Flowers are in bloom, birds are on the wing, but your home is still stuck in the winter doldrums. It’s time to do some spring cleaning!
There’s the Jewish kashering, a practice of cleaning the home to eliminate all yeast-based breads in preparation for Passover.
The Persian new year, with its tradition of “shaking the house.”
The preparation for Chinese New Year custom of Xiaonian, designed to rid the house of any negativity and lingering spirits. Take your cultural pick, but spring cleaning is a global phenomenon.
But what’s the best way of going about doing your spring cleaning? Not to worry, A Life of Balance is here to help. From understanding the scope of the cleaning you want to do, to verifying everything got done, here’s your step-by-step guide to how to spring-clean your house.
Understand the scope
First, you need to figure out exactly what “spring cleaning” means to you. Will you wash all the laundry but not clean the inside of the washer and dryer? Wipe down the baseboards but not the electrical outlets? Dust the ceiling fans but not the light bulbs?
There’s no wrong answer here. It all comes down to what you want cleaned and how much effort you’re willing to put in to get those things cleaned. If you want everything immaculate, but you’re only willing to put in an hour a day for two weeks, you may have to readjust your expectations.
Define and sequence project activities
What does “clean the light switches” mean to you? Are you dusting the light switch and plate? Wiping them down with a disinfectant wipe? Scrubbing with soap and water? Whatever you decide, that’s your definition of “clean the light switches.” It may not be the same as mine, but that’s okay. You’re cleaning to your standards, not mine.
Sequencing the project activities means putting them in the proper order. For example, you’d want to wash down the walls before washing the baseboards. Clean the bathroom counter before you wash the bathroom sinks. Scrub the shower surround before scouring the bathtub. Dust the ceiling fan before vacuuming the floor below.
Ensure the correct tools and supplies are on hand
You wouldn’t want to try and chop down a tree with a steak knife; you’d want a heavy axe or a chainsaw. You wouldn’t want to fish for Chinook salmon with a string tied to a stick; you’d use a professional rod and reel.
When it comes to spring cleaning your home, you similarly need the right tools and supplies. Window cleaner and paper towels or chamois clothes to wash your windows and mirrors. Pillowcases to dust the blades of your ceiling fans. Your preferred floor cleaner and type of mop for your hardwoods and bathroom floors.
Declutter before any cleaning begins
You wouldn’t want to cook dinner with the kids’ homework scattered across the stovetop. You don’t back your car out of the garage without making sure the driveway is clear of bikes and toys.
Find ways to declutter as much as possible before you lift so much as a wash rag. Tidy up your closet, donating clothes you don’t wear to the local charity of your choice before you go through and dust clothing that’s been hanging a while. Put all your makeup away before scrubbing your bathroom counter. Have the kids pick up all their toys before they vacuum their carpets.
Know who’s helping you
In Amish country, when a man needs a barn built, the entire community comes together to take care of the entire process, from foundation to finish, in less than a week. There’s a strong community belief in helping each other.
The Amish also know that many hands make light work. The more people you have helping you with your spring cleaning, the easier it will be for everyone involved. Then you can return the favor for your friends when they do their spring scrubbing.
Prioritize and document tasks
You’ve just finished your first day of spring cleaning. On your way to bed, you stop by the kitchen for a glass of warm milk. But instead of getting your milk, you wind up slipping on the wet floor and break your arm. You’re done cleaning for the next 3 months. What do you want to have cleaned in that one day you did have?
Do you want to have surface-level cleaned the entire house? Deep cleaned one room? Vacuumed and mopped your whole apartment? Now what do you want to get done if you have just two days? Three? That’s how you prioritize your cleaning list.
Documenting your cleaning list can be as simple as writing your prioritized list down in a notebook and crossing things off as you go, or as complicated as creating a spreadsheet with color coding and checkboxes.
Verify everything got done
You’re all done! Or are you…? Santa Claus makes his list and checks it twice; it’s time for you to do the same. You don’t want to stop short of the finish line, do you?
This is where using a checklist comes in handy. Every task is listed, and you can easily see if every task was completed or not. If not, you’ve got just a tad more work to do. If so, it’s time for a more celebratory drink than a glass of warm milk.
Whether you’re kashering your home, shaking the house for Nowruz, getting rid of any negative energy and lingering spirits in Xiaonian, or just plain spring cleaning, this seven- step method to cleaning your home will get the job done.
Use our 30-day Spring Cleaning Printable to get started on your task list.
Let me know how your spring cleaning went by commenting below. Are there things that need to be added to our checklist? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.