It’s a rare person who enjoys the annual Spring clean but it’s a necessity that brings much pleasure when it’s all done. There are ways to make it more palatable, however. Check out these steps and get ready to wash, scrub, sterilize and launder your way to a lovely home.
Step 1: Dump the junk
Clutter is the number one complaint most people have about the state of their homes and it can, at times, seem overwhelming. The key is to steer clear of the two contributors to household clutter. The first is that we don’t designate ‘homes’ for our stuff. So inevitably, our stuff is in the wrong place. The second, quite frankly, is that we have too much stuff. It’s very much a ’boutique’ problem in this day and age, but it’s a reality for most families. It’s hard to throw things away so stuff just accumulates.
Known clutter zones:
- Dining room
A dining room is for eating but we so often congregate in the kitchen or on the sofa, in front of the television, that the formal dining room becomes a repository for old homework sheets, unfolded laundry, junk mail and who knows what else. You can conquer the dining room dump by simply not putting up with it: anything dumped on the table gets dumped in the garbage within 24 hours. Okay, you might want to LITERALLY throw out your child’s fifth grade science project that’s due next week, but the point needs to be made.
Bedrooms are another space that seem to become dumping grounds for things that don’t have a home anywhere else in the house. This is probably partly because of the fact that they aren’t visible spaces to guests and visitors, so it feels like a safe spot to store things. Kids bedrooms are the worst, with an accumulation of toys that will generate an epic battle if you try and get rid of some of them. TIP? Raid the room when they’re out of the house and hide some of the toys in the basement. If they don’t mention them again for a month or two, out they go as donations or trash.
The entranceway is where boots and hats, coats and mitts get dumped alongside school bags, purses and so on. There is only one way to banish clutter in these spaces and that’s to hit the local home improvement store to pick up baskets, shelving and hooks. If everything that is meant to stay in the entrance has a home, it’s far less likely that all that stuff will be on the floor.
Step 2: Make cleaning up a family project
Even the smallest kids can learn from the get go how to put things away. After all, they probably do it at nursery or preschool, so there’s no reason why they can’t get into the habit at home, too.
If your kids are little, draw or print up a picture for each box, basket or shelf of what goes where. Start small: expecting a three year old to clean up an entire basement playroom that hasn’t been picked up in weeks is probably not realistic. If necessary, use a little judicial incentive (also known as bribery) to get the big jobs done. Clean room = extra screen time. It’s the kid version of working for a living but, as with adults, sometimes we all need a little incentive.
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Older kids can do more of the general household work, like dusting or mopping, cleaning the bathroom or emptying the refrigerator. TIP? Make sure they don’t have access to their tech while they’re ‘on duty’. It’s a major distraction that will add hours to any task.
Step 3: Make a list and get organized
The best way to make sure you don’t go off track is to have a plan and a checklist. It’s much harder to forget what you need to be doing if you have it in front of you, in black and white. Part of good planning is making sure that you have the right tools to get the job done: extra vacuum bags, cleaning products for every room, clean dusting cloths, and so on.
A great way to send your Spring cleaning plans off the rails is having to stop mid morning to do a run to the store to get more of this, that or the other thing that you need. Online home and garden resources like Max Warehouse make it easy by offering free shipping over $50 so you can put together your list and order everything you need all at once just using your fingertips.
Step 4: Tackle the BIG projects first
Getting the big projects on your checklist ticked off the list first is a great way to set you up for a feeling of accomplishment. Sorting the clothes in the hamper will seem like child’s play after you’ve dusted every room, from ceiling to floor. Some of the other BIG projects that you’ll need to tackle?
- Carpets and flooring — steam cleaning the carpets or mopping tiles is a big job since every room in the house has some kind of flooring on it and it all needs a good going over. TIP? Deodorize carpets by adding some essential oil to baking soda, sprinkling it on the rugs and, when it’s dry, vacuum it all up.
- Mattresses — Flip and turn every mattress in the house. That means flip each one over and turn it so that the feet are at the head and vice versa. You’ll get more life out of a mattress if you do this on a semi-annual basis. As to cleaning, you can use the same trick as for carpets on a mattress, minus the essential oils. Let the powder sit for a few hours before vacuuming it and it will take away any lingering odors.
- Fridge and freezer — Emptying out the entire fridge and freezer, cleaning every shelf, nook and cranny, is super refreshing. Any spills and odors will be removed and you can take that time to throw out the bottle of BBQ sauce that’s been in the back, open but untouched because nobody like the flavor, since your last Spring clean!
Step 5: Get outside!
No, it’s not time to sit on the patio with a tall drink of something cool. It’s time to look at your house from the outside and add to your checklist. Cleaning up winter debris in the yard and getting the garden ready for Spring planting is a start. You also need to look at anything that might need repairing, like decking, patio stones, pool decks and so on.
Look at your house as if you were a prospective buyer, or as if your mother in law was coming to visit. What would they notice? What would stand out to them as needing attention? That’s your starting point. And don’t forget that the outdoor space is another great area to get the kids involved. Outdoor chores are always more enjoyable, particularly on an early Spring day when the sun is shining.
Art Freedman is the founder and CEO of Max Warehouse your one stop shop for all your home and garden needs from home organization and improvement, to auto and lawn care and everything in between. They have your back! With free shipping over $50, you no longer need to spend your weekends in the aisles of home improvement stores.
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