Spring cleaning can be a daunting task. Breaking the work into manageable one-hour chunks turns a huge obstacle into multiple, doable jobs.
But where to begin? If you're already overwhelmed with your daily life and responsibilities, finding 60 minutes a day to tackle additional – and far more significant – cleaning is no small undertaking.
First, take a deep breath. Second, stay positive. Third, make a schedule and stick to it.
Spring is here, but you have plenty of time to deep-clean your home, and it doesn't have to stress you out in the process.
Below are practical, flexible spring-cleaning tips to help you usher a new season into your home, one hour at a time.
Spring Cleaning Tip #1: Be realistic.
If you're the kind of person who likes the idea of getting all your spring cleaning done at once so you can move on to other things, try to go a little easier on yourself.
Yes, waking up one Saturday morning and tackling the whole house from top to bottom would feel satisfying, but how realistic is it?
Your kids still need to eat and get to their activities, the dog needs to be walked, and you have regular chores to tend to like grocery shopping and laundry and meal planning. Plus, you will undoubtedly want to take a break from your daily life after yet another busy week.
Instead of putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, remember that spring cleaning doesn't have to happen in one day. Technically, you have about three months until spring turns to summer, so cut yourself some slack.
Scheduling spring-cleaning-specific jobs one hour at a time gives you the opportunity to set and achieve reasonable goals.
Spring Cleaning Tip #2: Be smart about breaking it down.
One hour at a time is a great place to start with spring cleaning because you don't have to work feverishly, but you know that keeping a steady pace is the best way to make the end goal.
But you know yourself best. One hour a day of spring cleaning may be more than you can swallow. If 30 minutes is better, make the most of that time limit.
You can get quite a lot done in just 30 minutes when you set a kitchen timer and work until the buzzer dings.
If you're going room by room, here is the best way to make it happen:
- Make a list of spring cleaning tasks that you would like to accomplish in each room, (e.g., in the kitchen: deep clean the fridge and oven and dishwasher, reorganize cabinet contents, etc.).
- Write up or print out a customized deep-cleaning house checklist — ahead of time — so you have a physical task list to keep you on track the day of the cleaning.
- Check off the items as you accomplish them. There is nothing quite so satisfying as a well-earned checkmark for a loathed household chore!
- If you finish your spring cleaning in one room before your hour is up, avoid moving to another room. Simply pat yourself on the back and call it a day, or do a few additional tasks in that room to make it extra spic and span.
If you're cleaning chore by chore, follow these quick and easy house cleaning tips:
- Identify the item or items to be cleaned, whether it's all the curtains on the first floor or the baseboards in the entire house.
- Gather your cleaning supplies in a designated area. (In fact, it's wise to store your entire stock of cleaning tools together in one place for the duration of your spring clean for easy tracking and to take inventory when supplies begin to dwindle.)
- If applicable, collect all the items to be cleaned and keep them in one area so you can tend to them in an assembly-line fashion.
There is no right or wrong way to approach your spring cleaning. Some people work better knowing one entire room is behind them. Others like to work more methodically so certain items are addressed first or last.
Know your preferences and stick to them for a streamlined spring cleaning experience.
Spring Cleaning Tip #3: Set a reasonable schedule.
The fastest way to failure when it comes to spring cleaning is to “should" yourself into believing you're not getting the job done well enough or fast enough.
Maybe your one-hour-a-day spring cleaning schedule doesn't happen every day. Perhaps you fulfill these hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only. Or maybe you only clean on Saturdays and Sundays.
Choose the deep-cleaning schedule that will actually work for your lifestyle.
By carving out time for the cleaning, instead of attempting to squeeze in several major tasks between school pick-up and soccer practice and failing, approach the task like it's a dental appointment: You may not like it, but you know it needs to be done, you set a time for it, keep that appointment, and you feel happy and good about the whole experience when it's finally over.
Spring Cleaning Tip #4: Tackle the big things first.
Reward yourself and stay motivated by taking care of the biggest items on your to-do list first.
Knowing that the largest, toughest jobs or rooms have been addressed first will help you stay positive. After all, when you've already cleaned the biggies, the list only gets smaller from there.
Consider the following:
- If the family room and kitchen are your main living areas, address these rooms at the start of your spring cleaning. Sitting down to relax or eat in these areas every day and knowing they've been thoroughly cleaned will make you feel good and ready to continue with the rest of your spring cleaning checklist.
- If you are a methodical worker, clean from the top of your house to the bottom of your house. Whether this means top floor to basement or moving from the ceiling of each room to the floor of each room is up to you. The goal is to organize your tasks in such a way that you are constantly inspired to do the next thing (which, ideally, is easier than the previous task!).
- There are probably some spring cleaning chores that make you want to curl up in a ball and disappear (washing the windows – and removing all the grilles from them first). They may not be the biggest tasks, but they are the ones you dread most. Get them out of the way as soon as possible and the rest of your spring cleaning list will feel lighter and less intimidating.
Spring Cleaning Tip #5: Outsource where necessary.
There are some spring cleaning tasks that are better left to the experts:
- Carpet cleaning
- Fireplace cleaning
- Outdoor window cleaning
Any task that requires a bit of expertise (or navigating heights) or worries you when imagining trying to manage it yourself is better off being outsourced.
Outsourcing can also apply to your family members. You don't have to carry the burden of spring cleaning solo.
Get the whole family involved and assign age-appropriate chores. You can have a spring-cleaning hour all together, or your partner and kids can tackle their assigned jobs when they fit best into their schedule.
Knowing that you don't have to do all of this deep cleaning by yourself is enough to lighten the mental load (even if you are fully aware that some support for the other spring cleaners in the household will be absolutely necessary).
Spring Cleaning Tip #6: Do your research.
Don't be afraid to look online for spring cleaning checklists and pre-made printouts that will keep you on task, and that may even remind you of some items you should be addressing but hadn't planned to.
This task can be assigned a one-hour window, too, so you don't get carried away and waste time looking for the “perfect" system. The goal, remember, is to work smarter, not harder (or longer).
It's also a good idea to do research about the best cleaning supplies for each area of your home. Since spring cleaning is, by definition, a hearty deep clean, you may be leaning toward more powerful supplies.
However, this may not be necessary in every area. Cleansing and disinfecting options are many, from heavy-duty cleansers to gentler green products.
Read the labels, be straight with yourself about how you intend to use the products, and always remember that your entire family lives in this home you're cleaning – how might they physically react to the cleaning supplies you favor?
Spring Cleaning Tip #7: Be kind to yourself.
Take care of yourself, too, during this whole process.
Remember, items that haven't been cleaned for a while have gathered dust (and sometimes other gross elements). Even if you're not the sensitive type, wearing a cleaning mask can keep any gnarly items out of your nasal passages and protect you from inhaling cleaning fumes.
Gloves keep your hands from getting raw and prevent you from directly touching anything yucky that may have taken root behind the curtains or under the couch since the last deep clean.
Spring is a time to welcome in the new, to slough off cold days and get your home ready for a fresh season.
Hopefully you'll be spending more of this season in the great outdoors, but it's always nice to have a clean and healthy place to come home to.