It’s Springtime! Check Out These 5 Steps to Make Spring Cleaning Easy
It's starting to feel a lot like spring! It must be time for spring cleaning. Art Freedman, the founder and CEO of Max Warehouse, a one-stop shop for home and garden needs, shares his top five steps to make spring cleaning easy and efficient – including how to get buy-in from the kids.
Step 1: Get organized and have the right tools
Have a plan! Make a realistic list of what you want to accomplish and stick to it. Think big, but not too big. Before you start, make sure you have the equipment you need. Whatever is on your list of things to tackle, make a secondary list of the tools you will need to get the job done. For example, a vacuum with extra bags, cleaning products, cloths, a gassed up lawn mower, sharpened clippers for the hedges. Nothing is more distracting than having to stop everything to make a trip to get what you need. Also, consider tools that make cleaning easier and have the potential to save you time. One example is the T-FAL Power Steam Iron that handles hard and soft water equally well and doubles as a vertical steamer meaning it's easy to steam clothes without taking them off the hanger and hard-to-care-for items like drapes. Another tool worth considering is the DEEBOT DM88, a cordless vacuum that cleans floors on its own freeing you up to do other tasks and clean much faster — it can even be controlled via an app so you can vacuum the living room while you are dusting the bedrooms upstairs.
Step 2: Start with decluttering
Spring cleaning is easier if you start with getting rid of the clutter. What are the two things that contribute most to clutter? The first is not putting things in the right place — because we often don’t have a designated place for it. The second is having too much stuff.
There are four areas of the house that are typical clutter zones to tackle first:
- Kids' bedrooms
- Mudrooms or entranceways
- Dining room
- Garage or sheds
For the kids' bedrooms, see the tips below on getting the kids involved. The entryway is where everyone tends to drop things on their way to another part of the house. So go back to the plan in Step 1 and figure out where everything is going to go. If everything has a place and everyone knows where those places are, fewer things will get dropped in the middle of the room.
You can add storage items to your mudroom or entranceway to make even the smallest space more efficient. Have baskets for mittens and hats, racks for shoes and boots, hooks for bags. The garage or shed may benefit from the same treatment. Have hooks for shovels and rakes, metal storage racks with buckets for odds and ends.
As for the dining room? Make a new rule: Anyone who dumps stuff on the dining table will find it in the garbage or a bin where they need to “buy” it back.
Step 3: Get everyone involved
Kids generally do not naturally keep their items neat and orderly, but they can learn. They can learn that every toy, book, and article of clothing has a home … and that home is not the living room sofa or dining room table.
If your kids are very little, give them a visual aid. Print a picture of whatever needs to go in which box, shelf, or basket and tape it to the front of the receptacle, so they learn where everything goes. Cooperation is best achieved with a little incentive: the good stuff, like screen time or treats, are only available after cleaning up is finished. Don't be afraid to declutter your kids' stuff as well. But don't throw things right in the trash. Instead, hide toys in the basement or attic for a few weeks to see if they ask for something back that you didn't realize was special to them. If you have a very little one who wants to help, but may be getting in the way, try a pint-sized cleaning set like this one from Melissa & Doug.
Step 4: Big items get done first
The sense of achievement you’ll feel if you get a few of the big things out of the way make the rest of the smaller tasks easier.
What are the big things?
- Flipping and cleaning the mattresses. (Tip: Throw some baking soda on your mattress and leave it for a few hours before vacuuming it off. It will neutralize any odors. You can also drag it outside for some sunlight, which has the same effect, but it’s not always a practical option!)
- Steam cleaning the carpets. (Need an easy fix for dents made by heavy furniture in the carpet fibers? Put an ice cube in each dent and let it melt. When it has melted and the area is damp, take a cloth and blot the excess water and iron the area, again with a towel over top. Once the area is dry, you’ll be able to fluff up your carpet fibers so they look as good as new!)
- Emptying and cleaning out the refrigerator or freezer.
Once you finish some of these bigger chores, reorganizing the junk drawer in the kitchen won’t seem daunting at all.
Step 5: Inside and out
Don’t forget to look outside for spring cleaning! Stand on the sidewalk or in front of your house and look at your house from the outside. Does it look like you could put it on the market to sell it? No? Time to add to the list from Step 1. Is it time for a coat of fresh paint or a spray wash? Do you need to fix shutters or hanging baskets? Could trimming the bushes or raking up the leaves from last fall help? There’s always plenty to do outside. This is another great area to get the kids involved, since they will benefit from a breath of fresh air, too. No job seems quite as bad with the sun shining on you!
Do you have any spring cleaning tips to share with us?