Ah, spring cleaning. As much as I’d love to have one of those homes you can drop by at any time and find it clean, that is not the case. Occasionally, my husband and I will decide to invite people over for dinner just for incentive to get the house in shape! I used to be embarrassed of my lack of tidiness, but I’ve come to accept the fact that having an immaculately clean home is just not on the top of my list of priorities. However, I also know that I function better mentally and emotionally when I’m not surrounded by constant clutter.
One of my goals this year is to try to stay on top of my “chores” so I don’t end up overwhelmed! So, while it’s probably laughable to those who know me that I’m writing a post on spring cleaning tips, I want to share from a non neat-freak’s perspective!
1. Don’t get overwhelmed
When my husband and I first moved into our home almost three years ago, we quickly had one bedroom that became the “junk” room. Everything that didn’t have a place found a place in that room. On the bed, on the dresser, in a drawer, wherever. And then the door was shut and I tried not to think about it. Unfortunately for me, my memory is too good. And that room followed my thoughts constantly! I finally decided to allot one hour increments to spend in the room. I set a timer, got to work and when that hour was up, I was out of there!
Instead of trying to tackle the whole thing in a day or two (and probably sobbing in the process), I broke it up over several days and no tears were shed! And even now, when I feel that the house is starting to get out of control I’ll spend an hour at a time working on it. It’s amazing what you can get accomplished in an hour!
2. Every little bit helps
In Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, she suggests following the “one minute rule”. Basically, any task that could be done in under a minute, you tackle now. For instance, hanging up your coat once you walk in the door, or throwing your dirty clothes in the hamper. Similarly, she suggests a five minute cleanup just before you go to bed. Tidy up the living room, pick up any trash, move dishes back to the kitchen, etc. When you wake up, things won’t look so bad!
3. Find a schedule
Now I know people who do laundry on Fridays, grocery shopping on Wednesdays, and vacuuming on Saturday night (because why wouldn’t you want to spend Saturday night vacuuming?). I am no where near that organized (nor do I really care to be), but I can see where it would come in handy! Instead, I’ve found a few helpful ways to get things done on my own schedule. For instance, I really get depressed walking into the kitchen to see a sink full of dishes in the morning. I try (and often fail) to load the dishwasher at night so that I can unload it in the morning and load throughout the day as needed. And I recently found some great schedules online for tackling the “not everyday” stuff (cleaning out the medicine cabinet or junk drawer, de-cluttering kitchen cabinets, etc.)
A few helpful schedules:
- 52 Week Organized Home Challenge – This is the one I’ve been using!
- 30 Day Cleaning Challenge
- Monthly Cleaning Schedule
4. Get Started
Even if you’re totally overwhelmed by the current state of your home, it’s not going to get better until you get started! Next time you’re overwhelmed by clutter, give this a try:
- Move everything that doesn’t belong in that room into a big pile
- Start separating the big pile into smaller piles – kitchen, living room, bathroom, garage, trash, etc.
- Once you’ve moved everything into a designated pile – start distributing!
- When you take things into another room, actually put them AWAY. (Don’t just start another pile!)
That overwhelming mess just became much more manageable!
You may never have that always guest-ready home (I know I won’t!) and that’s OK! Do what you can to stay on top of the clutter and then just don’t worry about it! Or, hire some help. No shame in that! ;)
Got any tips for staying on top of the clutter and tackling spring cleaning? Share!
Originally published January 28, 2015