Spring Cleaning Tips for People Who Hate Cleaning
Everyone likes spring, but not everybody loves spring cleaning.
If you consider yourself an unmotivated cleaner, organizer, or home maintenance person, you are not alone. Luckily, there are many spring cleaning hacks that you can use to make it look like you spent entire weekends cleaning up and airing out your home. Here are five.
1. Change your expectations
For the most part, modern homes are cleaner than the homes humans have lived in for thousands of years. To be happier with the job you do spring cleaning, change your perspective on what spring cleaning entails. Rather than feeling like you have to declutter, deep clean, and organize your home all at once, pick just one of those things and focus on it. You can also break tasks up among the seasons; there are no "spring cleaning police."
Find alternative times of the year during which to perform annual cleaning tasks. Before the holidays, declutter your home and take anything you're not using to Goodwill or a similar charity shop. (This way you make room for new things you might get -- or give, to your kids -- as presents.) In spring, pick up again and organize your household in a way that makes sense to you. Make sure everyone has clothes that fit and are appropriate for the next season. Clean out and stash a few things in your basement or garage. Then in the fall when you are about to spend more time indoors, focus on one or two in-depth cleaning tasks: Scrub the bathrooms from top to bottom. Go around ceilings and floorboards for cobwebs and dust.
2. Follow your own schedule
People have different working styles. Some people prefer to schedule unpleasant tasks all at once so they can do them and be done, while others prefer to tackle difficult tasks piecemeal, just one per day or week.
Many guides to spring cleaning for "lazy people" will suggest setting aside one day for the task and rushing through the work. In addition to the fact that not many people have whole vacation days or days without the kids to really get through their cleaning work, adopting such an all-or-nothing attitude can add too much pressure to the situation.
If your working style is to make one big to-do list and cross everything off it in one day, by all means, do that. If that is not your working style, forgive yourself and clean what you can, when you can.
3. Ask others for their best cleaning tips
Conversations about cleaning are not typically exciting. But you never know what information you might pick up. Likewise, search YouTube for cleaning hacks and other tips, like how to make and use your own organic cleaning compounds. Once you learn what all you can do with plain vinegar and water, you will be able to buy fewer chemical-laden cleansers at the store, which will save you both time and money.
For more stubborn issues or home maintenance issues, remember you can always ask professionals for their opinions when they are working in your home. Remember that their time is valuable, and they are in your home for a specific job, but as long as you don't take a lot of their time (and you are a good customer otherwise, always paying promptly and offering workers drinks or snacks), most house cleaners, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and other experts will be happy to share maintenance tips with you.
4. Clean efficiently
Remember to follow one of the cardinal rules of cleaning: Work from the top down, and from one side of a surface or floor to the other. Dust, clean, and wash other surfaces first, and then finish by cleaning the floors.
You can also employ an oft-cited tip by cleaners to work in "batches": One day, clean all the bathrooms in your home. On another day, declutter and dust surfaces. On another day, do all your home's floors.
Having such a cut-and-dried plan for your cleaning duties might also make it easier to beat procrastination. Rather than telling yourself you have to clean the whole house, or even the whole downstairs, write down discrete cleaning tasks on a to-do list and then relish crossing them off.
5. Enlist help
Give up the idea that you are the only person who can properly clean your home. Enlist help from your roommates, other family members, your spouse, and/or your kids. Make a master to-do list and list a lot of little jobs and separate rooms so others can cross items off and feel a surge of accomplishment. Teach your kids how you clean, but as long as they take a swipe at something, anything, with a washcloth or a broom, it'll help, and it might even instill some good future habits in them.
If you live on your own, don't be afraid to hire help to either get you started or help you keep on track. You may not have the means to hire help all the time, but sometimes it can be easier to get yourself on a cleaning schedule if you start with a room that someone else cleaned not so long ago.
Spring cleaning should not really be about making yourself miserable washing down every surface in your home. It should be about making your home as pleasant as possible in a reasonable time frame, so you actually have time left to get outside and replenish your Vitamin D levels in the spring sunshine!