’ cleaning whenever you have the time and energy for it. However, the change of season seems to be the perfect time to dig into the mess in your home, let go of things you no longer want or need and create a fresh look inside your home.
If you have not determined good reasons to do spring cleaning this year, consider these benefits:
Do it for your health – Spring cleaning helps eliminate mold and mildew that may have accumulated during the winter. It allows you to clean your home and gets rid of many allergens. DIY home cleaning products can also help.
Do it to get rid of bugs and other unwanted winter guests – No matter where you live, chances are you have been living with bugs or mice. Spring cleaning allows you to clear out any nests or food sources that encourage these pests to remain.
Do it for your home’s appearance – Everything looks better when it is freshly cleaned. When you wash your windows, you will notice things around the home that could look better. Before you know it, you will be busy cleaning until everything looks fresh.
Do it to be more productive – You may be surprised how much more productive you feel when your home is clean and uncluttered. You may not actually lose weight during this time, but clearing your home will make you feel as if you had.
Do it for your mental state – People who are depressed during the winter will find they ‘come alive’ again in the springtime. Clearing the clutter in your home may also help improve your mental state.
Do it to find out what repairs are needed – Quite often during spring cleaning you will notice that something needs to be repaired. Keep a notebook with you as you clean so you can jot down those items that need further work.
So how am I planning to spring clean and maintain my sanity? Well, I plan to incorporate a few elements of speed cleaning into my spring cleaning.
Play upbeat music. Music can do so much to give you the energy you need to clean. The music should be upbeat, full of energy and songs that you enjoy. The faster the beat, the quicker you will move. Before you know it, you will be finished cleaning in one room and moving onto the next.
Keep your supplies within easy reach. Gather your cleaning supplies before you begin cleaning. Create a basket or caddy to hold everything and carry it from room to room. You can also keep a caddy or basket with cleaning supplies in each room. This way you will have what you need when you need them, and you will not have to go looking for them.
Start with the room that you like least. Many people have a tendency to clean their least favorite room last. Unfortunately, this could lead you to procrastinate so you never have to clean it. If you clean your least favorite room first, you will have the dreaded task completed and will be encouraged to move forward.
You don’t have to clean everything. If something truly does not need to be cleaned, do not spend the time to clean it. You may not use every room in your home; so if your guest room looks clean, do not clean it again. Focus on the things that truly need to be cleaned.
Clean messes as you see them. Even if it is not a scheduled cleaning day, clean up any mess you may see. Encourage your family to help in this regard. If there are dishes in the living room, ask someone to take them with them on their trip to the kitchen. If something was splattered while cooking, grab the sponge and clean it up before it hardens and makes it more difficult to clean in the future.
Clean from top to bottom. Start at the top of the room and work downward. Clean the upper cabinet doors, then the countertop and finally the front of the lower cabinet doors. When cleaning the refrigerator doors, start at the top and move down. When you are finished cleaning the front of the appliances, you can easily mop up any water that may have dripped.
When you are finished cleaning, be sure to put your cleaning supplies away. If you have a basket or caddy for each room, you will want to place it in the closet or out of the way. By putting things where they belong, you know where to find them the next time you need them.
Another way I’m hoping to keep my sanity is by getting everyone involved. I’m fortunate that Kyle helps a lot around the house and that for the most part, housework is 50/50. Sometimes 60/40 but I am very lucky. That doesn’t mean though that the kids can’t help out a bit.
For younger ages: when Squeaker is old enough to help out, we’ll give her tasks that are appropriate. Wiping down windows with a cloth, sorting silverware, picking up her own toys, etc. I’m not about to give her a bucket of bleach and tell her to have at it but she can still help out some.
For older ages: I would delegate almost any task that an adult can do. Again, I wouldn’t hand them a bucket of bleach but maybe a spray bottle with a bleach/water solution and ask them to help with some stains. Or sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming. Again, almost any task that an adult can do, an older child can do within reason.
By delegating tasks to other family members and getting the entire family involved, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a one man (or one woman) job.