Cover Image by Jenny Mae Wong
Well homebodies, after a late winter final roar, it is finally happening – spring is … springing! For some that means getting back outside for some sunshine, fresh air and exercise. For others, especially homebodies, there’s one looming duty to tackle before getting on with enjoying the improving weather – spring cleaning!
Sunday, March 28th kicks off National Cleaning Week, and the timing seems perfectly appropriate. Spring signals renewal and rebirth, and who is looking forward to that more than the class of 2021? In order to truly reset our sensibilities and move on from the stifling, painful, locked down fear and loathing that was 2020, let’s start where a homebody always starts – at home!
Organizing, tidying, sanitizing and refreshing our living space will have a huge impact on our general sense of wellbeing on a daily basis, but many of us (yes Mom, I admit it, I’m guilty) put off cleaning our home to varying degrees. I’m better than I used to be, but I still tend to stall when it comes to spring cleaning. Why? I think the most popular excuse you’re likely to hear out of most homebodies is, “I don’t know where to start!” Fair enough, when we look around us and realize how much stuff has gotten into and onto places we never intended, it can elicit a deflated sigh.
Don’t worry, homebodies, we’re gonna do this together – like every project that seems overwhelming before we start, there is one simple mantra that speaks the truth: There’s “nothing to it but to do it”! This expression succinctly explains how, once immersed in a task, it becomes a series of micro-projects that we can zoom in on one at a time. In that mode, the work is far from impossible – with the right mindset, you can even enjoy it! Need more concrete advice to get you pointed in the right direction? Not a problem! Here are some tried and true pointers that will help you tackle the spring cleanup with both vigor and efficiency.
- Make a game plan
Before getting started, take a stroll around your space, and envision how you’d like it to look and feel versus how it looks now. Note the clutter that is clogging up spaces that you’d like to be open and clear and livable. Which things are in the wrong place, which things should be out of sight, and which things could you get rid of altogether? Take some notes – I find it handy just to dictate them into my phone.
- Break it down
After doing your whole house sweeping survey, break it down into rooms or sections - depending on the size of your home, you may decide to tackle one room or area on a particular day, making things more manageable and less scary. National Cleaning Week may have started with a day, then reality kicked in! Just make sure you schedule the entire project in advance to avoid procrastinating! I like to start with the biggest, or messiest room first, gaming my psyche so that upon completing stage 1, I can cockily exclaim that “the worst is over!”
- Be Prepared to Say Goodbye
Get prepared with large boxes and/or bags to collect the extraneous clutter and useless items that need to be cleared out in order to provide the zen space we’re finally looking forward to. Thanks to Marie Kondo, we’ve been conditioned to allocate value to the things in our midst by asking the simple question: “Does this spark joy?” I’d add the practical addendum of “Is it useful and will I actually use it?” If the answer is “probably not” or lower, pitch it!
- Start High, Go Low
It makes good sense to start your cleaning in any room from the top and work your way down, doing floor-level cleaning last. Why? Well, the obvious reason is…gravity. When dusting or rearranging stuff up high, dirt and debris are likely to fall to the floor. Secondly, we often fail to look up when scanning for things to clean, so starting that way gets it out of …the way.
- Try Something New
The point of doing this whole spring cleaning thing is to give yourself a refreshed perspective and facilitate an uncluttered mind. So, do not be afraid to shake things up a little by trying some different layouts to what you’ve gotten used to. You can always move things back to where they were if you don’t like the new vibe!
Moving large items around gives you the chance to mop and wipe down some grungy little corners that have been hiding from the light for too long!
Wrap up: Rapid Fire Tips
Clothes: You always have more than you need. Make it a ritual to clear out some items you haven’t worn for a while. Do you routinely look at this item when getting dressed in the morning and say “nah”? Then put it in the “Donate” box and give it a chance to find someone who will appreciate – and wear it!
Fridge: It’s so easy to collect jars and packets of things that get pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. Make spring cleaning the time to clear out everything that is expired, unhealthy, or unappealing.
Countertops and Floors: declutter your countertops by putting everything in its place. If something doesn’t have a place, make one, or put that item out to pasture. Wipe down countertops, appliances, cupboards and cabinets before moving on to floor cleaning.
Cleaning Products: Keep it simple, keep it healthy and eco-friendly! You don’t need a closet full of fancy and “powerful” cleaners for every conceivable application. For the most part, warm water, some vinegar and baking soda will perform the lion’s share of cleaning you need done without breaking your pocket book or the environment, or cluttering up your cupboard space.
Before you know it, you’ll be surveying your newly immaculate surroundings with a smile, and giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Happy spring cleaning 2021!