With the winter weather (finally!) starting to break, spring is just within our reach. That means it’s time for everyone’s favorite seasonal task: spring cleaning! And before you groan at the prospect of chores, consider this: health experts have concluded that cleaning reduces our stress and anxiety by giving us a sense of control, something we have all been looking for as of late.
Many of us have been spending much more time at home this past year, so what better time than this spring to roll up our sleeves and dig into a deep clean? But it doesn’t have to be a stressful drag. With some clever hacks, spring cleaning can actually be enjoyable…or at least more tolerable!
We’ve gathered the five best tips and hacks out there to help you on your spring cleaning journey.
The three-step method to cleaning a room
Before you start wiping down the first surface you see, you may be surprised to hear there is an optimal way to clean. Follow these three steps to ensure you aren’t creating more work for yourself!
- Go clockwise: Cleaning a room in a clockwise direction will ensure you don’t accidentally skip a section once you get in the zone.
- Clean top to bottom: This means wiping down high surfaces like ceiling fans and molding first. The last thing you want is to strip your bed and then get dust all over it!
- First dry, then wet: By going dry first to capture dust, you won’t end up having to double up on rags, since wet cleaning isn’t designed up pick up dry debris.
Buy only the basic cleaners…or make your own
Despite the infinite amount of cleaning products on the market, you only need a few basics to give your home a deep clean: an all-purpose cleaner, a glass cleaner and a disinfectant. In terms of tools, microfiber cloths, a mop, scrub brush or a vacuum and broom (depending on your floors) are widely available if you don’t already have them at home.
You can also save even more money by making your own cleaner. There are countless DIY recipes online, but we like this non-toxic all-purpose cleaner recipe from HGTV that uses items you likely have in your home already:
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of white vinegar
- Peels from 2 lemons
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
Note: This mixture needs to sit in a cool place for 10-14 days before use so the oils can infuse.
Do tasks in 10-minute blocks
Here’s the great thing about tidying up: unless you have an unplanned party being hosted at your place in the next hour, you can easily take spring cleaning at your own pace. Mental health experts agree that cleaning is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress and you don’t need to do it for very long to reap the benefits.
So, what can you do in 10 minutes? Probably more than you think! Here are just a few ideas to consider when you have 10 minutes to spare:
- Loading or unloading the dishwasher
- Running a microfiber cloth over the baseboards
- Wiping down glass surfaces in a room
- Cleaning the toilet
- Toss out some old leftovers that got pushed to the back of the fridge
- Making your bed
- Turning a load of laundry
- Cleaning away dead leaves or debris from houseplants
- Putting away items not in their proper place
- Handwashing the few dishes on the counter
So, set a timer on your phone, stovetop or home smart device and see how much you can knock out in 10 minutes!
Organize clutter by task
Whether you call it “sparking joy” or “home editing,” all you need to do is pick up a remote and you’ll find no shortage of TV shows dedicated to decluttering. And while a 40-minute program makes the process look simple, the actual act of decluttering can be daunting, especially for those who have accumulated a lot of “stuff” over time.
But there is no need to panic: the biggest hurdle to clear is knowing where to start. According to The Spruce, the best way to tackle decluttering a room is by sorting things into five task-themed bins or boxes:
- Put away
- Fix or mend
You can also bring these containers into other rooms if you find yourself on a roll or keep them in a central location in the house. When all is said and done, you will find that all your “stuff” is much more manageable with a task assigned to it.
Don’t change your habits, change your habitat
Let’s face it: keeping a house clean and organized is hard. And the fact families are spending more time at home lately doesn’t make it any easier. Sure, we can try to change our cleaning habits, but habits only stick with constant repetition, which is no easy accomplishment if you find the habit isn’t working for you.
Instead, why not meet yourself where you are and alter your environment to better fit your lifestyle? For example, you can put a hamper in the room you find yourself using the most to change clothes. Or put a small free-standing shelf in the area where your shoes get kicked off and left.
The goal here is to recognize that things might not necessarily end up where you think they should belong and that’s okay! Give yourself some grace and get creative with solutions that are the best fit for how you live.
The bottom line: When cleaning a room, make sure you go clockwise, top to bottom and dry before wet. You don’t need many supplies to have a clean house and a little DIY all-purpose cleaner can go a long way. You can get a lot done in 10 minutes and give your mental health a boost while you’re at it. Tackle clutter by dividing items into task-based containers so it is easier to manage. Finally, give yourself some grace and change your habitat to fit your habits.