Whether you chomp at the bit to get started or find it sheer torture, there’s no debating that the time-honored tradition of “spring cleaning” is a tonic for the home. Dig in to the deep cleaning and not only will your home look, feel and smell better. You will, too. Here are some tips for making it easier:
- Make your own rules. Who says spring cleaning has to happen in the spring, just as warm weather beckons not only for outdoor recreation but for yard chores? Maybe you want to do your spring cleaning in the winter, when it’s too cold to play outside and the outdoor chores are less demanding. Or try deep cleaning one room a month, or two rooms a season. Don’t be a slave to convention. Lives moved to a different rhythm when these notions were first made doctrine.
- Lighten the load through delegation. Yes, you’d do a better job than anyone else in the house. Do you want stuck doing it all? Make different family members responsible for some of their own contributions to accumulated household mess. Children can organize sports equipment if given some containers, and sort through clothes for items they’ve outgrown or no longer wear. They can push a broom in the garage and haul stuff to the curb. If they are old enough to have lost the sweet enthusiasm for “helping mommy and daddy” and you feel compelled to make the work pleasant for them, offer some small reward for an agreed-upon time period of work, or order in their favorite food for a treat after the work is done.
- Choose your strategy. Again, make the process work for you. Some cleaning pro’s insist on completing one room at a time, starting with the most difficult. That can be quite satisfying, to have one perfectly sparkling room in the house; it may motivate you to keep going. But you might get so obsessive with every detail in that one room that you exhaust yourself early on, and decide it’s not worth THAT much sweat. Alternately, try one CHORE at a time that is applied to every room in the house. For example, you might focus on removing every recyclable piece of paper, plastic container, old paint, and unused or broken electronic gadget in the house. Imagine! Once that is accomplished, you schedule a day where everyone cleans a closet. Another day, you wipe down all the woodwork. Another, you move the furniture and vacuum every inch of carpet as well as the draperies.
- Play music. Choose your favorite tunes and crank up the volume. Dance with the dust mop and sing over the vacuum cleaner. It passes the time more pleasantly, puts a spring in your step and burns more calories to boot.
- Schedule a date to host company. Nothing motivates more than knowing that you’ll be entertaining. Somehow the clutter and dust we turn a blind eye toward becomes blindingly obvious as the date draws near. We cast a more critical eye on our dwelling, seeing it through others’ eyes. No matter that anyone you want as a friend isn’t the kind who gives the white glove test. There’s something about having company that brings out our best housekeeping.