As the weather gets warmer and the sun begins shining more often, you might find yourself with the urge to start spring cleaning. But sometimes looking at the amount you need to tidy up can be exhausting and discouraging. No matter what your living space is like, there are ways to break up your spring cleaning into manageable portions, and to use tips and tricks to make your cleaning more effective. Here’s a list of some spring cleaning tips that we think really work!
Trash Out First
Instead of trying to organize a space all at once from start to finish, go through in phases. We recommend going room by room and taking out the trash first. Trash can be anything ranging from things you’ve been meaning to donate, to broken toys, dirty dishes, unused knickknacks, and of course, dust and dirt. Look at the picture of the messy desk here – is there anything you see that you’d throw away right off the bat? Just removing a few items will instantly make things feel a lot cleaner.
Don’t put a lot of pressure at this phase to make decisions about other items you are debating holding on to. Instead, just focus on the stuff that you know you definitely don’t want to keep. When doing this step, don’t forget the kitchen! Taking out the trash before you do any other cleaning will make your space easier to work in, and make the rest of tidying up feel less overwhelming.
Opt for an Audiobook
Having something to listen to while spring cleaning, be it a music playlist or podcast is essential to help pass the time. But sometimes music playlists can actually distract you from the task at hand, if you want to add music to a queue or look up a song you haven’t heard before. Podcasts can be better, but their episodic format makes them easy to jump in and out of. For deep and uninterrupted focus, we highly recommend finding an audiobook to listen to as you tidy up your house. Choose a novel you’ve been meaning to read, or nonfiction on a topic you are interested in: It will help pass the time much more quickly.
Leaf Clutter into DIY Mulch
Typically when doing spring cleaning, you’ll also be tidying up your yard as well. One of the first things you are likely to do when cleaning your yard is raking up any old, dead leaves from last season. You can turn this into a mulch which is great for composting, or can be spread underneath a heavier mulch for added nutrients for your plants! All you have to do is put your dead leaves in a bucket or garbage bin – make sure you don’t use a bag or liner, and only fill it about halfway up. Then take your weed whacker to shred the leaf litter into tiny little pieces.
This will greatly reduce the size of the leaves, giving you a fine mulch that can be readily composted into healthy soil for your garden. You can even use this shredded leaf litter to help start campfires, if it is nice and dry! Before you start shredding, make sure that there aren’t bits of garbage and plastic mixed in with the leaves that may also get shredded up.
Kitchen Clean Out
Even the cleanest kitchens can use a top-to-bottom reset once a year! Take everything out of all your cabinets, and yes, we mean EVERYTHING! This will give you an opportunity to look for expired foods in your pantry, find lids to old Tupperware containers, and dust out the backs of your kitchen cabinets. This is a perfect time to reorganize, if you were feeling like your previous layout wasn’t doing much for you! While you are organizing your cabinets, put your self-cleaning oven on so that it will be ready for you to tidy up at the very end.
Don’t forget about the refrigerator! We know it is a pain, but you should definitely defrost your freezer – leaving it full of ice takes up space and is LESS energy efficient! Make sure you use safe and natural cleaning agents like baking soda and natural dish soap when scrubbing your freezer and refrigerator. Place a cup of baking soda in the fridge when finished in order to keep odors at bay!
Make a Space For Everyday Tools
Having all your yard and garden tools shoved in the back of your garage or in one disorganized shed can prevent you from accessing them, making you less likely to clean up your yard during the season. As a spring cleaning project, you can make a place near the front of your garage or tool shed where you keep all your most-used gardening tools. Organize them with shelving, hooks, or peg boards. One cleaning strategy is to make sure every tool and item has a designated space where it ‘lives’
You could even consider adding a small, attractive shed to your yard to use as the designated area for the tools and supplies that you frequently need. The easier you make it to reach your cleaning supplies, the more likely you are to use them!
Maintain Your Mattress
We wash our sheets often, but what about our mattress? After a while, your mattress can get covered in dead skin, dust mites and bacteria. Yuck! To refresh your mattress, first spot clean any stains with vinegar and baking soda. Sprinkle the rest of the mattress with baking soda which will help absorb moisture and odors. Make sure you give the baking soda ample time to sit, usually one or two hours. Then, just vacuum up all the baking soda from the top of the mattress, and all the dust and dirt will come up with it! If your mattress also sits on a box spring, you can take the mattress off and clean the box spring in this same way before putting the mattress back.
If you have a hard time focusing on cleaning, or get bored and distracted easily, you can try a time management solution to help you stay on task. One productivity method that we find helpful is the Pomodoro method, which gives you 25 minute intervals of work separated by short breaks. You can try to use this technique while you are tidying up: After 4 of these 25 minute blocks of cleaning, you get an even longer break to chill out and recharge! By breaking up cleaning into manageable amounts of time, it becomes a lot less daunting and easier to tackle.
There are many productivity timers you can use on your computer or phone, including ones that are designed for the Pomodoro method! Or come up with your own solution for time management that works for you – the most important part is that you stay focused and motivated during spring cleaning. Developing good time management techniques during spring cleaning can also help you in other parts of your life as well.
You don’t need to take all of these spring cleaning tips to have a fruitful time getting your home in order. The most important part is finding methods that work for you. If you find ways to make the process easier for yourself, it will go by a lot faster. Do your best not to get stressed or overwhelmed – we do spring cleaning to give us peace, not to cause anxiety! Take it slow, pay attention to the details, and most importantly, have a little fun in the process. Once you’re done, you’ll feel refreshed, revitalized, and ready for the season.