It’s almost time for the year’s biggest chore again — spring cleaning! March is the time of year where we start to gather our buckets and boxes and set about the task of seriously decluttering our homes. We reorganize, we scrub and we polish and, at the end, we have a beautiful home that’s ready for the social months ahead.
That’s the plan, anyway.
Spring cleaning is a great exercise, but it can seem overwhelming after months of hunkering down and “collecting junk”.
Having a good clear out of your home space once a year is good for your physical health and your mental wellbeing. When our homes are clean, we’re more productive, less stressed and more focused, and a good spring cleaning has even been shown to help you fight things like allergens.
While you might know all about the benefits of a good home scrub down, you might now know how to go about clearing out your own space come spring.
Never you fear. With this guide, you can spring clean your home in 24 hours and reap the benefits for months to come.
Start with a few basics.
Before you start tearing down those walls of useless Christmas junk, make sure you’re ready for what’s ahead by focusing on a few simple basics.
1. Group up and gather your supplies.
Don’t wait until the day of to start the dreaded task of spring cleaning your home.
Make a plan and start gathering the supplies you need to tackle the big job the night before you begin your task list. If you only need a few things, gather them all in one bucket and place them in the room you plan to begin in (see below for my recommendations).
According to professional organizer Jamie Novak, author of Keep This, Toss That, though, you might need a few more things than you realize. Really think creatively here.
Instead of opting for the old scrub-brush standards alone, include items like trash bags, lint rollers, rubber gloves and a playlist that keeps you pumped up and on track. Make sure everything you need is is one place and ready to go before the big day comes.
By preparing the day before, you’re not only making your first tasks easier, you’re reducing the stress you might be feeling about cleaning. Doing a little prep the night before let’s our brain get amped up and prepared for the big tasks ahead and allows us to focus a little easier on what we need to do.
Don’t ruin your groove or give yourself a chance to procrastinate. Take a few minutes to prep the night before your big clean and you’ll be sailing down easy street in no time.
2. Make a plan; plan your meals.
Before you even think about slapping on those rubber gloves, you better take a few seconds to plan what you’re going to do — that includes what you’re going to eat.
Start the day of your big clean with a healthy breakfast that gives you the energy you need to push through. Plan your dinner and don’t be afraid to treat yourself with an easy slow cooker option or a tasty takeout treat. Make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand throughout the day too, because you’re going to work up an appetite.
Don’t let yourself get interrupted by the temptation of food. Take a few quiet minutes to make a plan of attack (and eating) and things will go that much smoother.
3. Time yourself.
When you’re planning your approach to clearing out your spaces, set yourself some time limits and stick to them.
Decide how long you want to spend in each room and make sure to leave yourself plenty of time as a buffer (after all, things always take longer than we think they will.) Make sure your timer is visible or audible and really commit to keeping track of time.
When you give yourself a goal, you give yourself a challenge. This makes the cleaning process a bit more like a game than a slog, and makes the whole thing more enjoyable overall.
Keep on track and don’t spend all day in one room. Think you can clear out the living room in 45 minutes? Do it in 45 minutes.
The Attack: Clear-Out Your Home in 24 Hours
Once you’ve got some general ideas of what’s ahead and how you’re going to attack it, it’s time to lead the charge.
1. Start with the Laundry
Before you dig into the nitty-gritty, kickstart your spring cleaning binge by gathering up the dirty laundry in every room of your home.
Laundry is one of those things that works while we’re working. When we start things off with our laundry, we’re actually supercharging our cleaning routine and maximizing our spring cleaning efficiency.
Bedding, slipcovers, throws, pillow covers, shower curtains, bath mats and rugs are all candidates for this treatment and all things that need to be washed regularly. Throw them in the washer for a hands-free clean up that makes the most out of your clear out window.
2. Work from front to back.
When you’re tackling a big spring cleaning project, try starting with a front to back mentality.
After throwing in the laundry, kick off your cleaning frenzy by paying some attention to your main doorway, porch or entry way. Dust out cobwebs and wipe down the doorbell. Make sure the mailbox is looking snazzy and the porch lights are working and ready to rock and roll.
3. Tackle the bathroom.
If you’re like me, the bathroom might be your least favorite room to clean. That’s what makes it a great candidate to tackle early.
Start your indoor purge with the bathroom, getting it off the list before you even think about common spaces or rooms like the bedroom and kitchen.
When you do the worst thing first, everything else seems easy. Use products that work at dirt without any scrubbing. Baking soda and water can go a long way for removing stubborn stains and cleaning things like toilet rims.
For especially dirty toilet bowels, drop in an antacid tablet or two to help clean and disinfect. If mineral deposits on the showerhead are proving to be a problem, try using a plastic bag full of vinegar wrapped around the attachment and secured with a rubber band.
Scrub hard and rely on old-time favorites like baking soda to remove everything from bathtub grime to that funky mirror grit. Toss expired medications, ointments and makeup and remember to pay attentions to drains and sink.
If you make a plan of attack and stick to it, you can tackle your bathroom in 30 minutes or less.
4. Move to the bedroom.
Tackle the bedroom in the middle of your spring cleaning routine before you get the temptation to procrastinate or take a nap. Your bed sheets should already be in the washer, but there’s still plenty to do. Pay attention to the details here and make sure you have a general plan of attack before you ever enter the door.
Circle around the bedroom first and make a list of any other things you need to take care of, thinking from top to bottom. Rollback old pillowcases to clean ceiling fan blades, avoid moving the bedroom furniture and make sure you do a thorough job of vacuuming, really getting into all those places you normally ignore.
