The sun is holding onto the sky just a little bit longer before it retreats behind the horizon. Trickles of chilly water run downhill as snowbanks melt, and the air swirls with bursts of unexpected warmth. Slushy mud puddles mark the well traveled winter footpaths. The strong hand of the cold winter is fading, and releasing the things it held onto for so many months. And as you watch Mother Nature clear out the snows of winter to welcome the vigor of spring the thought crosses your mind, “I should probably do some spring cleaning.” All of those dusty shutters, grimy showers, and cluttered closets could really use some help. Here’s how to start.
Donate, Dispose, and De-clutter
Before you do any sort of deep cleaning, you need to get rid of unnecessary or underused items. Clutter has a way of leaking out throughout the course of a week, no matter how many times you clean. Pull out the clothes, toys, books, blankets, pencils, kitchenware, and whatever else you have conveniently shoved out of sight. Be prepared; your house will look like the closets have a bad case of food poisoning while you undergo this process. Check your medicine closet and food pantry for expired items and dispose of them accordingly. Remove empty bottles and containers. When getting rid of clothing, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself how often you wear it and whether or not it still looks good. With your blankets, take the time to wash the ones you choose to keep; blankets rarely get washed and you would be surprised at how much better they look after a good scrub. When replacing the items you keep, place them in an organized fashion so that they are easy to access in the future. Donate or yard sale, weather permitting, any items that are still in good condition.
Canvass your Dirt Vaporizing Cache
Now that you have removed the more tangible sources of your mess, it is time to check out the tools and cleaners you will use to polish your home. Look for safe, reliable cleaners to use, since you will be exposed to them for a few hours at a time. In addition to cleaners, collect garbage bags, rubber gloves, dusting supplies, and other devices. To save time in the future, take an inventory of the projects you plan on completing in the course of your cleaning and make a list of the supplies you need. This will prevent the feared, “Oh, I need a toothbrush for this corner,” when you are elbow deep in bleach. Also check your kitchen and living room cabinets and furniture for any spots that need to be buffed and polished.
Fortify your Resolve
Once you are prepared with all of the necessary supplies, dig in. Pull furniture out from the walls and vacuum up the built-up dust and bits of garbage. Be careful not to scrape your floors in the process. Grab a kitchen chair and dust the trim along the tops of your windows and on the upper surface of ceiling fans and light fixtures. For safety, have a family member close by to help you keep your balance. As enthusiastic as you may be, the concept of cleaning the whole house can be a daunting one. Take it one room at a time and enlist the help of your family members, if you have them around. Be sure that when you delegate responsibilities you give clear and specific instructions. It also helps to put on music to accompany your bold undertaking.
After you have completed all of the aforementioned steps, prepare a regular cleaning schedule to keep your hard work intact. After a thorough spring cleaning, maintaining your home’s cleanliness should not be as time consuming as it was beforehand. If it still takes a long time to clean the house, chances are that you still have too much stuff in your closets. Take a second sweep of your home for superfluous items and get rid of them as soon as possible.
With spring right around the corner, and a summer full of fun to follow, having a clean home will be one of your greatest assets. It will give you the freedom to enjoy a long vacation and then come home to a pristine and organized living space. So take a leaf from Mother Nature’s book; out with the old and in with the new. Welcome the new season in with a fresh home.