There are several reasons why people go into a cleaning frenzy at the first sign of spring especially in the North East.
With the approach of longer, warmer days our energy levels and the urge to clean seem to increase. And we know that once spring is here the insides of our homes take second place and we focus our energy more on our yard, garden and getting the patio in shape. So take advantage of this precious time.
So, here is my approach.
General rules for all areas:
- Tackle projects in stages that you can finish in a given time period.
- Throw away stuff that is broken.
- Clean out toys and sports equipment that your kids have outgrown.
- If you are emotionally attached to items consider what would happen if they were not around. Especially items that are stuck somewhere unused and unseen. Most likely you won’t miss them at all.
- Collect items that you do not use anymore or that you have duplicates of to donate and put them in a big box. I set up a date with some of my favorite charities (in our area Vietnam Veterans and Big Brother/Big Sisters) to come out and pick it up. You can do it online at their website. This way I am forced to be done before they come.
- If you have “in season, interview appropriate apparel that is no more than 3 years old” Connecticut Closet and Shelf will hold a suit drive for “Dress for Success” the whole month of April 2016. For more info go to Connecticut Closet Dress for Success Drive.
- Don’t talk yourself into keeping stuff that you haven’t needed in ages thinking you may need them in the future. It is a known phenomena that once it is gone you feel that now it would have come in handy. But that feeling will go away after a short time.
If you do not feel any spring cleaning rampages coming on, try to dedicate a Saturday morning when the weather is nice to start with one area. For me that usually means our garage, workroom or shed. Even though it is orderly, it always seems that stuff accumulates over the winter. It also needs a good sweeping in the spring.
The other areas that are often forgotten during the year and prone to haphazard accumulation are basements, attics, offices, laundries, pantries or other major storage areas. If your rooms aren’t already perfectly furnished think about smarter ways to organize. Check out online resources to get ideas. One of my favorite place to go to is Pinterest and Houzz.
Bathrooms and the kitchen are usually next on my list. It is amazing how much space you can gain back by throwing items out that are old and well past their expiration date or you have duplicates off (towels, linens and plastic containers are a prime example).
Bedroom closets. Be honest about what you want to keep and why. If your closet is organized and your clothes are accessible you are much more likely to wear what is in it. Keep only items that you love and wear. We all have clothes that are mistakes – the wrong style or do not fit anymore (and most likely never will). But keeping and not wearing them takes up valuable space and generally does not seem to make people happier.
Once the weather is really great I usually tackle my windows. I have tried every approach besides hiring professional window cleaners. My mom uses hot water with vinegar and old newspaper or microfiber clothes. My husband is a fan of windex and paper towels. Until last year I used hot water, windex and a manual squeegee for cleaning. But using the squeegee left a big mess on the window sill. Last year I discovered the Kaercher battery operated squeegee. Now with two of those (one can recharge while the other is in use) I am done in no time.