Whether or not you’ve actually done it, spring cleaning is backed up by centuries of tradition. Many cultures bring a spring cleaning period into their yearly rhythms. For all cultures, the kickoff for spring cleaning is marked by longer days and more sun.
As sunlight hours increase, our bodies produce less melatonin, helping us feel more awake after months of cozy winter slowness. We also have more daylight to accomplish tasks we’ve been putting off.
Even if spring cleaning isn’t part of your personal yearly traditions, you can start now.
With so many blogs, books, and shows promoting organization, resources with ideas are everywhere. Keep reading to learn about our favorite spring cleaning strategies.
Basic First Steps
Figure out what needs the most help
The most important step is knowing where to start. Take a walk around your house and decide what needs attention first.
If you’re a list-maker, you can write down your plan of attack. (Or you can just follow the messy vibes.) Knowing your focus makes it easier to jump in and get the work done.
You can also make a list of which days you want to accomplish certain tasks. Choosing just one room, drawer, or cupboard that you want to clean each day can make the entire process less overwhelming. The important thing is that you are moving forward!
Gather needed supplies
It’s hard to clean when you don’t have what you need.
Make sure any cleaning tools or chemicals you need are in an easy-to-find place. It can be helpful to have a caddy or bucket that you can bring from room to room.
Make sure you have what you need, but don’t go overboard. It’s easy to turn a need for supplies into a shopping trip or a reason to procrastinate.
Don’t fall into that trap!
If you don’t have what you need to deep clean today, you don’t have to wait to get started. You can still put items away or, better yet, find items to get rid of.
Set a timer
Most of us don’t have the time or the desire to go on a cleaning rampage. We have limited time and many responsibilities. (But if you’re a person who works well by focusing and cleaning all day, more power to you!)
For the rest of us, setting a timer can be an effective way to get your spring cleaning done, a little bit at a time. Choose an area to clean and a set amount of time (we suggest starting with just 15-20 minutes). Get your timer going and then work hard until it goes off.
Go back to the same area each day with your same timer strategy until it’s clean. Only then is it time to move on to the next part of your home.
Bit by bit, the mess will disappear.
Having a clean home is its own reward, but building some kind of treat into the process always helps. Here are some ways to treat yourself:
- Make the actual cleaning process more enjoyable by creating a cleaning playlist or listening to an audiobook.
- Enjoy a favorite activity once you’ve done your cleaning for the day—watching a show, going for a walk, playing a game, or going out to eat with a friend are all great motivators.
- Keep a favorite treat on hand. Once you’ve finished your cleaning, you get that piece of chocolate (or cup of coffee, or cookie, or large soda—whatever motivates you!).
Just be cautious about buying yourself something as a cleaning reward.
Often, having too much stuff is the reason our homes get out of hand in the first place. Try to find some other way to pat yourself on the back.
Take It Up a Notch
Scientific research shows that making our dreaded tasks into games can help us be more productive and motivated. There are many apps available that reward users for their accomplishments by letting them progress in a game or giving them a virtual gold star.
You don’t need an app to gamify your spring cleaning, however. There are dozens of analog ways to make cleaning into a fun challenge. Here are a few of our favorites.
Create Your Own Cleaning Playoffs
Brackets are everywhere in the spring, and you can use them to motivate yourself even after the March Madness finals. Download a bracket and fill it out. There are a number of ways you could apply this to spring cleaning:
- Find 16 (or 8) spaces in your home. Time yourself to see which ones you can clean the fastest. Whichever space winds up winning earns a little reward, like a new candle or picture frame.
- If you live with someone (or multiple someones—this is a great challenge to do with kids), divvy up the spaces that need to be cleaned. Whoever completes their tasks first or fastest wins.
The ultimate challenge winner gets to decide where everyone goes out for dinner or a treat.
The 4-Box Technique
Sometimes, we have so much stuff it’s hard to know where to put it or keep our spaces clean. With the 4-Box Technique, you’ll take four boxes into a room and label them:
Go through the space and categorize all the items that don’t belong in that space (the ones that do belong can be put away immediately).
The trick here is to make sure you deal with your four boxes right away. Don’t let boxes pile up in your home.
Put the stuff you’re keeping in the right place:
- Donations in your car
- Things you’re storing in the garage or attic
- The trash in the trash
The 21-Item Toss
For days when you’re overwhelmed or short on time, the 21-Item Toss is the perfect way to get a little bit of decluttering done in as little as 5 minutes.
Grab a garbage bag—or one of the plastic grocery bags so many of us stow under the sink. Walk through your home and find 21 things to throw away. You can gamify it by timing yourself.
Don’t think too hard—if you don’t use it or need it, out it goes!
Need more help?
If you feel like you can’t deal with your home situation on your own, Bio-One has your back. Our discreet team of compassionate, expert cleaners can help you with your home situation—no mess is too big.