Growing up in Oklahoma, our winters were mild at best. We rarely had a White Christmas and we often wore shorts and t-shirts at Thanksgiving. And Spring was nearly passed over for Summer as warm temperatures heated up quickly. So “spring cleaning” happened almost year round…at least at our house.
But living in Indiana, where there are four definite season, “spring cleaning” brought on a whole new meaning. In fact, because we couldn’t drag things out year round and clean the garage out on an nice day in November, our first Spring here I was completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” we had amassed in the past year. The amount of work required in each room. The toys…oh the toys!
Over the past three Springs living here, I’ve learned a thing or two that keeps the overwhelmed feelings to a minimum. Do I still get overwhelmed when I look at everything needing to be done each Spring? Yes. But with these simple tips, it is manageable.
5 Tips for Spring Cleaning without Getting Overwhelmed
- Make a plan. I know I can be an over-planner, but making a plan on which rooms need cleaned first and a general list of what needs to be done is so helpful. I make a master list of what all needs to be done. I even take in to account which jobs will take more time and which jobs need to be done with children out of the house. Then I go through and put them in order of importance and set a date to get started.
- Start in one room. After you’ve made your list and prioritized, start in your first room and go until you’re finished. Even if that room takes more than a day, don’t move on until its finished. And when we spring clean, we not only clear out trash and old items, we also dust, sweep, mop and just get the room completely clean and smelling fresh. Don’t forget to wash windows inside (and out if you want to do that room by room), dust your ceilings and move furniture to clean under it. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it. If the thought of tackling an entire room gives you anxiety, try starting in a corner or with one cabinet. Then work your way around the room. I’ve done that many times and it works just as well.
- Make piles. We make piles in each room: keep, give, recycle/upcycle and trash. This is a quick process. Don’t dwell on each item. Sort them as quickly as possible and move on. This helps eliminate all the “nostalgia” that we can have to an item. Now, that doesn’t mean through out family heirlooms, but it does mean you don’t need to keep every. single. picture your children ever drew. Keep only those of significance – first card, first handwriting, handprints/footprints, etc. Once we’ve finished sorting, start pitching. Take out the trash before you look and see something you want to keep. Take the recycle/upcycle things to a recycle place or a consignment shop if it’s something you can earn a little cash for. Take the giveaway items to a shelter or free store (we have one in our town). Now on to those things you want to keep.
- “Everything has a place or it’s Waste!” That’s my motto. Now that you’ve gotten rid of the extras in your room, its time to find a place for what you want to keep. If it doesn’t have a place – it’s waste! Sometimes you might find things you thought you wanted to keep, but once you start putting them away they don’t fit anymore, other things are more important or they don’t have a place. So yes, another purge takes place. It’s okay. Just go with it and this time the piles should be much smaller. This works especially well when cleaning out the toys in my kids’ rooms. Speaking of toys…
- Clean out toys TWICE a year. Yes, you heard me. Two times a year is when you need to do a BIG purge of toys. We do a purge before each child’s birthday (purge their toys) and at Christmas for all of them. We make piles for them as well: Keep, Donate & Trash. We give the older ones criteria to follow as they purge. Have you played with it in the last 6 months? Last 3 months? If the answer is no and all the pieces are there and they still work, it goes in the donate pile. If not, its trash. Once we’ve sorted through toys, we make sure they have at least 5-10 toys or sets to donate to make room for new ones coming in for the upcoming occasion. Then we start putting them away with the same philosophy I use in the rest of the house – “Everything has a place or it’s Waste!” This process has really cut down on the clutter and trash in their rooms.
Don’t feel like you have to only do this type of cleaning only in the Spring. In fact, if you can do this several times a year it will make Spring Cleaning that much easier and faster. However, this has worked well for us in the Spring and then again in the Fall after a busy and full Summer and before the winter weather hits. It feels so nice to have a clean and clutter-free house.
What’s your secret for Spring Cleaning your home?
This post is part of the Marriage & Motherhood Mondays series. To see others in this series, simply click the image below.