You’ve read the countless spring cleaning checklists that tell you to mop, dust, and tidy. You know the chores that must be done on a seasonal basis. What these articles don’t tell you is how to make spring cleaning easier and simplify the process.
If you’re like many of my clients, you find yourself overwhelmed by a lengthy to-do list each spring. It’s not deciding what needs to be done that’s the problem— it’s figuring out how to achieve it all before you collapse from exhaustion!
This is where learning to simplify spring cleaning can be a game changer.
When you’re armed with the right tips and tricks, you can take the pain out of spring cleaning and get more done in less time. Sounds great, right?
Let’s take a closer look at the strategies you can use to keep spring cleaning simple.
7 Tips for Simplifying Your Spring Cleaning Routine
1. Take It One Room at a Time
It’s impossible to enjoy simplified spring cleaning if you’re trying to tackle everything at once. It’s always better to declutter and tidy a single room well than to get half-way through multiple spaces in your home. Pick one area to organize and clean, and then commit to seeing it through to completion before moving onto the next.
Why? Because focusing on one thing allows you to give your complete attention to the task at hand, eliminating distractions and making the work more manageable. Remember, overwhelm is often the result of too many conflicting priorities.
2. Prioritize Pain Points
Speaking of priorities, I highly encourage starting with the areas of your home that have become the most dysfunctional. These areas will provide the greatest payoff in terms of stress relief and improved quality of life.
Before you begin your annual deep clean, make a list of specific problem areas in your home, whether it’s an entire room (entryway, laundry room, garage, etc) or a particular spot within a room (master bedroom closet, pantry, home office filing cabinets, etc). Then place these areas at the top of your to-do list.
3. Get Clutter Out in the Open
It’s difficult to simplify spring cleaning if you can’t visibly see the items you need to organize or clean. We tend to tuck toys, seasonal clothing, and other household items away, where they’re forgotten and left in disarray. This is why I recommend taking out all the clutter in a particular space and spreading it out on the floor or another flat surface where it can be seen and sorted through. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at just how much stuff has been hiding in the nooks and crannies of your home!
When everything has been displayed on a flat surface you can then begin to sort items into one of four piles:
- Things you’ll keep
- Things you’ll donate
- Things you’ll relocate (to another area of your home)
- Things you’ll throw away
4. Give Yourself a Time Limit
Of all the tips for simplifying spring cleaning, this may be my favorite! It works so well for me and I have a feeling it’ll do the same for you. All you need to do is give yourself a specific amount of time to refresh a space in your home— and then set a timer! It’ll create a sense of urgency which, if you tend to do your best work when you’re down to the wire, can be super motivating.
In my experience, shorter time periods tend to work best, so start with a 10 or 15-minute countdown. You can always take a break afterwards and then set another timer to complete your task.
Setting a time limit isn’t about penalizing yourself if you don’t get everything done within the allotted period. It’s about making your tidying process more manageable by breaking it down into clearly-defined periods of productivity (which are separated by intervals of rest).
5. Let Go of Perfectionism
As a professional who is paid to simplify spring cleaning, let me assure you— no matter how much time you spend decluttering, organizing, and cleaning, there will always be something else to do. This is why mindset is so important.
You must set reasonable expectations for yourself and your home. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself mad trying to achieve perfection (which simply isn’t attainable).
Try setting goals regarding how you want to use or enjoy your space, like:
- I want to host family BBQs in our backyard and have enough space for people to socialize without gardening equipment or old toys getting in the way
- I want my teenage children to be able to watch movies with their friends in the basement, so our main living room can be a dedicated adult space
- I want to be able to host visitors in our guest bedroom without having to spend hours packing away my scrapbooking materials each time
By focusing on use and enjoyment, there’s less pressure to achieve your desired outcome in a specific way. Instead, you put yourself in a situation where there are multiple solutions, increasing your likelihood of success.
6. Divide and Conquer
In the spirit of putting it all out there, I’m going to say it— organized spring cleaning is a team effort. Sure, you could try and do it all alone, but it’ll probably leave you feeling tired, overwhelmed, and maybe even a little resentful.
Enlisting a few helping hands is nothing to be ashamed of. It’ll cut your cleaning time in half and allow you to get back to enjoying your space as soon as possible.
Here are a few tips for asking others to help:
- Be specific about what it is you need. (I.e. “Honey, I need you to find a storage solution for your hockey equipment.”)
- Give each task a deadline. (“I need you to fill this box with toys you want to donate. I’ll check back before dinner to make sure it’s done.”)
- Be considerate of other people’s time. (“I know you have an event tonight. Do you think it would be possible to help me tidy the yard tomorrow?”)
- Communicate your priorities calmly and respectfully. (“I really appreciate you vacuuming the living room, but we need to organize the spare room before guests arrive. Do you think we could tackle that together first?”)
- Let them know it made a difference. (“If it wasn’t for your help I wouldn’t be going to bed at a decent hour. Thank you again.”)
7. Eliminate Before Buying More
This last secret to simplify spring cleaning has to be practiced all year long, so you’ll need to hold yourself accountable. The concept is simple: Don’t bring anything new into your home until you’ve gotten rid of something old.
New pair of winter boots? Donate your old ones. Buying your little ones new board games for Christmas? Have them select a few they no longer need and give them to friends or family members to enjoy. Upgrading your furniture? List your current pieces for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
It’s a straightforward system that truly works wonders for reducing unnecessary clutter.
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