There’s more daylight. The weather is getting slowly better. It’s that time of year again, a time that some enjoy and others dread. But both groups of people, I think, are relieved when it’s over. I’m talking, of course, about spring cleaning time. Before jumping into it, use these steps to get yourself mentally prepared.
Step One: Don’t Get Overwhelmed
I’ve know borderline hoarders in my time, as well as people who have a really hard time cleaning their home. Stuff piles up year after year, and whenever they look at the mess, they feel helpless. You don’t have to have ten years of newspapers or mounds of garage-sale items littering up your place to feel that way, though. Even if your place is immaculate, the first step for many people who are getting ready for a deep clean is to despair. Don’t do it; it will be OK.
Step Two: Set Up a Game Plan
Take a day or a weekend and schedule it just for cleaning. Then, try to get a head start on it so that you have time left over to relax. Some people are so linear with their cleaning that they create a task list (which I’ve always found helpful). Brainstorm ahead of time the items you want to clean so that you’ll know how much time to set aside.
Step Three: Delegate
Gather minions… I mean, helpers in your family or who live with you, and delegate certain tasks. If you have kids, either get them involved with chores or make sure they’re away so you’re not constantly distracted.
Step Four: Create a Cleaning Playlist and Get Yourself Pumped
Entice yourself to have fun while you work. Another part of setting up your game plan might be to create a cleaning playlist to keep yourself entertained. Plan to rock out with your vacuum cleaner!
Step Five: Make Appointments
If your cleaning plan includes getting a deep cleaning of your carpets, hiring a maid service like ours, or other types of professionals, now is the time to make appointments.
Step Six: Gather Supplies
Make sure you have all of the products you need to get the job done. Remember that you don’t necessarily need to go heavy-duty; you’ll likely have natural cleaning products lying around the house already. Do you have baking soda? How about vinegar? What about some essential oils or lemon juice? You’ll likely be able to solve most cleaning issues with those types of products.
Step Seven: Start Decluttering Now
Don’t do what a lot of my friends do, which is to slack off on cleaning because you know you’re doing your “big clean” in a few days. Don’t wait until the day you need to clean your whole house to get on top of little messes. Declutter now so you can actually clean later. Clear off tables and surfaces of unnecessary stuff, put away toys, pick up areas like that messy place beside your phone, for instance, and start going through closets. Donate your gently used furniture, clothing, purses, or other items to local NYC charities like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or The Bowery.
Step Eight: Create a System of Rewards
Plan on celebrating when you’re done, or at the very least taking multiple breaks. Arrange for food; don’t plan on cooking on top of everything else. Get pizza, and give yourself some time to relax every few hours.
Step Nine: Plan to Take it Room by Room
If your house is in a really bad way, plan to tackle each room one at a time. This is really the best way to go about it. And if it’s really, really in a bad way and if you don’t have a lot of time, schedule different days for each room. Just make sure your good work doesn’t go undone with clutter in the meantime.