Ah spring cleaning. That beautiful time of year when you turn your life upside down in the hopes of coming out with a cleaner space and less crap. Doesn’t always turn out that way, does it? The DS loves spring cleaning. It’s an opportunity for breathing fresh air and fresh perspective into your home and your psyche. A lot has been written about the “clutter-cognition connection” and it’s generally agreed that mess leads to stress.
If mess leads to stress, then the opposite is also true. Cleaning leads to less stress and by extension a happier life. Some people naturally gravitate towards this “cleaning high” but for others the gains may be a little harder to come by. This post is for those of you that want the benefits of spring cleaning but have a hard time figuring out how. We’re scoured the web including all the existing lists and resources to put together this ultimate list of tips to help you get it done better than you ever have before.
1. Start early
Start early so you don’t get overwhelmed. Depending on the size of your space, give yourself more than enough time. Really it will feel like less of a huge chore if you spend a little bit of time every other day rather than devoting a week straight and feeling frazzled.
2. Have a plan and get supplies
Before you start a project, take take the time to thoroughly survey what exactly you’re dealing with – your main question will be what supplies will you need to get everything done. Make a list and get your supplies ready before your start rather than starting and realizing you can’t finish without “x” item. You don’t want to make more clutter or buy multiples of anything (which would just increase clutter)
3. Use a checklist
Use a checklist if you have a large space. There are a lot of checklists online already that are specifically tailored to different needs and different spaces. Apartment Therapy provides a really excellent outline of different checklists listed according to your level of expertise or commitment in the spring cleaning wars. They go from white belt to black belt and everything in between. You can even make your own checklist. Also, some sites offer paid checklist services: don’t do this. See point 10 below.
4. Don’t forget small spaces
Spring is the perfect time to go through all those knick knack drawers and empty them out. Clutter migrates from these small spaces to bigger ones, so make sure you don’t neglect them.
5. Divide the projects
Do bigger projects like window cleaning or switching to summer bedding during the weekend. Use weeknights for smaller projects you can complete in an hour or less like updating your first aid kit or organizing that kitchen drawer with all the knick knacks in it.
6. Purge your toiletries
So many people don’t purge their toiletries and end up with 10 year old eye shadow mixed in with their new stuff. Although a lot of products may seem like they never go bad, they really do. You also shouldn’t be keeping products you don’t use. It might feel like a waste but what you’re really wasting is space. Go through your toiletries and get rid of anything that’s old or that you don’t use.
7. Purge your closets
This might be the most important step. Don’t let junk accumulate in your closet. Don’t keep things you keep saying you’ll wear but never do. There are a lot of great systems you can use to determine what you do and don’t use. Here’s a great list outlining when you should get rid of clothes.
If you have a lot of stuff, or just feel overwhelmed generally, you could try the 3 pile system. Designate 3 areas for piles. You could use bins, bags, or a combination.
Pile 1 things you are keeping.
Pile 2 items for donation.
Pile 3 items for the garbage.
You could add piles as needed. For example, you could add an additional uncertain pile and go through this list to figure out if you should get rid of things.
8. Work from top to bottom
Forgive us if this is obvious to you, but in our experience it’s not as obvious as it seems. This is especially true if you barrel into spring cleaning without a plan. When you start cleaning, work from top to bottom. Start with window treatments and light fixtures and move down toward the floor. The cast-off dust and miscellaneous debris will fall to the floor where you will then clean it in your normal course, rather than having to go back to do it. This should also be obvious but you should finish the decluttering and organization before starting the major spring clean (barring any significant mess, of course).
9. Rearrange your furniture
In the process of your spring cleaning, try rearranging your furniture. Not only will this give you the opportunity to clean underneath larger pieces, but it will also refresh your space and perspective. According to Psychology Today contributor Carrie Wilson MD, rearranging the furniture can lift mood, provide concrete satisfaction, and instill a sense of effectiveness.
10. Don’t forget other spaces
Spring cleaning shouldn’t be limited to your home. Apply the same principles to your car, your computer(s), and your financial records. Remove all the junk, complete any required maintenance (or follow up in the case of financial records), and clean it all up to make it look nice. You should also consolidate your bills and financial documents if you don’t already do so. Different financial documents have to be kept for different durations.
11. You don’t have to break the bank
You dont need to spend a lot of money (or any money at all). Spring cleaning is supposed to be about purging the junk and making more space. After you purge, if you find there are things you need take some time to live with less before you start buying. You may come to realize you don’t really need more after all.
Featured image credit http://suzies-cleaning-service.com