A clean home is often a happy and healthy home, too. Getting rid of clutter and nagging cleaning tasks helps you feel free and relaxed in your home. And of course, keeping dust, bacteria, and germs at bay helps give every member of your family a better chance of staying healthy. Now is the perfect time to put these spring cleaning tips into use to freshen up your home and start this spring and summer with a clean slate.
1. Learn what “clean enough” looks like for you
Spring cleaning can feel daunting if you have the urge to make your entire home spotless. The 80/20 rule says that 20% of your effort produces 80% of your results, and this can be easily applied to cleaning your home. If you decide that 80% clean will be good enough, you can save a whole lot of time and effort by just stopping there. For example, it’s a futile effort to clean every last hair off your bathroom floor when a few more will show up from normal use during the next day. Focus on tidying and cleaning quickly, and you’ll learn what tasks you can use shortcuts on, skip, or only perform occasionally.
2. Purge your stuff to reduce clutter
Before you can clean, you often need to take some time to purge, which allows you to actually get down to the surfaces you want to clean. Take a couple hours to go through your home room by room and pull out anything you don’t use on a regular basis. If you never use an item or don’t see yourself needing it in the future, donate it or sell it at a yard sale. If you use an item seasonally, your self-storage unit is the best place to keep it.
3. Tidy your closets
Closets are probably the most forgotten part of spring cleaning and decluttering, but they are often the areas that need it most. In your bedroom closet purge clothing that doesn’t fit, has stains or holes, or that you just don’t wear. Then take the time to dust and freshen it up while it’s empty. It doesn’t have to look like it came out of a magazine spread, but it should be tidy and functional for you. Other closets should be thoroughly emptied and purged before being reorganized with storage bins or other storage systems to keep them tidy.
4. Get the cleaning supplies you need
It’s hard to clean when you don’t have the right tools at your fingertips. Although your cleaning supply stash may look extensive, chances are, you have lots of items you don’t actually use and are missing some key supplies. Purge old cleaning supplies and stock up on cleaning products that you actually need. Then find places to store supplies near the areas where you will be using them. For example, kitchen cleaning supplies can go under the sink. A caddy of bathroom cleaning supplies is easy to carry around if you have several bathrooms to clean. And of course, it’s always helpful to have plenty of rags and scrub sponges on hand.
5. Print out a spring cleaning checklist
There’s something incredibly satisfying about checking a task off a list after you finish it. Having a house cleaning checklist is an ideal way to keep your spring cleaning on track because it helps you to focus your energy and avoid wasting time on unnecessary tasks. One thorough spring cleaning checklist is available through Martha Stewart, but you can start with your own if you have another one you prefer. With any checklist, feel free to cross off tasks you don’t care about and add tasks that the list doesn’t include, but that you would like to do. Spring cleaning isn’t about cleaning to someone else’s standards, but cleaning to your own personal standards.
6. Add goals and prizes to your cleaning checklist
Getting your spring cleaning done is all about motivation, and sometimes the satisfaction of checking off a box isn’t quite enough. Make a plan by jotting down the specific time and day you will do each task, and a prize that you’ll get if you complete it as scheduled. For example, you could give yourself a special snack or a break to watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Big prizes are even better motivators, like a night out if you finish all of your cleaning by 5 pm on Sunday.
Photo: Chef Mick
7. Give your home a final walk-through
Even the best spring cleaning checklists might not address all of your home’s problem areas. When you think you are done with spring cleaning, walk through your whole home and pay attention to anywhere that still looks dirty. Jot these down on a list, and keep the list handy for the next week. You are bound to keep finding additional areas that your cleaning didn’t address. Then set aside some time to finish up your spring cleaning jobs, and give yourself another reward once you get the final tasks done.
8. Maintain your home’s cleanliness
Once spring cleaning is truly complete, you’ll probably discover that your home feels much more relaxing because you don’t have all these cleaning chores taunting you everywhere you look. Keep your home in this condition with the help of a weekly cleaning schedule. Just assign one small cleaning task to each weekday, plus one larger task for a weekend day. The weekend task could rotate through several jobs you want to do monthly, rather than weekly. If you prefer to do all of your cleaning for the week on one day, just consolidate your weekly cleaning schedule into a checklist you complete all in one day. Ongoing maintenance helps reduce the burden of spring cleaning next year.