It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No not that time, the time when we start to see the beginnings of renewed life all around us. Winter has worn out its’ welcome and we all itch to open our windows and let the warm winds of spring blow in. I don’t know about you but it’s at this time that I get that “nesting” instinct along with that nagging list of spring cleaning chores piling up in the back of my mind. I have had over 15 years’ experience as a housekeeper and in this article I’m going to share my top ten spring cleaning tips guaranteed to have you singing louder than the birds.
- Start with a plan. Draft up a list of each room in your home and what needs to be done. Break down each task and set aside specific times to get to work. The short time it takes to get organized goes a long way to helping you stay the course and feel in control each step of the way.
- Take inventory of your cleaning supplies. I’ve seen some pretty scary tools in my time. How can you get the job done right or even feel good about it if your cleaning products themselves have seen better days? A trip to your local dollar store can help you source out some inexpensive spray bottles and rubber gloves. Invest in a good mop and wringer set. A bucket with a sturdy handle is a must to carry around all your items so that you’re cleaning efficiently – not running around looking for things. Micro fibre cloths are awesome to have and are lint free. Care for them properly by washing them on their own and do not use fabric softener.
- Clean green! Save time and money by using water, vinegar and a squirt of non-toxic dish soap. With these three simple items you’ll be able to get most jobs done. The only other thing you might add is a drop or two of pure essential oils so that you can enjoy a nice chemical- free smell. Nature is a natural deodorizer so if you can open the windows – go for it! Use your micro fibre cloths for the glass and cut down on the amount of paper towels you use as well.
- Work systematically. Repeat after me: left to right, top to bottom. Sounds simple but you’ll save time by not cleaning things you’ve already cleaned thereby creating more work for yourself. As my old boss used to say “work smarter not harder!”
- Don’t forget the windows – in and out. An overlooked area of the home is sparkling clean windows. Between the weather, bugs, animals and fingerprints, windows really take a beating. It really makes a huge difference to have your windows cleaned both spring and fall. Depending on your home you may want to hire this out. Expect to pay $150.00 and up depending on the home, the number of windows the age and so forth. Don’t forget the window tracks well.
- Clean to music! Okay, cleaning may not be your favourite activity so that’s why you need a little help. Turn up your favourite radio station or search “music for spring cleaning” online and make up your very own playlist. I firmly believe I clean faster and more efficiently when I’m distracted by happy tunes.
- Get help! Make spring cleaning a family project. Assign different areas of the home and let everyone in on it. You’ll have to endure some whining at first but in the end everyone feel great for having helped out. If this is not an option and you need help, do not hesitate to hire a housekeeper. It is money well spent!
- Fuel up! Cleaning is hard work. While candy and chocolate may be tempting snacks they also come with a drop in your blood sugar and that overwhelming tired feeling. In other words, it’s not worth it. Save the treats for the end and fuel up with high protein, high fibre snacks like nuts, dried or fresh fruit, yogurt and so forth to keep you going and feeling great.
- Don’t procrastinate. This is the biggest enemy of spring cleaning. (Don’t ask me how I know.) Make a plan, set a date and get it done. Start the season off right – you’ll be glad you did!
- Reward yourself you deserve it! We all have busy lives and spring cleaning is a necessary evil but once you’re done you’re done and it’s time to celebrate. Perhaps a trip to the mall for that special something? Or perhaps the whole family helped and you all unwind at your favourite restaurant.
Cleaning in general gets a bad rap, and spring cleaning is no exception; yet there’s a certain wonderful feeling that comes from looking around and knowing your home is spotless top to bottom. I leave you with my ten great tips and a quote. William Morris said “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Well said Mr. Morris, well said. Food for thought as you tackle you list this year. Enjoy!