Since the pioneer days, the arrival of spring has meant it’s time for the overwhelming task of spring cleaning. But in the modern world, most people think they don’t have time to vacuum and dust once a week, let alone do a thorough cleaning. In fact, a University of Michigan study showed that weekly hours spent on housework since 1976 have fallen 20% among married couples, 34% among single women and 16% among single men. Whether you are single or married, male or female; approach spring cleaning with a plan and you can reap the rewards for months to come.
Cleaning Can Make You Healthier — Although it’s a different workout than you would get at the gym, cleaning is a great form of exercise (especially if you work hard). Vacuuming, scrubbing, moving from room to room are all activities that keep your body in motion. When you move you burn calories, release endorphins, and relieve stress–all contributors to leading a healthy lifestyle.
Clean Home, Clear Mind — Clutter is very distracting. When you live in a cluttered home, instead of being able to relax, your mind starts to wander to the piles of laundry and the stacks of papers and unfinished tasks. Create a home that provides a retreat from the stress of the outside world. Living in an uncluttered environment will give you a greater clarity and perspective on the world around you.
Cleaning Can Save You Money — A thorough spring cleaning may turn up a check you never cashed, the missing shoe you’ve been searching for, or the realization that you own more tape, glue, or batteries than you can use in a lifetime (you never seem to be able to find them when you need them, so you just buy more.) When you know what you have on hand, you won’t waste money buying duplicates.
AN ORGANIZED APPROACH TO SPRING CLEANING
Make a Plan/Schedule Time — Spring cleaning can be done in a few hours a day over a week, or during an entire Saturday. Decide what works for your family, lifestyle, and schedule. Block the time on your calendar and get it done.
Have the Proper Tools — Before beginning any cleaning and de-cluttering project make sure to have the following on hand: trash bags (one for trash and one for recycle), boxes for donation items, and quality cleaning tools to make the job easier on you (rubber gloves, plenty of rags, a working vacuum, and a bucket of cleaning products). By having your tools close by, you won’t waste time and get distracted from your project by having to go back and forth for the supplies you need.
Know Where To Go — A thorough cleaning inevitably results in four types of discards: trash, recycle, shred, and donate. Knowing ahead of time what to do with discarded items ensures that they leave your home and don’t linger in a corner of the garage.
- Trash — You’ll probably have more trash than your standard bins can handle. Arrange for an extra pick up through your local trash company.
- Recycle – Different cities have different rules regarding curbside and drop-off recycling. Know the rules and plan accordingly.
- Shredding — When you do a large paper purge, your home shredder usually doesn’t cut-it (pun intended:-). Find a mobile shredding company in your area; they come right to your door and shred boxes of confidential papers quickly and efficiently.
- Donations – Many donation places have limited hours for drop-off and items that they accept. Determine ahead of time where you will take your donated items or better yet, arrange a pick-up of your items for the day after you do your spring cleaning.
- Make Decisions — When you dedicate yourself to a thorough home cleaning, this is the time to be ruthless in your decision making about what to keep and what to get rid of. If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. If you no longer love it, get rid of it. If it’s meaningful to you and is meant to be displayed, find a place to display it, or get rid of it.
Involve Others — Big jobs are always more enjoyable when you have help. Get your entire family involved and make a game of it. See who can collect the most trash or largest number of donation items. Pick a task and play “beat the clock” to get it done. Offer rewards for a job well done by planning a relaxing evening such as a family movie night or a couple’s massage for you and your spouse.
Have Fun — Make spring cleaning more fun by listening to your favorite music. Boogie to the beat as you dash from room to room collecting trash or unwanted items. Dance like Fred Astaire as you glide your mop across the kitchen floor. It’s just like singing in the shower, you can let loose and no one is around to see you.
Be Practical — You may be well intentioned to make every room in your house sparkle, but cleaning is hard work and you don’t want to burn out after getting the job only half done. Take breaks every couple of hours and try to finish one area before moving onto the next.
When your spring cleaning project is complete, breathe in and enjoy the clean air. You worked hard and now you get to enjoy the benefits of a job well done.