Shine On: A Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring is just around the corner. As the birds sing and flowers bloom, closets will be cleaned out, shelves dusted, and belongings donated, all in the name of a fresh start. I love a good spring clean. Nothing puts me in the mood for warmer days like opening all the windows, turning on some good tunes, and hunkering down for a day of scrubbing, polishing, and perfecting.

For many, the thought of spring cleaning can be overwhelming rather than exhilarating. After a long winter, seeing what lurks behind our couches or in our closets can bring about a sense of doom and defeat. But it doesn’t have to! Spring is about renewal and rebirth, and that should make our hearts feel lighter, not heavier.

So roll up those sleeves, and read on for tips on how to make the most of your clean and leave your anxieties behind.

Pick your day

It’s a good idea to plan ahead, so you can give yourself enough time and make sure you’ll have all your supplies ready. Check the forecast and choose a sunny Saturday or Sunday that you can devote your morning and afternoon hours to. As much as I love the rain (and believe me, when I say love, I mean love), wet windowsills can dampen your spirits when you’re indoors with mop and broom in hand.

Find your purpose

There’s no doubt that a deep clean is a big commitment, and may require more than one day to tackle. Get an idea ahead of time of what you want to accomplish. Maybe you just want to pick a couple of rooms to start, or if your space is two stories or more, just one floor. Maybe you want to devote one weekend to organizing, and a subsequent weekend to cleaning top to bottom. You’re the best judge of how big a task lies ahead, and how much you can handle. Part of the reason it’s easy to become overwhelmed before you even get started is because your ambitions outweigh what you’re mentally, emotionally, and physically ready for. This is a surefire way to lose steam and give up before you finish the task at hand. Don’t be afraid to give yourself the time you need. Perhaps you’ll need to devote a few Saturdays a month before you finish, or maybe you can power through in one day. Whatever your timeline, keep your end goal in mind, and remember that sometimes baby steps beat big steps.

Reach out

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a close friend (or a few!) to help you scrub the day away. Offer to pay them back with pizza, or return the favor by helping them get their own space in shipshape. Many hands make light work, and you can marvel over the results together while enjoying the comforts of a good meal and a glass of wine, with plenty of paper towels nearby of course.

Turn up the tunes

Why not make a playlist even? Add your favorite upbeat hits or kick it old-school and turn on your favorite throwbacks for a perfect sense of nostalgia as you dig through old belongings. Cleaning is also a great time to catch up on a podcast, or listen to an audio book. Find your jam!

Let in some sun

All winter, I look forward to the first day it’s warm enough to open my windows. There’s nothing like a burst of fresh air to rejuvenate your spirits and energy, and there’s something about open windows that just feels welcoming. Not to mention, it will help filter out any dust that surfaces and keep the air circulating so you can breathe clean too.

Don’t go crazy

Before you rush out and raid the cleaning supplies shelves, take a thorough inventory of what you already have, and make a list of what you might need. (If one of your goals is to cut down, you don’t want to undo it by bringing in duplicates.)  You’d be surprised at how much you can do with what you already have! Some of my favorite naturals are lemon juice, baking soda, white vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. Also, if you plan on donating some of your items, it’s a good idea to have a few trash bags on hand, and to have a charity or two in mind so you know what they accept and what they don’t.

Have fun

Spring cleaning can (and should) be something you enjoy and look forward to. Find your own ways to make it fun! Put on your comfiest clothes, light candles, encourage your family and friends to join you, and when the day’s over, reward yourself for a job well done. Curl up with a movie, take a warm bath, celebrate with a pizza party, and most of all, let yourself feel good about caring for your space and the people who dwell in it.