Spring Cleaning 101: A Game Plan For A Fresh Home

May 02, 2018 Allison Hess

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It’s springtime, and that means it’s also spring cleaning time. Did you know that it’s natural to want to do spring cleaning in your home? 

Over the winter, we are biologically programmed to hoard in our own form of “hibernation.” Think of how bears collect food during the fall to save for the winter hibernation season. Humans do the same with our items. We are psychologically programmed to hold on to items in the winter because we want to create a warm and comforting “nest.”

But when the spring comes and the air opens up, we’re ready to purge everything we saved. We look around at our winter nest, feeling cluttered and overwhelmed.

Our bodies are also affected by the changing season. Leftover winter dust and springtime allergens depress our immune systems and make us more susceptible to colds and sniffles. Spring cleaning your home helps you purge the winter blues and gunk that can make your home cluttered and unhealthy.

But spring cleaning can feel like an overwhelming process. So how can you approach spring cleaning with an easy and healthy game plan?

Below are our tips for moving through the spring cleaning process quickly and efficiently.

Spring Cleaning 101: A Game Plan For A Fresh Home

1. Open the windows.

We like to start every cleaning process by opening the windows. This introduces fresh air into the home, which can instantly elevate mood and reduce stress. The “smell of spring” can also encourage your brain’s natural urge to purge.

However, you may not want to open your windows if you don’t have a screen, though. You want to keep a barrier between the outdoors and indoors so you don’t invite pollen, allergens, or even birds into your home.

2. Analyze each room.

Take a notebook and walk through each room in your house. Make a list of everything that needs to get done—big and small. This can include small tasks like “take out trash” and “pick up shoes” or larger tasks like “shampoo carpet” and “dry clean curtains.”

We recommend focusing especially on junk drawers, medicine cabinets, closets, and storage areas. Don’t forget to include your outdoor spaces as well.

This kind of analysis can help you keep track of everything that needs to get done during your spring cleaning. It will also keep your productivity high; research shows that you’re more likely to stay motivated when you check items off your to-do list. You get the momentum of accomplishment, which pushes you to accomplish even more—until the entire house is sparkling clean.

When analyzing each area, consider why the mess is happening. What is the reason for the clutter? For example, if there are shoes all over your laundry room, you may need to get a shoe rack. If your wallpaper is cracking, you may want a humidifier in that room. If your son has clothes all over his bedroom floor, he may need a hamper in his bedroom (or a conversation about cleanliness).

This helps you implement new organizational systems that can de-clutter your space and make future cleanings easier.

This process allows you to prepare for each room with the appropriate equipment, tools, and manpower. You should also create a schedule based on how many tasks you’ll need to accomplish. 

3. Involve your family.

After making a cleaning schedule, you can assign tasks to members in your family. This can help speed up the cleaning process by getting all hands on deck. It can also be a family fun activity if you blast some music and dance through the house together!

You should give kids the responsibility of their bedrooms. This gives them control over their own space so they feel they are purging their own “lives.” This helps teach responsibility and cleaning skills, while also giving your kids the opportunity to go through the mental de-cluttering that accompanies cleaning the physical space.

Pro-tip: Most kids are reluctant to get rid of their stuff. If you want to put them in the de-cluttering mindset, say, “Get rid of anything you’re too old for.” No pre-teens or teens want to feel like they’re holding on to “baby” clothes or knick-knacks.

Spring Cleaning 101: A Game Plan For A Fresh Home

4. De-clutter.

Before you can even start cleaning, you need to de-clutter the area. Otherwise, you end up simply moving the mess around as opposed to attacking the root of the problem.

There are four categories of de-cluttering: trash, give away/sell, storage, and keep. Create clearly marked piles or bags for each category. (You don’t want to accidentally give away the keep bag.)

Be sure that you remove every item from the closets or shelves. Removing them entirely and placing in piles helps you see how much you’re actually keeping versus getting rid of. This can help you discard items at a greater rate for a better de-cluttering experience. Plus, you’ll empty out the closets and shelves so you can clean them before putting the items back in.

Trash

“Trash” is anything that you don’t need but can’t donate or sell. These are usually damaged, broken, or “intimate’ items.

Keep in mind, though, that some companies will actually buy “trash” clothes to make rags out of the fabric or old toys to reuse the plastic. Do a bit of research before throwing out piles of trash, which is bad for the environment—and for your wallet!

Give away & sell

“Give away” and “sell” items should be the biggest pile. Anything that you haven’t used in the past year should leave the house.

You can be generous and give away the items. This is the easier option, and it gives back to the community during your spring cleaning. You’ll feel even better about your de-cluttering and yourself. Plus, you may be able to take a tax deduction if you get a receipt.

You can also make extra cash by selling your items. This takes a little bit more work, but it can be fruitful if you have unworn or designer clothing and accessories. You can set up a garage sale or sell on a variety of apps, like LetGo, OfferUp, eBay, and even Facebook Marketplace. You can also find specialty selling apps, like Poshmark for designer clothes and accessories.

Storage

Anything you can’t part with but don’t need on a regular basis should go into storage. You can keep storage in your basement, attic, or separate storage unit. You may also have a separate “seasonal” closet, where you can store your winter clothes in the summer and vice versa.

You should store any items that have immense sentimental value or those that you won’t need to use until the following season.

If something has an emotional attachment, but you don’t really need it, consider taking a picture of it. This will help you keep the memory without taking up space. You could also consider turning the item into a decorative display.

We’ll go through the specifics of storage below.

Keep

Anything that you use frequently or will use in the upcoming season you’ll want to put in the “keep” pile. Don’t return the items to its spot in your closet just yet, because you’ll want to clean out the closet and drawers before putting the items back. Put these a “keep” area for the time being.

Remember, “I might need this” means you don’t need it. Get rid of all your “mights.”

Spring Cleaning 101: A Game Plan For A Fresh Home

5. Store your items.

There’s an art to storing your items. You’ll want to store those items that you can’t part with but don’t need on a regular basis.

Below are our top storage tips.

  1. Clean all items before storing. Dust off items with a microfiber cloth to pick up any gunk. Get your clothes and fabrics dry-cleaned. You want your items completely clean before going into storage.
  1. We like using plastic storage containers. These are best for avoiding dust, pests, and water damage. You can also stack plastic boxes without worrying about harming items inside. (Always stack with the heaviest box on the bottom and lightest box on top.) Cardboard can work for temporary storage in your closet, but these tend to attract bugs.
  1. Fold your items. People often make the mistake of hanging items to avoid wrinkles. However, hanging your items can actually cause your clothes to stretch out—thanks, gravity! Instead, fold your items gently. Stack them in loose piles, which helps circulate the air to allow the fabrics to breathe.
  1. Don’t use mothballs. These can be toxic to children and pets.
  1. Store in clean, cool, dark, and dry places. Avoid high temperatures, direct sunlight, and moisture-prone areas.
  1. Check on your storage areas regularly. This helps you avoid “disaster” by keeping an eye on potential problems before they worsen.

6. Clean.

Now it’s time to clean! Check out some of our HomeRev resources for the greatest cleaning tips and tricks:

Conclusion

Optimize on the spring “urge to purge.” The changing seasons is a great opportunity to make some money, do some good, and create a cleaner and healthier home. 

What are your spring-cleaning tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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