Let’s start with a confession: I don’t really believe in Spring cleaning. I believe our home should be relatively clean all the time and that with proper rotation of housework through the year we don’t need to take a week off to scrub our walls.
But… (Yes, there’s a but ;))
There are still some chores that we only do once or only a few times a year. And Spring is usually that time of the year when I and everyone else in our family has the most energy to do it. Every spring we wash or change the curtains, clean the blinds, wash all the windows, wash the carpets, steam clean the couch, organize and clean the kitchen cabinets, drawers and pantry, and we clean and store our winter clothes and shoes. There is also A LOT of decluttering going on in the Spring. I don’t know what it is about Winter (maybe it’s too cold outside to walk to the dumpster that much?), but the added sunshine of Spring makes me see all the unnecessary knick-knacks we accumulated.
With all this “spring cleaning”, we do our normal weekly & daily chores, and our home SHINES! And that makes us happy, relaxed, comfortable, homey, and we suddenly have enough room to do everything we want in our home. We can play games, do twister on the floor or dance – it’s great! The cleaning and decluttering also brings up a lot of forgotten board games and other past times activities, which is nice too.
But… (Another but)
After a few weeks the clutter starts to pile up again. Stuff gets dirty. So we try to maintain at least some of that extra clean feeling. Here are my tips:
I think clutter is the number one thing that makes a home look ragged. Try to make it a habit (at least weekly) of throwing out things you don’t need and encourage others to do the same. Try to bring less clutter in your home – buy in bulk with less packaging and throw out junk mail at the door. If stuff that isn’t really clutter and trash keeps piling up where it doesn’t belong, it maybe needs a place to go – invest in some nice storing boxes, new shelves or hangers.
Tidy up as you go
I heard this one a while ago and it works. Whenever you leave a room look around and take with you at least three things that don’t belong there. For us that’s often coffee mugs at the computer table, hair pins in the living room, phone adapters everywhere and iPads by the bed. If you get your family members to do the same, you’ll definitely stay on top of things.
Use protective sprays on your furniture
These really make a difference. They repel dust and protect the surface from stains. You still have to make sure to wipe spills quickly though!
Schedule regular housework and divide it fairly
Maybe you like to do it all on your own, but for us maintaining a nice home is a family business. We divide chores according to our capabilities, responsibility, time and also interest. If someone doesn’t like cleaning the toilet, but doesn’t mind taking out the thrash, that’s ok. If nobody likes cleaning the toilet, make the job worth more! You can use a point based system. There are a lot of resources on the web that can help you manage chores; printables, tutorials and mobile apps. We’re making one right now, that’s based on pictures, so you can actually see the before/after photo, and it’s also suitable for kids. Having a chore system in place for the whole family will keep your home looking good!