Taking the Stress Out of Spring Cleaning
It is amazing how you can collect junk in the winter months. The holidays seem to double the amount of stuff we have. By the time May arrives, our junk drawer is overflowing and you can’t remember the last time I saw the bottom of our table by the back door. At least I think there is a table under there?
If the clutter itself doesn’t give me a panic attack, the thought of cleaning it up certainly does. Over the years I have discovered a way to make this process a bit easier, and dare I say, even fun.
The entire family can participate which helps make the thought of conquering each room a bit more bearable.
Last year I made this process a little easier by picking up green and red plastic baskets at the dollar store. Throughout the year my boys will throw any undamaged, clothes that are too small, in the green bin, and the clothes that are damaged or that they don’t want anymore in the red bin.
Every month I collect the baskets and make a trip to Goodwill. Having baskets makes it easier to decide what is a hand-me-down or a donation.
I read an article on Pinterest about collecting 40 trash bags of unwanted household items in 40 days. I thought I could never find that amount of junk in our house. I was wrong. Not only did I find 40 bags, it didn’t take 40 days. Taking on one room at a time makes the task less daunting.
Once the house is free of unwanted junk, you can begin the cleaning process.
Mark your Calendar
We designate an entire weekend. It also helps family members to not “accidentally plan a golf outing.”
Make sure you have all the cleaning supplies and tools that you will need before you begin. You don’t want to leave in the middle of cleaning to pick up carpet cleaner. It can be a recipe for distraction. What should be a quick trip turns in to an hour of wondering down the aisles, picking up more items, which defeats the purpose of DE-cluttering.
In addition, prepare ready to eat meals, like pizza and casseroles. The last thing you want to do after cleaning all day is make dinner.
Open the Windows
Nothing can be more motivating than the smell of fresh air. Give your furnace a break and invite the first scents of spring to replace the smell of a long winter.
Have a Strategy
You are about to deep clean an entire winter’s worth of house. It is important to work as a team. Work from top to bottom. We begin by cleaning the ceilings. Lights, chandeliers and crown moldings are dust and cobweb magnets.
Next we tackle windows. One of us will clean the window and the other will follow by cleaning the window treatment. The best way to clean blinds is with a swifter tool specifically designed for blinds. It cuts your time in half.
Attack the furniture, especially couches and chairs. They can get very dirty. We remove all covers from the couch cushions and throw them in the delicate cycle in the washer. The arms and bottom of the couch are best cleaned with a steam cleaner.
Tables, dressers, hutches and armoires are next. Once they are dusted check for any dings or scratches. A good wood polish can make everything look cleaner.
Shampoo carpets and mop the hardwood floors. This is a good time to let the kids take a television break, that way they will not be tempted to step on wet floors.
Sanitize the bathrooms. This is my least favorite, however it usually is the fastest to complete. You should have been cleaning the bathrooms consistently, so this is just a more thorough version of what you normally do.
Deep clean the kitchen. This is the time to clean shelves, the microwave, refrigerator, oven and the pantry. Cleaning the kitchen will take up most of your time. If you decide to break your cleaning into separate days, this is best done on a day by itself.
Send Your Pets to the Groomer
Pets contribute to the dirt and hair in the house. While you clean, send them away to the doggie spa. There are several local pet groomers to choose from.
You are finished! It may have felt like it was never ending, but you did it. A good solid cleaning is a great way to start fresh again. Celebrate by grilling out. Not only will this not mess up your clean kitchen, but will also inspire thoughts of warmer days. Invite a few friends over too; your house may never be this clean until next year.