Our homes are the reflection of ourselves. The designs we choose, the balance of light and shade we prefer, all the pieces of the interior that surround us, up to the smallest details—all this is connected to how we feel and see ourselves. No surprise that if we introduce changes to our homes, these feelings change as well. Cleaning produces a similar effect. And spring cleaning is what we all need now that winter is giving way to spring.
The History of Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning isn’t something new, and it’s not Marie Kondo’s invention (though she did popularize tidying up, no second opinions here). In fact, it’s an old tradition with deep cultural roots.
Historically, spring cleaning was necessitated by a few factors: for one, houses were usually kept warm in winter by means of fires, which inevitably filled them with soot and dust; for another, they were kept shut during a long winter period to protect the warmth inside. Therefore, it’s only natural that fresh air and deep cleaning were a must every spring. Soot and dust had to be removed from everything (windows in the first place) to bring light into the house.
Luckily, we don’t have to use coal or wood to lit fires and keep our houses warm anymore. Yet we can still use spring cleaning to breathe a new life into our homes.
Spring Cleaning Benefits
We’d like to highlight a few benefits of a good cleaning. We strongly agree with Marie Kondo (whose bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up we do recommend as a light read) that you should get rid of everything that clutters your house—things that you no longer need or use—to become (even a tiny bit) happier. However, there are other benefits.
Reset Everything after Winter
Spring cleaning is the time you can use effectively regardless of whether you are quite particular about cleanliness or prefer to live in creative chaos. Nevertheless, this is the chance to get everything done from the extensive list you probably have. Once you’ve done it, you can even start adding new habits and pastimes.
Cross Less Popular Chores Off the List
Since such minor chores as polishing or dusting the carpets are usually either put off for later or neglected, you can include them on your spring cleaning list. Once it’s done, we guarantee you’ll feel the pleasure of a task being accomplished.
Get Rid of Everything You don’t Need
Once again, spring cleaning is the time to take a look at all your possessions and decide whether you still need all of these things. We are sure that you no longer actively use some of your old clothes, shoes, cutlery, and books in your everyday life. Which means they have to go.
When Should You Start Spring Cleaning?
When is the best time to start spring cleaning? There is no definite answer to this question. The National Cleaning Week begins each year on the fourth Sunday in March. It’s the week designed specifically to encourage people to clean their homes as well as gardens and offices. You can stick to this schedule if it suits you and if keeping up with any schedule is important to you.
However, this is not something you are bound or obliged to stick to. Besides, your spring cleaning can take place anytime when you have time, be it during the first week of spring or any free weekend you have and feel like cleaning. If you live in a colder climate where the beginning of March isn’t yet the time to open all windows ajar and enjoy the breeze, you can wait a few weeks. You can start spring cleaning when you have at least one full day or two to devote to it entirely.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
In this article, we’ve prepared a spring cleaning checklist for you. Perhaps, you’ve already planned everything on this list, but we hope that it’ll help you remember every important detail.
The first thing you need to do is to thoroughly check everything from your clothes to your bed linen. If there are clothes that are no longer a good fit, furniture that you want to replace, or any other household items you no longer use, it’s high time to give them away, donate, or sell.
Sell Your Old Books
The same goes for books. There is no need to keep the piles of books you will probably never read again when you can donate them to local charities or libraries or sell them to buyback companies. You can definitely check BooksRun; we are positive you’ll have plenty of great offers for the books you have at home. After all, selling your books will free your shelves and bring you some cash—double profit, isn’t it?
Dust and Vacuum
Once you get rid of everything you no longer consider valuable or useful, it’s time to do the actual cleaning. We suggest you start with vacuuming the entire house and dusting all the surfaces. Reach to any dirt and dust and remove cobwebs. If you have pets, this is probably what you do on a regular basis; however, you should do it even more vigorously during spring cleaning.
Organize Your Closet Neatly
Now that you have fewer clothes and more space on your shelves, you can arrange all your things beautifully. Here, the aforementioned Marie Kondo’s book may be your guide. You can also check Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, which we also recommend especially to those who are already immersed in minimalism and is eager to get another perspective.
Wash Everything Heavy
We wash our clothes regularly; however, we do the same with bed covers on a less regular basis, and some of our blankets require dry cleaners. Spring cleaning is the time when you are encouraged to attend to everything from towels to blankets.
Clean the Surfaces
An essential step in the spring cleaning process is the disinfection of all surfaces. You’ll need wipes and bleach diluted in water. Focus on countertops and bathtubs first; attend to other areas if needed.
Wipe the Floors
After vacuuming and dusting, wipe the floors to add more freshness to your house. Remember that every floor covering requires different cleaning treatments, so attend to the task with care. We also recommend cleaning your floors last after everything else is done.
Spring Cleaning Tips
Here are a few more tips that may help you tackle your spring cleaning more effectively.
- Prepare all the tools in advance. Get your vacuum cleaner ready; make sure you have cloths, paper towels, and mops. Check whether you have cleaners for every type of surface.
- Stay green. If possible, use natural cleaners instead of harsh chemicals. Remember the means that your granny may have used? Right, baking soda and vinegar are as effective as ever for cleaning.
- Use steam cleaner instead of solvents where possible.
- Use lemon. Yes, you’ve got it right—a lemon can help you out in many situations. You can remove stains from cutting boards, kitchen sink, and microwave; you can also get rid of unpleasant odors. There are millions of tips on how to use lemon for cleaning; you can easily check them online. It’s also one of the ways to stay green.
- Dust first, floors last. Start working from top to bottom so that you can vacuum and wipe the floors at the end of your cleaning session.
- Clean one room at a time. Instead of running from kitchen to bathroom to bedroom and back, move from one room to another only when you are finished with the first. By doing so, you can deep clean everything more efficiently.
- Clean every corner. Whatever you are cleaning at the moment, do it thoroughly. Do not just wipe the fridge door or the floor around it. Instead, clean all the shelves, curves, and corners. Spring cleaning is the time to wipe down every surface. Once you’re done, put the products back neatly. Now look, isn’t it a sight to behold?
- Use the dryer to freshen up drapes, curtains, and even pillows. Set them on a 15-minute “air-only” cycle and rehang right away to avoid wrinkles.
- Don’t forget about mattresses. We strongly recommend vacuuming all the mattresses in the house after you strip all the bed linen. Sanitize them with a disinfectant and even use a steamer to kill any possible pests.
- Keep the outside of your home clean. Make sure you go through the outdoor spring cleaning checklist thoroughly. Keeping your house’s exterior well-maintained will help avoid problems and costly repairs in the future.
- Delegate. Unless you live all by yourself, you can give away some of the jobs to other members of your family. Besides, cleaning together is so much fun!
The Final Thoughts
Now that you are done with the cleaning, it’s time to order pizza and relax! Take a seat on the sofa in your freshly cleaned living room and enjoy. After all, you’ve worked hard, and now your house is spotless. We encourage you to stick to this practice and repeat the cleaning (on a smaller scale) from time to time during the year. It will help you keep the house in order and reduce the amount of work to be done each spring.