Spring brings renewal; an opportunity to knock off the dust and soot that's accumulated over the past year. As a homeowner, there is no greater feeling than seeing your home refreshed after winter's hibernation, and by using the right method, you can help make cleaning easier, simpler and more efficient.
Start by identifying your problem areas, and then form a plan of attack. Having a plan will keep you focused on each area until it's done, especially if you're the kind of cleaner who starts in one room, then finds something that should go in another room only to go back and forth until you're worn out.
The key is breaking tasks down into manageable sizes. If you tell yourself to clean the kitchen, it's hard to know where to begin. Instead, focus on specific tasks for each room. List things you can work on like:
1. Organize the pantry, 2. throw out old food, and 3. polish the fixtures until they shine.
Billy's or Bridget's room:
1. Box outgrown toys and clothes for donation, 2. Clean under the bed, 3. Let Billy help and choose what to give away.
Put small tasks on your to-do list as well as big tasks like cleaning windows. Narrowing down your goals and knocking out a few little tasks will actually have a big impact on your living space and keep you motivated.
You may prefer to do the same tasks all at once, such as clean under all the beds, or shampoo all the carpets, or clean closets. When all the closets are finished, move on to another task.
How you organize your spring cleaning isn't so important as simply getting motivated to get it done. How much work you need to put in on spring cleaning depends on how much work your home needs; some homes will take 3 hours to organize, and some will take 3 weeks.
If spring cleaning seems daunting, remember that any effort you put toward it will be an improvement, and sometimes all it takes is improvement to stay motivated. Don't give up; your list will keep you aware of where you've been and what's been done. It helps to accept that your home may take more than a day, so keep the finish line in mind.
The last step in your plan is figuring out how to get rid of all that stuff you don't want or don't use anymore. If you're a packrat simply chant "one man's trash is another's treasure" over and over again to help yourself through these tough times.
Depending on what you want to get rid of there are three basic options when dealing with unwanted junk- throw it away or recycle, sell it, or give it away/donate, keeping is not an option. Check with neighbors to see if they have any needs that your stuff can fulfill, or you can collaborate on a yard sale together!
Spring cleaning is a lot of work, but as you revitalize and renew your home you'll be amazed at how making a simple list and sticking to it will improve your home's attractiveness and utility.
Anthony Stokes Pereira, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty
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