Sprinkle baking soda over stripped mattresses to remove bad odors and don’t forget to flip mattresses or rotate them regularly for their longevity and yours.
If you have a closet that is bursting, clear it out quickly, separating things into 2 piles: keep and don’t keep. Set yourself a strict (and short) time limit to do this and stick to it.
5. Time to freshen the living room.
Once you’ve gone through the bedroom and given it a quick clean, head to the living room for a lively little freshen up.
Use your lint roller to dust lampshades and remove pet fur from large furniture that can’t be washed. Hit commonly missed spots and don’t be afraid to detail clean with q-tips which are great for getting into crevices and cleaning those hard-to-reach spaces.
User microfiber cloths to remove fingerprints and use vinegar to goop-down gunky baseboards. Dryer sheets are a great way to pet-hair proof your baseboards and moldings, so don’t avoid getting on your hands and knees to make a difference in your home living space.
Clean large upholstered pieces by removing cushions and using a vacuum tool, while you can utilize the power of coconut oil to get wood pieces shining again. To keep couch crevices cleaner going forward, tuck a sheet beneath your couch cushions and enjoy a crumb-catcher hack that will shave minutes off your cleaning time.
6. Do the dining room dance.
If you have a frequently-used dining room, take some time here to make sure that things are really detailed and clean, so that you can save yourself time later.
Wipe down walls with warm water and white vinegar and make sure that you clean tables and chairs as well. Scrub the underside of seats and make sure the relevant spring-themed tablecloths and place mats are ready to go.
7. The dreaded kitchen.
After the bathroom, the kitchen is my second most-dreaded cleaning mountain to tackle. Here, it’s all about the top down strategy and having a plan of attack. Once the dining room is settled, move to the kitchen but have a strategy and have a time limit.
Start by cleaning kitchen cabinet handles and doors. These items can get coated in layers of grease, which is not only nasty but also gross when you consider that it can attract bugs and other pests into your kitchen.
Wipe down handles and doors with cleaning spray and polish any wood features with coconut oil or a store-bought speciality polish. From there, move on to the freezer. Scour the walls after removing freezer-burned or spoiled food. Remember to rinse the rubber gasket on the refrigerator door and deep clean oven vents with boiling water, dish soap and baking soda.
Don’t forget to pay attention to other grease-attracting spots like backsplash and use expired gift cards to scrape away caked-on food and grime. If food build-up in the microwave is really proving to be a challenge , microwave a bowl of water for a couple of minutes and watch the goop fade away.
8. Close out with a touch of spring.
Bedroom tackled and bathrooms sparkling clean, it’s time to round out your spring cleaning binge by adding a touch of spring to your space.
Get rid of those fall and winter items and transition into a spring state of being by putting a new stamp on that hall closet. Switch out heavy coats for lighter options and store-away those beanies and scarves in favor of the sunglasses and stylish caps. Likewise, you can get your garage whipped into a spring-like state by replacing the snow blowers and ice scrapers for the sports equipment and beach toys you plan on using in your spring and summer escapades.
A few little tweaks here and there will not only add some color and excitement to your space, it will get you looking forward to the warmer months ahead with excitement and anticipation.
Bonus: A few tips from the pros.
Total cleaning and organizing novice? All of the above basically sound like latin to you? Here’s a few tips from the pros over at Molly Maid:
When it comes to dusting: Go left to right, top to bottom.
Use microfiber clothes if your home is in need of some serious dusting. This will not only lower allergens, but also help you to improve the quality of the air in your house.
If your home has slatted blinds, use the string to close them and dust one way. That direction completed, turn them the other way and then repeat. Focus on the tops of doors, ceiling fans and lights; make sure you pay especial attention to electronics and if you’re a knick-knack collector dust those items too.
For items with glass and frames (think photos, tv’s and computers), use glass cleaner on a cotton cloth or microfiber in order to avoid some seriously nightmare streaking. Dampened cloths attached to the ends of mops and brooms work wonders if you’re looking to remove cobwebs on top of your dusting routine.
Clutter first, cleaning second.
Pick up the clutter before you dig into the cleaning.
Turn on that rockin’ playlist and move from room to room, picking up the simple clutter that is easy to put away without too much scrutinizing. Books, newspapers, DVDs, kid’s toys and magazines are the perfect candidate for this, and the whole process makes the actual cleaning that much easier.
As you move through the rooms, turn off lightbulbs and ceiling fans and prep your house for dusting if you haven’t done it already. As you collect your clutter, consider whether its something worth keeping or throwing away.
Make sure your bag is empty or the compartment is clear before you even turn it on. If you need attachments, make sure you have them ahead of time and make sure they’re free of clogs or malfunctions.
Vacuum every floor in your house and vacuum your upholstered furniture as well. If you’re really digging in, move furniture and make sure to vacuum beneath it, taking time to take care of any items you find like missing socks, favorite pens and pocket change.
Putting it all together…
The days are getting longer and the afternoons are getting warmer and that means it’s time to get your house ready for the spring and summer months ahead.
Get rid of the winter blues and refresh your living spaces with a spring clean that makes the most out of your limited schedule.
Clean your home from top to bottom in 24 hours by taking some time to come up with a plan of attack that’s based on concrete strategy. Adopt a front-to-rear, top-down method of thinking and clean your house that way, moving from the front porch and entry way to the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the dining room and beyond.
By being systematic and smart about the way you clean your home, you can have it sparkling and ready for spring in no time. Stop dawdling and dig in. Your home and your family will thank you.
Organizing always seems like a long game, and in a lot of ways it is. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t get your home (and your life) organized quickly. By using these simple tricks, habits and routines, you’ll find your home and your day organized in no time.