I’m not sure how “Spring cleaning” became a thing. Winter cleaning makes more sense to me since we’re stuck in our home. Maybe that’s why Spring cleaning came about- the house got dirty from everyone being cooped up inside all winter?? No matter the reason, we find ourselves cleaning once the weather starts to warm up outside.
Spring cleaning will obviously become easier as you downsize, less stuff = less to clean & organize. For several years I actually cleaned people’s homes as a side job. I loved it and would have continued had it not been a tough job to bring a kid along to. I hope these tips will help you simplify your Spring Cleaning!
#1- Get the whole family involved. Even your littles. You can wear baby in a carrier (I loved my Lillebaby) and enlist your 2+-year-olds to help. This not only gives you a bit of relief but helps the kids feel ownership & pride over their belongings and the home. You can find lists online of age-appropriate cleaning tasks. Yes, you might have to go back and re-clean some of their work. However, you’ll teach them an important lesson, involve them & keep them occupied!
#2- Fun tunes. Nothing makes a dull task better than good music. Crank it up and dance while you clean.
#3- A plan! For spring cleaning, and every day, having a plan is the key to simplifying. Sounds oxymoronic that you’d need to put forth extra effort to simplify, doesn’t it? However, having a plan helps organize your thoughts, timeline, and goals. I love The Confident Mom’s Weekly Household Planner. I used this for years until we decided to go tiny. She includes daily cleaning tasks, adds in special considerations for upcoming holidays & seasons, and includes things people don’t think to clean (the remote, coffee pot & magazine pile, for example). This planner kept me sane and kept my house clean for many years. I often had friends remark how impressed they were with how well I kept up my cleaning- it was all thanks to this planner! You could also make your own cleaning plan. The key is to stick to it no matter what!
#4- Use cleaner cleaners. Many commercially available cleaners contain chemicals, toxins, and carcinogens. Try making your own using things like baking soda, salt, vinegar, castile soap, essential oils and pure water. You can find lots of recipes online- don’t mix vinegar and castile soap (many recipes suggest doing this. Check out this post from Lisa Bronner on why) or check out recommended products from the Environmental Working Group (I usually make my own, for store-bought I like the Boulder brand). Also remember, germs are OK! Antibacterial cleaners aren’t necessary unless there is raw chicken or something on the counter. Four-Thieves type cleaners are ok for occasional use during sickness or major bacteria but they don’t need to be used all the time. We don’t need to kill all the things- that weakens the immune system over time. We’re looking for a clean home, not a hospital grade sanitized home (that’s more likely to land you in the hospital from bacteria resistance!)
#5- Clean dry to wet. What this means is you want to do your dusting, sweeping, crumb clearing and other “dry” tasks first. Even wiping counters down with a dry cloth or dust mit before spraying helps the cleaner work much better. Save the vacuuming for last (even though it’s “dry”) See the next tip for why 🙂
#6- Clean top to bottom. Start at the top of the room- ceiling, fans, tops of cabinets, picture frames, etc and work your way down. This way you’re not knocking dirt, dust, crumbs, etc. on to an already clean surface. I even apply this to cleaning in my kitchen & bathroom. Always start at the top.
#7- Let the cleaners work for you. Spray your cleaning product and let it sit for 5+ minutes. Be it a commercial product or homemade, this will help a ton. It will loosen the dirt and making scrubbing easier (or not needed at all!) Do you use microfiber clothes? You can lay the wet cloth down on the surface and let it sit for a bit before wiping. I usually spray, do my “dry cleaning” for my next area & then return to wipe down the spray.
#8- Hot water is your friend. I have tackled some seriously icky things with hot (usually just below boiling) water either alone or with a bit of baking soda to scrub. Nasty sink? Plug it up & fill with hot water and a dash of soap- after the water cools, drain & watch it shine. Soap scum in the shower? Pour hot water on it and let it melt away. Ring around the bathtub? Mix hot water with baking soda and scrub it gently with a cleaning brush. Hot water works wonders.
#9- Save your floors for last. In keeping with the “top to bottom” idea, clean your floors last. Not only does this prevent you from walking all over freshly mopped floors, it also means you can knock out all the mopping & vacuuming once your other tasks are done.
#10- Change your habits. Once your house is squeaky clean, change habits to keep it that way! Tips from our 40 day journey like the “timer tidy,” wiping down kitchen counters nightly, “a place for everything & everything in its place” and more which you’ll learn in the coming weeks will help you keep your home clean & pretty!
Here’s to a fresh & clean home!