When I walked outside earlier, I heard an interesting sound. It was…dripping. Caused by melting snow! I could almost smell spring in the air…
It’s been a brutally cold, snowy winter. We’ve been cooped up, and we’ve been living in Crazy Town some days. But it’s almost spring, so close…and before long the windows will be open, the hint of warmth will come, the snow will disappear, and it will be time for playing outside. And planting gardens. And spring cleaning!
I don’t know about you, but I’m actually looking forward to spring cleaning. When I walk into my clean and uncluttered home, I feel calm and happy. When I walk through it when there are toys and papers scattered all over the unswept floor, I can feel my chest tightening — I’m angry and unhappy. I need that lack of clutter! It helps reduce some of the stress and anxiety that is so common in this world.
What better time to unclutter than spring?
And while we’re uncluttering, we’ll be scrubbing down the house. Wiping down walls, baseboards, and windows, getting rid of all the junk that’s accumulated in the winter months.
In honor of “almost spring,” I’m giving you 9 tips today for a safe and organized spring cleaning.
Tip #1: More Clutter Before Less Is Okay
When it comes to cleaning, the “shove it under your bed and pretend it’s clean” method isn’t a great way to start your spring cleaning. This means, it’s better to allow more clutter at first – by emptying out drawers, removing piles from surfaces, and so on — so it’s all out and off. Then you can take the time to sort through things properly and put away what you want to keep.
Hey, if you’re going to do the job, do it right. 🙂 (I have to tell myself all the time it’s okay to have a mess while I’m in the middle of sorting and organizing!)
Tip #2: Donate, Donate, Donate
How much of what you have do you actually need? Anything that isn’t truly necessary should go! Create piles of extra clothing, household items, blankets, or anything else that is unnecessary, and go donate it. Look for a Good Will, Volunteers of America, thrift store, or Salvation Army near you. Some will even have trucks come around to pick up bags so that you don’t have to go anywhere! It’s much better to donate than continue to store things you won’t use.
Tip #3: Everything Must Have a Home
Not sure if you should keep it, donate it, or trash it? See if you can find a home for it (that means — a place in your home that it can stay and not be clutter). If it doesn’t have a home, you probably don’t really need it. And if you do, it needs to find a home so maybe something else needs to go. Items without homes are just waiting to become clutter!
I teach this to my kids, too. All their toys must have a home. Those that do not – usually they end up left on the floor repeatedly – are subject to being taken and put away for a while to see how much it is needed.
Tip #4: One Area At a Time
Spring cleaning a home is a big job — especially if you have kids around who like to “help.” Don’t kill yourself trying to get it all done at once. Don’t pull apart the entire house, and then start trying to clean up. You will pull your hair out.
Instead, focus on one room or one small area at a time. Today, clean off the top of your dresser or another surface in your room. Tomorrow, clean out your closet. The next day, clean out your kids’ closet. Then the pantry. And so on, until it’s done! One area at a time means that you feel accomplished, and the job actually gets finished…instead of feeling like there is mess, mess, mess in every direction. Sometimes, the progress is so hard to see if it is spread too thin, and then the important feeling of satisfaction isn’t there to encourage you!
If you would like more tips and printable cleaning list sheets, check out Earthley’s Clean Home Project Guide.
Tip #5: Clean Everything, Safely
Once the organization is taken care of, it’s time to actually clean your home. But do you want to fill that space with chemical concoctions that give you a headache? Or, do you want to spend a bunch of money on a bunch of different “green” cleaners? I don’t think so. I don’t either.
That is why I made a safe, all natural home care line to use: laundry detergent, dish detergent, dish soap bar, cleaning paste, all purpose spray, and concentrated cleaning spray. You can check them out here!
Tip #6: Air It Out
Doesn’t the air smell so wonderful in the spring? Homes tend to smell stale or even musty after having the windows closed for so long. Open those windows! While you’re at it, use an essential oil diffuser (be sure to use essential oils that are safe around children and pets) or boil some lavender or lemon peels on the stove to help scent the air naturally and clean it up more. I like to use Morning Burst EO blend with citrus and neroli during the day for a fresh, relaxing scent. In the winter, I like cinnamon and cloves. Any citrus peels or dry spices make a great scent when boiled.
Tip #7: Wash the Big Stuff
You know the curtains, bedspreads, rugs, and other stuff that doesn’t get washed very often? It’s time to wash it! Gather up anything that you haven’t washed in a while, and wash it now. If your washing machine isn’t big enough, take it down to the laundromat to wash. When possible, wash and then hang it out to dry — the fresh air and sun will remove any stains and will make it smell great!
Tip #8: Switch the Toys
If you have small children, it’s time to switch out their toys. Do you keep some of them put away in storage so that every few months they have “new” toys? If not, great time to start. 🙂 Switch their current toys for some of the boxes you put away (or start the process now). You could have a toy swap with a friend, too! But in general, pare down on the toys and reorganize the ones you have.
Tip #9: Organize the Clothes
If you live in a place where the seasons change (i.e. not Texas — more like Ohio!), then switching out clothes is something that you need to do twice a year. It won’t really be time for this until the end of March or April, when it’s more reliably warm, but it’s often part of “spring cleaning.”
I organize kids’ clothes by pulling out all the stuff that is too small and the wrong season, then sorting it by gender, size, and type (shirts, pants, undershirts, etc.). Clothing that won’t be worn for awhile is bundled together with masking tape and labeled with gender, size, type, and season, then put into a box and put away. Clothing that will be worn again soon (I had 3 boys in 3.5 years, so sizes mostly pass from kid to kid to kid pretty quick) I simply stick them in a bag to put in the closet.
When summer’s coming, I keep 2 – 3 pairs of long pants and 1 – 2 long sleeve shirts for cooler days, and otherwise have warmer-weather clothes. When winter’s coming, I keep a handful of t-shirts for layering or warmer days and put the rest of the summer clothes away. Not having too much clutter in the drawers really helps.
In the end, we all want to know where to look, find what we have, and know it works for us! Find your happiness – in those sparks of joy 😁
Bonus Tip: Get the kids involved with activities with this download: Learning At Home: Family Edition