After being cooped up most of the winter months, many of us are ready to shed the clutter and revitalize our homes with a deep spring-cleaning. What starts off with good intentions can often build into a mountain of frustration, especially for parents who get one area clean just in time for the kiddos to undo all your progress in a previous area. The process can get overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. Here are some spring-cleaning and de-cluttering tips from local business owners.
Smaller Feats Lead to Larger Successes
Looking at everything that needs to be done can be daunting. Instead, Sarah Watson, owner of The Clutter Cure, says to start in the room that has the most clutter and take a few hours a day to organize.
“For example, if your kids rooms are over-run with toys, take one to two hours and sort through what they play with and what they don’t,” she says. “Group toys together, and make piles of items to donate, trash and sell. If your neighborhood does an annual garage/yard sale in the spring, make it a goal to have everything sorted a couple weeks in advance so all your “sell” items are ready to go.”
Let the Light Shine — And Find the Grime!
“We are all ready for that sunshine to stream in after a long dreary winter,” Watson says.
While the sunshine can help lighten the mood, Heidi Hartigan, owner of Green & Chic Cleaning Services, also suggests letting nature help clean the air in your home by opening the windows (if allergy season will permit, of course).
When you take down the curtains, give the window blinds a good wipe down or vacuuming, and clean the windows, the winter dust settles, literally, and ceiling cobwebs steal the spotlight.
“As you sort through and clean the high stuff, you will knock dust down,” Watson says, so start ditching the dust by taking a broom or extension pole with a duster attachment to the ceiling corners and walls. Then, take down the glass globes from the fans and chandeliers and run them through the dishwasher without soap; let them air dry before putting them back up.
Once all the high dusting is done, it’s time to hit the tops, sides, and legs of your furniture, followed by baseboards and floors.
The Walls to Success
Walls free of grime and spots can make a room feel larger, cleaner and less cluttered.
“Put on your favorite music, mix a bowl of dish soap in water and spend a few hours wiping down those grimy places,” Watson says.
Hartigan recommends using an all-purpose spray made from vinegar and orange peels when wiping down vents and air filter covers.
“Don’t forget to wipe down the plate covers for all of your light switches as you go,” Watson says.
Practice Makes Perfect!
Take Tip #1 and apply it throughout your home. It may take some time, but it’s better than getting overwhelmed and quitting altogether!
Then, to maintain a clean home, tackle one large project every other week, like wall-wiping or stove-cleaning, Hartigan says, while Watson notes to also keep up with the smaller, more simple tasks like dusting sweeping/mopping throughout the week.
Hartigan emphasizes using natural cleaners, like essential oils for water spots and a vinegar/baking soda mix for grout, to reduce the effects that chemicals can have during concentrated cleaning times.
A Family Affair
Enlist the children — and other adults — to help with the chores, too. There are a number of chore charts and even chore apps available online to assign duties. Remember: Rewards don’t have to come in the form of an allowance, either; staying up for an extra 10 minutes past bedtime or choosing the family movie for movie night as a reward for being an exemplary chore ninja can motivate even the tiniest mess-makers that get “so sleepy” when it’s time to pick-up their rooms, take laundry to the basket or trash to the bin.
Both Watson and Hartigan recommend doing a fall deep-cleaning in addition to weekly and monthly sprucing up to lessen the chore come spring.
“To keep up with the projects throughout the year, set a goal of doing one extra project a month,” Watson says. “For example, I go through my kids toys right before Christmas, that way there’s not as much to weed out come spring. And at Christmas, you’re replacing what you’re getting rid of!”
And, of course, help is always available.
“Sometimes, letting a professional help you out is what’s best for your sanity!” Hartigan says.
While national non-profits like The Goodwill or Salvation Army can certainly make drop-off of old items easy, consider donating toys to local non-profits like Isabel’s House or Sammy’s Window, or maternity/infant items to the Pregnancy Care Center. Household items beyond the kids’ rooms can be donated to local non-profits Lifehouse Crisis Maternity Home or Harmony House.
The Clutter Cure
Visit Online: www.cluttercure.org
Email: Sarah Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Green & Chic Cleaning Services
Visit Online: facebook.com/greenchiccleaning
Email: Heidi Hartigan at email@example.com