This month JAM Organizing presents another informative article from a guest blogger. Enjoy!
Spring is knocking at our doors, and we're more than happy to let it in. Nothing cures the blues caused by months of cold and grey like a bit of sunshine and early blooms. Still, not everything is fresh and peachy come spring. One task awaits, and it's a big one. It's time for spring cleaning.
As the weather warms, another round of "new year resolutions" blooms - or rather "new spring resolutions". No more snacking in the living room. The junk drawer is no longer a collection of junk and trash but a storage option for something meaningful (we'll figure out what!). The windows will be cleaned monthly! And so will the doors! Making plans is invigorating! Too bad they normally won't last. You made those same promises last year, remember?
Here you are again. Getting ready to spend days sorting through every possession you own, looking at all those beloved items that have reached the end of their journey with you and are ready for a rubbish bin. Now they have to go! For real this time! And the dust that's everywhere! Sometimes you wonder: is there a point?
Of course, there is! And there's a way to prepare so it's more effortless and efficient this time around. Keep reading to learn how to create a plan for your spring-cleaning endeavor.
1. Survey the Scene
Take a long, hard look at your home. Make a list of everything you want clean, and be honest. You may want to start with a good cup of coffee and a quick meditation session.
When you're ready, slowly walk around your home, from room to room, listing anything you need to clean, sort, fix, and declutter. Don't worry about the order, just make sure to write down everything - all those things you forget to do or put off during regular cleaning. For example, when you get into your bathroom, you may notice it's time to remove the dirty caulk and replace it with new. It's also time to move the refrigerator and other larger appliances and clean behind them. Light switches, too. They are small and frequently used, yet few think regularly to clean them.
Once you've completed your list, start prioritizing. Things you regularly do and clean should give way to activities more often neglected during the year. With a clear map, you'll feel better prepared. Plus, there's something incredibly satisfying about completing tasks and then ticking them off of a list.
2. Gather Supplies
It's frustrating to realize mid-clean that you didn't have the window cloth and you've run out of degreaser, which the kitchen desperately needs. Now, you have to stop, change gears - and possibly clothes - and go shopping. Maybe grab a cup of coffee with a friend while you're out.? A perfect recipe for procrastination!
Don't let that happen. If you want to clean your home effectively, you need all the necessary supplies. Stock up on disinfectants, cleaning solutions for various surfaces, and all the tools you will need before you begin. Otherwise, you'll only waste time.
Note: If you're planning to sell your home in the spring, you may be on a deadline. Making a plan, being prepared, and having a good starting point will help your home get listed and increase the likelihood of getting a good deal.
3. Divide the Workload and Conquer the Battlefield
Comparing your home to a battlefield might be a bit over-dramatic. Still, when you're equipped with rubber gloves, a mop in one hand, a spray bottle in another, and that unflattering hairpiece that's indispensable during house cleaning, it definitely looks like you're ready to fight.
You may hope the battle will be a one-day feat, but it's ill-advisable even to attempt to cram all the work into one day. It's easy to get overwhelmed. Dedicate several days to spring cleaning. Divide the workload into manageable portions, and clean one day at a time.
Avoid strict deadlines. When spring cleaning your house, you'll clean more effectively and efficiently if you take your time.
4. Declutter Mercilessly
You'll find that no area of your home is innocent when it comes to accumulating clutter. Kitchens are one of the biggest culprits. They hide so much! It escapes even the most diligent of homeowners.
Spring cleaning is the best time to go through every kitchen cabinet, drawer, and shelf, identifying all the tools and even food that needs to go. If anything is damaged, toss it. If you find any duplicates, gift, donate, or sell.
Fewer possessions makes cleaning a much less daunting prospect, and you'll be able to finish much more quickly. That's the beauty of a minimalist lifestyle.
Go through your pantry, too. If you find anything that has expired, trash it.* While clearing food from your pantry, keep note. If something was sitting in your pantry for so long that it expired, you don't need to restock it.
*Editor's Note: Check with your local food pantry. Some will take recently expired pantry items.
5. Take it on One Room at a Time
The best approach to spring cleaning is to go through rooms one by one. If you run around haphazardly, you'll be exhausted quickly. Even worse, you'll accomplish less.
It would be best to take one room at a time. Once you've finished everything in one room, close the door, and move on to the next. This way, you'll have a clear plan, and you'll be able to see the results.
If you don't know where to start, head to the most used rooms in your home. Once you have completed cleaning these areas, move on to less critical spaces. Cross tasks off the list as you go.
6. Establish New Rules (But for Real)
It's time for those resolutions again. Spring cleaning is a considerable undertaking, but it won't keep your home fresh and clean forever. It will, however, create a fantastic base to introduce some new cleaning habits.
It would be a shame to let all this effort go to waste. To help prevent this, create a realistic cleaning schedule, and place it on your fridge or someplace where you and other household members will see it often. Get in the habit of tidying up for about 15 minutes every day, and don't allow chores to pile up.
Write down how frequently different areas in your home need to be cleaned. For example, you don't need to scrub the bathroom wall tiles every week, but you will have to clean the toilet, tub, and sink weekly.
These schedules will help a lot next Spring. You'll know which areas need immediate attention and which can wait. It will help make your next big cleaning endeavor much more effortless.
And don't forget to enlist the other members of your family. Assign a chore or two to everyone. Together, you can keep your home spick and span much longer and your next spring cleaning much more straightforward.
Prepare for Spring Cleaning and Tackle it Like a Pro
Cleaning is not the most fun activity, but it's necessary. If you take the time to prepare for spring cleaning, it will be easier - not only this time, but every other year too.
Ally Jackson is a freelance blogger. She writes on numerous topics, but she mostly enjoys writing about home décor and DIY projects. In her free time, Ally loves to go hiking with her husband and their two rescue dogs.
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