As warmer temperatures arrive you may realize it’s spring cleaning time. But where do you start? Perhaps it feels overwhelming and daunting, or you feel unmotivated and reluctant to climb out of the cozy snuggie on the couch to face the realities of the cleaning list. Either way, here are some ideas and inspiration on how to get a jump start on your spring cleaning.
Create a Plan
Are you the kind of person who likes to clean in 30-minute sprints or spend the whole weekend in a flurry of soap, scrubbing, and bagging up donations? Brooke, a Reserve spouse, starts January first, until the first day of spring, and sets each month to tackle either purging, organizing, or deep cleaning, and goes slowly. Another spouse sets aside one day a week for a month to clean a different space and has the whole family involved.
There’s no right or wrong way, but if you go against your natural leanings, it could make your cleaning more frustrating than it needs to be. Know that the odds of finishing your house in one day are improbable. With that in mind, set reasonable cleaning goals so you feel accomplished at the end of your day, weekend, or month because you did what you set out to do. Even if it’s small, it all adds up in the end.
Gather your Supplies
Perhaps you need to clean behind shelves but don’t want to find spiders. I hear you, that’s what gloves are for. Make a list of what you need for your cleaning: paper towels, rags, gloves, cleaner, scrubbers, and trash bags are all useful. If you don’t have what you need when you require it, it can break up the momentum and make it harder to hop back in.
Start with the place you are in most often.
If the first thing you see when you walk into your home is your cluttered living room, and you feel overwhelmed every time, it may be a good idea to start there, or in the space you usually relax in. Having a clean main room has ripple effects because the motivation can spread. Jenna, a civilian, shares, “When I see my progress regularly, I feel encouraged to continue the process in other areas of my home.”
Or, start with the most cluttered place.
The space that feels the most overwhelming could be the side room that holds the boxes from four moves ago, or it could be the garage, which somehow feels like it gains a new box, bike, or a bulky item every other month. CK, an Air Force wife shares, “Decluttering one area that feels crowded is like taking a deep breath in and releasing it”
Starting with the catch-all room is a bold choice. Still, it can bring many things to their proper places before you dive into other rooms. If items do have to go back in, they’ll have a place to go, versus squeezing it in between the existing piles of stuff Tetris-style and awkwardly closing the door behind you telling yourself you’ll deal with it tomorrow.
Set the Mood
Whether this looks like blasting 90’s Spanish music, or Yacht Rock, use what works. You can buy all the supplies you need and pretend you’ve been hired to clean the house so you don’t spiral when you look at the places you struggle to clean normally. There’s no guilt in using whatever tools, tricks, or methods you need for you to feel better as you freshen up your living space.
Ask for Help
Using the tools available may also look like hiring help. Perhaps you can take care of most of the house, but scrubbing the floors or figuring out how to shampoo a rug after a long week at work feels like the last straw. You can hire someone to do your floors, bathrooms; as little or as much as you need. There’s no shame in asking for help or having a friend come over for extra accountability.
Remember that your home is where you live, not a museum. After you clean, blankets will come back out, socks will find new homes under shelves, and the dog will bury more things in the couch. Spring cleaning is an invitation; a fresh start where you can sweep out the old, open the windows to bring in the new, in order to breathe new life into your home.
Written by Aj Smit
Aj Smit is the author of the book Red Thread: Weaving an Embodied Life of Joy, speaker, glitter enthusiast, and professional weaver of Joy. She is a military spouse in S. Korea with a pup and houseplants galore. Aj has led various Red Tents, retreats, and workshops internationally over the last ten years to help others discover how to weave creativity and curiosity into their lives. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @TheJoyWeaver and TheJoyWeaver.com