It’s almost spring time, and that means you’re ready to shake off those winter doldrums with a little house cleaning and yard managing, right? If you just let out a groan, you might need a little motivation to help you get started.
“For many, performing a deep and thorough spring cleaning can often be overwhelming,” says Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade, the leading maid service company.
Luckily, there are ways to make the process a little more manageable. Follow these steps to help you kick start your spring cleaning — and feel good about it:
1. Make a list of rooms - It sounds simple, but by listing out each room of your house or apartment — including those that tend to be forgotten about, like the utility room, laundry room, garage and closets — it makes it easier to determine the tasks for each. Once you have your list, walk through each room and write down the duties that need to be taken care of. These are likely things that don’t get done on a daily basis, such as washing the windows, scrubbing the baseboards or cleaning behind furniture.
2. Divide and conquer - Cleaning takes time — especially if it’s a good, deep clean — so there’s no need to rush it. Take a look at the list you wrote and create a schedule of when you’ll do what. The key here is to be realistic. No one can properly clean an entire house in a day from floor to ceiling, and there’s no rule that says you must have it all done by a certain time. Try estimating how long each task will take you, and how long you want to spend cleaning each day. Then decide which days you’ll do what task in what room, and make a schedule.
“It's a date with yourself," says Michelle Passoff, a New York City ‘clutter consultant.’ "That means no television, no phone calls, no repairmen, no interruptions." It’s also important to schedule breaks in between tasks to avoid feeling burnt out.
3. De-clutter before cleaning - “There's something about spring that makes us want to clean, but the job can be overwhelming," says Passoff. "Especially if you've got so much clutter that it's getting in the way of what you need to clean."
One of the easiest ways to go about de-cluttering is to purchase three different plastic bins and label them “keep,” “toss,” and “donate/sell.” You might be surprised at how much that clears out clutter. When you go through your “keep” items, think about better ways of storing and organizing these items. For example, if you’ve compiled a lot of DVDs that were scattered on the ground of the kid’s play room, is there a bin or decorative basket you can store those in?
4. Download an app - There are a number of apps that you can download to help give you the motivation to tackle your spring cleaning. For example, there’s “Tody,” which allows you to designate areas in your home you’d like to clean, and how often the task should be performed. There’s also “BrightNest,” which lets you know of all the tasks, chores, upgrades and more you can do around your home. In addition, check out “Unfilth Your Habitat,” “HomeRoutines,” “EpicWin,” and “Chorma”— the latter especially if you’re dividing the spring cleaning amongst your family members.
5. Reward yourself - For each task you complete, treat yourself to something you enjoy. It could be something simple, like a glass of wine or an episode of your favorite TV show, or something even more indulgent like a new pair of shoes or a trip to the spa. When you’re cleaning, knowing that there’s a reward at the end, you’re more likely to get the job done. Plus, rewarding yourself helps keep you motivated and have more incentive to get back to work.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a more clutter free tomorrow.
This article is presented by Colonial Buick GMC in Watertown, Massachusetts.