It's Time for Spring Cleaning!

It's Time for Spring Cleaning!

It's almost Spring, which for me means get started on Spring Cleaning before the Garden beckons me... (because then I get distracted!) Let's talk about goals, strategy, and clean living in your home.  Spring Cleaning doesn't have to be overwhelming: it's a good way to catch up with yourself.

What is the purpose of Spring Cleaning? There are cultures all around the world that celebrate Spring with cleaning out the old to begin a new year.  Sounds refreshing, doesn't it?

The  ultimate GOAL of Spring Cleaning is to deep clean your home after being cooped up all Winter, and before you track in more dust and dirt during the Spring and Summer months. If you don't do this, you will just keeping building up the grime. Yuck.

Growing up, my mother did Fall AND Spring Cleaning that involved washing all the walls and windows, shampooing rugs, changing curtains and drapes, dusting - you name it, it was all cleaned and it took weeks!  

I find Spring Cleaning is best if approached in pieces and SEASONALLY; so Spring Cleaning is really one of four cleaning sessions.  Having a strategy helps to get the job done in a more manageable way, and is less time consuming.

  1. Declutter Every Season - How can you clean with too much clutter?  Select a time to do a little resorting and evaluating. I do this before Christmas, in winter before Spring cleaning, mid-summer, and before I start Fall cleaning. It's easier to do regularly in small doses than just once a year.
    • Get a box or two ready, and just pick a room that may be inefficient or feels a bit too much. Add items to the box that you aren't using anymore or hold no value.
    • Pick another room and repeat.
    • Take boxes right out of the house same day:
      • to a Donation center if items are in good shape
      • old clothes and textiles can be recycled! Try Retold Recycling or search for local sources (Buffalo has Go Recycle Buffalo now)
      • Only use the landfill as a last resort please! It's not cool.

2.  Cleaning Strategy - To accomplish goals, we need to STRATEGIZE and have measurable results, right? Cleaning is no different.  Like right now, I have a cup of Slim-T Detox, and I'm planning, making a list, and sharing my thoughts on it.  I try to break up my cleaning schedule seasonally like this:

    • SPRING
      • Walls – wash walls and base cove; clean all pictures (they get dusty!)
      • Floors – vacuum rugs and wash all floors 
      • Furniture – clean and rearrange as desired. Yes, I'm one of those people who move furniture around. It is good to do for the flooring though!
      • Windows – inside and outside; clean curtains and change them out for a fresh look. If you have drapes, you should take them to the dry cleaners every few years.
    • SUMMER:
      • Furniture – dust all furniture and apply beeswax/polish 
      • Floors – vacuum rugs and wash floors 
      • Walls – patch paint where needed 
      • Basement – clean and remove old items. Ask yourself how long has it been since you used this, or opened that box?
      • Address outside cleaning, such as the Garage
    • FALL:
      • Windows – clean inside only; clean curtains and add drapes to keep out winter drafts
      • Furniture – dust all furniture  
      • Floors – Vacuum carpets, wash floors, clean base coves 
      • Winterize – address cracks and gaps inside and outside house
      • Plants – if bring in plants from outside, wash leaves, use fresh soil or transplant as needed 
    • WINTER:
      • Furniture – dust all furniture and apply beeswax/polish; make needed repairs 
      • Floors - Vacuum carpets and wash all floors. Shampoo carpets.
      • Kitchen – clean out kitchen cabinets, clean under appliances, clean refrigerator and freezer 
      • Closets – clean out closets and go through clothes and shoes
      • Attic – clean attic and remove old items. Ask yourself again how long has it been since you used this, or opened that box?
3.  Cleaning Method: How to actually go about the cleaning process?  
  • Let's start with Cleaning Supplies. Seriously, to clean YOUR home, you do not need massive amounts of cleaning chemicals.  It's not a public place, it is your home.  Disinfection is rarely needed: simple works.
    • Rags - Don't use paper towels to clean: it's terrible for the planet and your wallet. Use rags: that old towel that has frayed edges? Cut it into four squares and use to dust your house or wash walls. Got old sheets or stained cotton t-shirts? Use them to clean your windows.
    • Make Your Own Cleaner - Chopping up a lemon or peeling an orange in your kitchen? Got leftover branches from a live Christmas tree? Maybe some Spices (rosemary or thyme?) that are getting older?  Put these scraps in a Mason jar with Vinegar, let them soak for a month or so, strain and use!  Add a dash of soap for extra cleaning power.   This is great for wall cleaning in particular: Vinegar will deodorize the room, and vinegar scent will go away as it dries. It's fantastic!
    • Other Cleaners - If you want to use a store-bought cleaner, go for something greener: stay away from heavily-scented cleaners, as they can be skin and respiratory irritants. We use Simple Green and Method products sometimes, but we try to stay away from heavily-scented varieties. We do use bleach and Pine-Sol if actual disinfection is needed, but again, you shouldn't need to regularly disinfect your home. 
  • Start at the top and work your way down.  That means if you have multiple floors in your house, start at the top floors.  It also means start at the top of the room and work down. That's the way the dust will go.
    • Clean Ceiling lights and fans first
    • Wash Walls and Windows - Make sure to clean the window screens and baseboards too!  If you have Window Blinds, make sure that you wash those too.
    • Move and Clean Furniture: Dust somehow gets under the couch, and behind the TV. Wow, check out the baseboard behind the dresser!
    • Clean Floors - I prefer to shampoo rugs when the heat or air conditioner is on so that they dry fast.
    • Hang up Clean Curtains
    • Arrange items in room the to make sense, be efficient, and pleasing to the eye. This is your home: make it comfortable!

Now that you have finished cleaning, enjoy your nice clean home! 

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