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Spring Cleaning Simplified

April 5, 2022

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April showers bring May flowers…and spring cleaning.

Now let me be clear, I never really bought into the whole spring cleaning idea until a couple years ago, when I realized that the small spaces of Boston weren’t conducive to keeping all of your items out and about all the time. I’m thinking mostly my winter and spring clothes can’t both be in my closet and drawers at the same time. Also when there is no additional storage then the closets and cabinets of your rental, you gotta learn how to systemically get rid of things. So I started spring cleaning and it has been a game changer.

My first proper break-it-down blog post about spring cleaning was in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. While I still hold fast to some of those initial principles, moving into a bigger permanent space and having a child has changed what this process has looked like. Mostly, there’s more stuff, more spaces to clean, and less time to do it.

So here’s my spring cleaning process simplified with some hacks at the end to make this process as easy for you as possible.

spring cleaning process

First off, plan a time and put it in your calendar. We tend to be quite good at honoring the events of our calendars, so make spring cleaning a date in your calendar. Doing this will not only ensure you honor the time and actually put work into it, but it will also prepare you mentally and physically (i.e. remind you to conserve energy during the week leading up to spring cleaning).

If you live with other people, make sure they know this is happening too. Invite them to be a part of it (if it’s family or communal living) and/or ensure, in a nice way, they don’t get in your way if you’re a solo cleaner.

General Home

Say it with me, “I will not be able to get to every corner of my house in the first clean“. As much as I might think I’m some kind of superhuman. It won’t happen. This one pains me to say as much as it might some of you and that’s okay. Learning our limits is good.

So, before you start tearing through random corners of your home, make a list of what you want to clean in the home and then prioritize what must get done. Everything would be nice to get done, but what must get done in order for the space to feel “cleaned.” Consider the areas you don’t normally get to in your weekly/monthly cleaning rhythms and prioritize those as they are less likely to be touched again anytime soon. For my home, it’s our windows. Poor things haven’t been cleaned in 6 months or longer?

Our planners have a weekly section labeled “focus” which makes a perfect space for making that cleaning list and prioritizing items.

Closet

My most favorite and most disliked-halfway-through-the-process space. I am of the mindset that in order to effectively and thoroughly clean out your closet, you need to see everything. So I pull everything out, sorting them into similar piles (i.e. tops, pants, jeans, etc.) and then sort out what is keep and give away. Whatever is meant to be kept, figure out if it is needed now or if you can store it away. For those items you’re giving away, put them all in a bag and place that bag by the door so you can’t forget about them (see below for a hack on this bag).

For a more detailed breakdown of cleaning out your closet, see our 2020 spring cleaning post.

Kitchen

Similar to your closet, take everything out of your fridge and freezer. Take out all the food items and wipe down the drawers and shelves. Set aside any items that are way past gone to clean those containers. Any items that are close to being done, put them in fridge spaces that are more at your forefront (i.e. on the shelf at your eye-level) so you can’t forget them. Group similar items together – produce, leftovers, cheeses, meats, breakfast items, snack items, etc.

Do the same thing with your pantry! You may not need to wipe down as many drawers or shelves, but sweeping/vacuuming up loose crumbs will automatically make the space feel better. Consolidate snack items that are basically done or just commit to eating them later that day. Maybe place them out as munchies amidst the cleaning day.

Pro tip: make a list of any food items that are close to the end of their life and try to incorporate them when you meal plan for the week ahead. Minimizing food waste for the win.

spring cleaning hacks

  • Make a playlist. It will make this process so much more enjoyable and motivating. If you’re a naturally competitive person like me, you could even race against the playlist to see how long it takes you to clean. I know, I’m an oddball. But it’s highly motivating for me.
  • For that give away bag of clothes you left at the door, set time aside on the cleaning day to drop off the bag right then! Save yourself time later for this task that can be done now when you’re in the mindset.
  • Similarly, if you are a reseller of your clothes, set time aside in your cleaning day (or in the next week) to work on reselling your clothes. This way the clothes cannot find a way back into your closet (speaking from experience).
  • As you clean up your house and find items in rooms they don’t belong in, group them up by room they do belong in and take the group of items to the room when you’re about to head there next. This saves you from the back and forth by doing it only once. For example, if my living room has a bunch of items that belong in my daughter’s room, I’ll put them all in a pile on the floor and when I’m ready to move onto her room, I’ll bring the pile with me.
  • If you have to go pick up cleaning or organizational supplies, go into whatever store with a plan. Know exactly what you’re looking for, the size of the items, etc. If you’re someone who gets easily distracted (aka me), set a timer for yourself so you know you only have a certain amount of time in the store. It’ll keep you on track and less likely to buy the “maybe I’ll find a place for this later” items.
  • Actually, that hack ^ is really just good for any shopping event of life.

spring cleaning playlist

Personally, I lean towards a blend of guilty pleasure songs or sing at the top of your lungs songs mixed with workout like music, for cleaning. I find they make the process more enjoyable and helps release any stressful energy I’m carrying while cleaning. Some of my go to faves are:

“Everytime I Touch” by Cascada

“Love on Top” by Beyonc√©

“Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston

“Confident” by Demi Lovato

“Heartbeat Song” by Kelly Clarkson

“Better When I’m Dancing'” by Meghan Trainor

What questions do you have? Any hacks you would add to this list or songs you would add to your playlist?

Pin the image below (or really any of these images) to keep these tips and hacks handy when you start the cleaning process.

With joy & gratitude,

Val

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