Ok, we know it’s not actually spring but if you’re starting to develop the cold weather blues, there’s nothing like a bit of ‘spring cleaning’ as a pick-me-up! Spring cleaning can be daunting – it means tackling those pesky piles that have stacked up over summer. Now that the temperature’s dropped and the sun’s disappeared behind winter weather clouds, you’re going to be spending more hours inside and those cluttered corners may start to drive you crazy! So, why not give your house and garden a good tidy up and scrub down before winter really sets in?
Break it down
Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s unlikely you’ll successfully complete a spring clean in a day either – be prepared to put in a few days to get the job done. Break up your cleaning into smaller, more manageable chunks, either by task (e.g. vacuuming, mopping, window cleaning) or room (e.g. bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen). Many times, cleaning room by room is easier but there may be some jobs that are better delineated task by task (such as general de-cluttering, cleaning windows or cleaning the gutters). Room by room allows you to focus all of your energies on one area but may mean you are doubling up on general cleaning tasks, like vacuuming, and sometimes this approach takes longer; this is especially true when you have lots of clutter and you move it from room to room without ever really dealing with it!
Make a list/schedule
Making a list really helps you keep track of your spring clean – and crossing items off the list feels great! In fact, crossing off items on your to-do list is key to keeping you motivated and productive. Some of the greatest thinkers in the world, including Benjamin Franklin, used to-do lists. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a comprehensive set of spring cleaning checklists.
After you’ve made your list, you’re out of excuses and it’s time to get down and dirty. Start with decluttering. This is often the most daunting part of spring cleaning, facing the accumulation of stuff scattered throughout your house. Face the junk first – newspapers, magazines (no, you don’t need to keep every copy of Better Homes and Gardens), mail, old crossword puzzles, things you’ve printed off the internet, cardboard boxes, plastic containers etc. Try to recycle wherever possible. Be ruthless – go through cupboards, closets, drawers and other furniture. When was the last time you actually listened to one of those CDs? If you’ve got it on your iPod, do you really need the CD? Ask yourself ‘when’s the last time I used/wore/needed/thought about this item?’; if it’s more than 12 months, considering giving it a new home, either in the rubbish bin or at the local charity shop. You’ll be amazed how much stuff you have that you never use.
Always remember the age old housekeeping saying a place for everything and everything in its place (incidentally, also attributed to the famous grandfather of list writing, Benjamin Franklin!). You may discover some treasures you forgot you even had! Speaking of treasures, you should review your home and contents insurance at least once a year so why not tie it in with your ‘spring’ clean. It’s important to check your policy to make sure the details are still relevant. If you’ve made any major purchases, like a new computer or TV, inherited your grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet or made any changes to your house and surrounds, like putting up a new shed, make sure you’ve added them to your home and contents insurance cover.
Don’t forget the outside of your house too! Prune back bushes and trees (this also helps with home security), weed the garden, aerate the lawn, clear out the gutters and always remember to give your shed some love. Sheds and garages are great but they can become hotbeds for storing clutter, so spend some time decluttering and reorganising your outdoor spaces as well.
Once you’ve finished, reward yourself with a night out – you’ve earned it. But, you may be so pleased with your handiwork that you opt for a cozy night in, clutter free. Enjoy your pre-winter ‘spring’ clean!