Q: Spring is finally here. And that means it’s time for our annual spring cleaning. Unfortunately, I am the leader of the "procrasti-nation,” and never seem to get anything done in the spring, let alone any other season. Got any good tips to help get over the initial hump and make spring cleaning a little less tedious?
A: Ahhh, I love when it’s time for spring cleaning. It’s the only time of year when I actually have a valid excuse to throw out everyone else's stuff. (Winter cleaning, anyone?). And I’ve got just the tips to help you clear the clutter. After all, I consider myself a bit of a cleaning aficionado (read: neat freak), so I’d be more than happy to share you some great tips to get you started — and finished — with your cleaning this beautiful spring season.
1. Make a list of all the things you need to clean in your house. Before you even pick up that duster: Go room by room in your house and make yourself a to-do list for each place. For example, under Kitchen, you’d have: Clean out spice rack, organize junk drawer, go through old cleaning supplies, clean refrigerator. Under Office, you might have: Go through paperwork, put photos in albums, clean out office supplies drawer — you get the idea. This way, you’ll have each task clearly laid out for you, and you won’t get overwhelmed by trying to tackle an entire room at once. Got a Sunday afternoon to spare? Start in one room, and work your way down the list, crossing things off as you accomplish. Crossing off even small tasks makes you feel as if you’re really accomplishing something. (I love this tip so much that I even write down things I accomplish after I’ve already done them — just so I can cross them off. Odd? Perhaps. I like to think of it as meticulous.)
2. Take on the hardest, most daunting task first. This way, when that awful task is out of the way (such as cleaning your windows, or taking off all the mattress pads in the house and washing them), you’re more likely to tackle the less difficult tasks on your list, feeling accomplished and satisfied. This also means getting over that procrastination problem pronto — get right into it, and you’ll be more likely to complete the task than if you pushed off the dreaded deed.
3. TGK. This one’s an oldie but a goodie. When you’re going though things like clothes, shoes or toys, make three piles: To Throw out (or recycle), To Give Away, and To Keep. Every time you come across an article of clothing, do not let it leave your hands until you have definitively put it in one of these piles. No more of this, “Let me just put it on the side and I’ll figure out what to do with it later.” Once you have those piles, follow through. Put away the stuff you’re keeping, and actually drop off the stuff you’re giving away, recycling or throwing out. If you can’t get to Goodwill right now, at least put the bag in your car so it’s all ready to be dropped off. You’ll feel so much better afterward, and you won’t even remember hemming and hawing over that porcelain paperweight you got from a co-worker last Christmas.
4. Daily upkeep. Once your space is clean, spend a couple minutes each day keeping it that way. For example: Open your mail directly over the recycling bin — that way, you can put junk mail directly where it belongs. When you take off your clothes at night, take an extra 30 seconds to hang them up as opposed to throwing them on the floor. Regular upkeep is half the battle to a clean house.
Remember, spring cleaning is like doing homework. The faster you get it out of the way, the better you feel. So get to work!