13 Tips for More Serene Spring Cleaning

    Dave Schoeff/flickrAt this time of year, lots of folks feel the urge to start spring cleaning -- refreshing and clearing out their home to greet the new season. However, just when the weather is (hopefully) getting nicer, you may feel trapped indoors due to all the tasks you have to take care of. How can you manage to get your spring cleaning done while staying serene?

    Here are 13 tips.

    1. Break the job down. It's all too easy to lump together 3 different categories -- actual washing and scrubbing, decluttering, and seasonal home maintenance -- under the label "spring cleaning."
      However, this can make the work ahead of you feel overwhelming.

    2. Develop a realistic spring cleaning plan for your living situation and needs. If you tend to get discouraged easily by the state of your housekeeping, look for areas of your home that you feel comfortable with and decide what works.

    3. Prioritize projects that will keep your family safe. A good place to start is by checking your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. (And, please, if you don't already have them, get them!)

    4. Reduce your carbon footprint. Clean your HVAC system and wash or replace filters. Head up to the attic and look for inadequate or loose insulation. Replace thermostat batteries and adjust their programming for the warmer season ahead. Vacuum the dust out of your dryer vent and bathroom fan to make them function more efficiently.

    5. Declutter before you start wiping and scouring. That way you will clear the playing field, as it were, and make the actual cleanup more manageable.

    6. Inventory your existing storage spaces. Are they used optimally? Are there any empty or dead spaces? (For example, the shelves in a closet may be arranged with too little vertical space between them, when what you really is need storage room for tall items. SIMPLE HACK: Remove some of the shelves to customize the closet to your requirements.)

    7. Avoid storage "solutions" that just create more clutter. Ditto to shelves, baskets, racks, and the like, which will tend to accumulate dust and grease.

    8. Hold a family (or neighborhood) garage sale as an annual event. Schedule it for the same date every year. Knowing that you need to sort out unwanted items by a certain deadline is motivational.

    9. Don't set overly high expectations for others. For example, young children may not have the patience or the desire to sort their toys into your neat system of storage containers. In that case, they might be better off with one large toy box -- at least everything will be up off the floor.

    10. Make this the year that you switch over to all-natural cleaning products and methods. Then you'll really start the spring on a fresh green note. ENCOURAGING NOTE: Green cleaning does not have to cost you a fortune.

    11. Hire a professional cleaner for a day to help out. This is especially helpful when you live alone or cannot rely on other household members to take part in your spring cleaning. Plan in advance the specific tasks you'd like to have done. DOUBLE BENEFIT: Your hired helper will accomplish a lot, and if you work alongside him or her, you could get a burst of motivation.

    12. Pace yourself to ward off burnout. One method could be to tackle your home room by room. Alternatively, you might want to wipe down all your major appliances in one session, for example.

    13. Decide what works for you. You may be the type of person who feels a sense of accomplishment completing one major task before moving onto the next. OTOH, if you function better with some variety, after a few hours decluttering inside, you could be ready to head outdoors for a while. If so, take a "break" to clear your gutters or inspect your roof, noting any shingles that might need repair or replacement. Similarly, you might want to attack your whole house in a weekend blitz, or you might prefer to work at a more leisurely pace, spreading the work over a month or so.

    Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

    Updated March 6, 2018.

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