by Amy Allen Clark
With spring comes all of the beauty of the changing season. We finally began to see our grass; we enjoy seeing the new buds on our trees, and the sweet smell of a good April shower. What also comes along is the dreaded ritual of spring cleaning. Maybe you went through this awful experience as a child. Your mother would be pulling all the linens, washing the drapes, deep cleaning every nook and cranny of your home, and then collapse after a full day of cleaning. I don’t remember this as being a fun ritual for our family and have decided to try a different method of cleaning in our own home.
Spring cleaning, while still important, is not as necessary as it once was. Back in the olden days, spring cleaning was a much different concept then it is today. This cleaning was a necessary routine because of how they had to heat their homes and keep them lit. Using kerosene, wood, gas, oil, and candles caused the house to develop dark sooty grime around it. This grime created the need for a deep cleaning of the home. Their deep cleaning restored the beauty of the home and also gave them the opportunity to get out the lighter linens, rugs, and furniture that they used during the warmer seasons. Not only did they divulge in spring cleaning, they also did fall cleaning as well to prepare them for the cold season of winter.
Today we do not have the need to do spring cleaning although in many families it is a ritual that brings about peace and renewal in our homes after an entire day or week of intense cleaning. In this day and age, however, it is hard to be able to set aside that much time to get all of these tasks done. Our schedules and days are so full that it hard to devote more than the few hours necessary just to keep our home running smoothly.
Instead of doing one deep cleaning, I have vowed to “spring clean” all year long rather than trying to set aside a specific time to do this. With a very busy toddler and just the daily maintenance of my home, there are days when I feel really proud of myself if I can get out of my pajamas. If you are anything like me, try and incorporate these tips into your daily routine so that you can relax while everyone else is tired and haggard from their day of spring cleaning. Here are a few ideas for getting these tasks done:
- Begin by making a checklist of everything that you would normally do during your spring cleaning. Things like washing all the linens and drapes, wiping down baseboards, washing windows inside and out, cleaning out your pantry, washing your shower curtains, organizing your linen cabinets, wiping down walls, and cleaning doorknobs and light fixtures.
- Take inventory of your cleaners and the tools that you will need in order to accomplish all of the necessary cleaning. Nothing is worse then getting ready to do your task and then finding out that you are missing that one component needed to complete your task. Put the items that you will need on your shopping list and get these items on the day that you perform all of your errands.
- Continue doing your normal daily routine, but add an extra hour each week towards accomplishing just one of these tasks on your list. Check off the items that you accomplish and press on to the next one. By just devoting one hour a week towards your spring cleaning goals you will have a more manageable deep cleaning routine.
- Clear out as much clutter as you can. Make a box for trash and a box for charitable donations and fill these with all of the unnecessary clutter in your home. By donating these items to those less fortunate you will gain so much. Not only will someone who needs these items more benefit from your donation, but you can receive a tax break and reclaim space in your own home. I have decided to look at every item in my home in a new light. There was a time when I used to want to fill my home with loads of stuff. Now I look at everything as one more thing to dust and care for. If you don’t like to dust it, don’t love the item, and want an organized home—donate it!
- Keep a caddy of cleaning supplies on each floor. I find it much easier to clean my house when I know that the tools that I need to accomplish my task are just a few steps away. Keep your checklist either in one of your caddies or somewhere that is accessible so that you can always stay on track with your deep cleaning.
- Do your cleaning when it is convenient for you. Some people work better during morning hours while others of us would rather be snoozing and do better in the evening. Take advantage of the times that you work best. If you would rather break the hour into smaller increments that is totally up to you. The idea behind all of this is to make it as easy as possible so fit it in wherever and whenever you can.
- Put your spring cleaning task on your calendar each week. It sounds silly, but don’t you remember your appointments and engagements better when it is written on your calendar? It is hard to ignore scheduled tasks in glaring print. Write your tasks in red, capitalized, or exclamation points- anything you can to draw your eye to the one task for the week.
- Enlist your helpers to help you on these tasks. Your children and your husband can be active participants in getting your home organized just like they help to contribute to the clutter. Schedule dad for clearing out the garage, taking inventory of the tools you will need to do your gardening, cleaning out the basement, or other tasks inside and outside of the home. Children can aid in cleaning their own rooms by helping to remove some of the clutter in the house. Involving your family can be beneficial in showing them all that you do to keep your house running smoothly.
It is hard to accomplish tasks around the house if you have a poor attitude about what you are doing. Unfortunately, every house requires a little maintenance and your attitude towards your work can be the difference in your spring cleaning being bearable or just plain awful. I certainly don’t jump up and down when I clean and it isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I take great pride in keeping my household running smoothly. Turn on some fun music, watch television while polishing tables, do whatever you can to make getting your home clean easier and fun.
About The Author
Amy Allen Clark is the stay-at-home mother of a two-year-old son, and the founder and creator of www.momadvice.com. Her web site is geared towards mothers who are seeking advice on staying organized, living on a budget, and for those seeking work-at-home employment. Please visit her site to sign up for her free monthly newsletter filled with more great tips to help simplify your life.