Getting ready for spring cleaning takes preparation and planning. One mistake we tend to make is jumping in too soon and when we do, we waste time and get frustrated. Here are five tips to make spring cleaning more thorough, efficient—and give you better results.
Spring cleaning. it doesn’t have to be a chore. Given the right attitude, there’s something healing and invigorating about spring cleaning. First, it’s important that you assemble your “tools” beforehand—broom and dustpan, dry and wet mop, vacuum cleaner with a fresh bag or emptied and wiped down if it’s a bagless vacuum. Stick with household cleaners you’re familiar with—now’s not the time to try something new—and you don’t need a lot. One disinfectant, one general cleaning fluid, one furniture polish, one glass cleaner… Enjoy the process and make it fun as you go along. These five tips will make it easier…and your house—and mood—will shine!
TIP 1: Sing and dance while you clean. Sit down and pick out some upbeat music for your iPod or sound system. Sure, program some Adele—but not her sad, poor-me ballads. Try “Rolling in the Deep.” Then get ready to grab your mop and duster and dance-and-clean to the classics, like “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen; “Dancing Queen,” by ABBA, “Good Vibrations,” by The Beach Boys,” “Uptown Girl,” by Billy Joel, “I’m a Believer,” by The Monkees,” “Walking on Sunshine,” by Katrina and the Waves, “I Will Survive,” by Gloria Gaynor; “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” by Cindi Lauper; “Jump for My Love,” by the Pointer Sisters; and “This Girl’s On Fire,” by Alicia Keyes. But first…
TIP 2: Get rid of the clutter. Don’t clean until you get rid of the clutter and tchotchkes you’ve gathered all year. Unless they have real meaning, they’re just dust-collectors. Toss ‘em. However, if you have things that are in really good condition, set aside a large “giveaway” box, plastic bags, and tissue paper and donate them to Goodwill, your church, or wherever else they may do others some good.
TIP 3: Clean out your clothes closet. This is the most important—and most dreaded—part of spring cleaning. First, you’ve got to be determined. The biggest pitfall in cleaning out your closet is holding on to clothing you think you’ll wear but haven’t worn all year. Again, set aside a “giveaway” box. If it’s more than two sizes too small, give it away, even if you’re on a diet. Sure, you might fit into it…eventually. But by then, you’ll want a new wardrobe anyway. Unless it is a classic by Chanel or Balenciaga or Givenchy, if you haven’t put it on in 12 months, give it away, or you can make a little money by bringing your better clothing to an upscale resale shop.
TIP 4: Start with the kitchen. While your energy level is high, start with the room that will take the most energy: the kitchen. Start a day or two before you do your weekly shopping, so your shelves and refrigerator are not so full. Start with the frig. Toss out anything that’s almost empty, any food that’s past its expiration date, anything that wasn’t properly wrapped. Get out an Igloo or other cooler or cooler bag. One by one, wipe and dry all the bottles, boxes, eggs, and meats you’re going to keep and put them in the cooler. Next, remove all the shelves and wash them thoroughly in the sink with a solution made from 3 parts warm water, one-part white vinegar, and ½ cup baking soda. Use a toothbrush to get in the grooves. Dry thoroughly. Finish glass shelves off with a swipe of window cleaner. Before you put back the shelves, wipe the entire inside of the refrigerator and dry with an old, clean hand towel. These tend to be more absorbent than dishcloths. Put back the shelves, then the food in a proper order. Defrost the freezer and do the same for the freezer. Throw away any food that is more than three-months-old or unmarked.
TIP 5: Assign chores. That’s right. Your husband, children, and even grandchildren can pitch in. Young kids need to do the same with their toys as you did with your clothes. Your husband, too, needs to go through his clothes closet. Teenagers, as well. And get those teenagers help to flip mattresses, vacuum under the beds, and wipe down doorsills, ceiling fans, and light fixtures so you don’t have to get up on a ladder.