Spring Cleaning: It Won’t Take You Until Summer To Get It Done

For many of us, spring cleaning often feels like it did to the little mole from the classic children’s story, The Wind and the Willows. The mole had been “working very hard all the morning…. with brooms then with dusters, then with ladders and steps and chairs,” until he could no longer resist the call of the fresh, warm air. But unlike the mole, who gives up his backbreaking labor while shouting, “Hang spring cleaning!” we have a quick and easy plan for you to finish this yearly ritual in just a half day, broken down into five ordered steps. Let’s be honest: not many of us take the time to whitewash our walls. However, we do spend way too much time doing things in the wrong order and getting distracted. Plan to rearrange your priorities before you rearrange your furniture.

#1. Clean the things you don’t actually have to clean

That is to say, do a roundup of your dirty kitchen items and laundry and put them in the machines. They will clean themselves, so to speak, while you focus on other things. And if you are looking to get rid of some things, this task double-duties as inventory. Who knows, you might not need to do so many loads of laundry!

#2. Grab a few trash and recycling bags and make a “sweep” of the entire place

Throw away all of the junk first so that you don’t have to pause while you are scrubbing everything down. Doing both at once can be time-consuming — mainly because it introduces distractions. Remember to spot check. Is it time to switch out your laundry yet?

#3. Clean from top to bottom — literally

There’s a reason that saying exists. Dust and scrub the highest parts of the house first. Start with ceilings, fans, windows, walls, and then focus on counter tops, drawers and cabinets, furniture, and finally, the floors. I know many people who end up cleaning the house twice, only because they haven’t ordered the task properly.

#4. Do the bathroom and kitchen separately

Cleaning these spaces pretty much requires using the same kinds of cleaning products and methods. If you keep them in mind together, you won’t throw out that bucket of mop water and then have to refill it again.

#5. Unload your loads

Now that your place is spotless, you can put your dishes back in their (clean!) place and fold and put away your laundry. This is the easiest and most satisfying part!

Much of efficient spring cleaning simply involves ordering the tasks in just the right way. If you are new to detailed cleaning projects, sit down over your coffee in the morning before you begin or, if you’re really dreading it, over a glass of wine the night before. Make a list of the tasks you need to do and then order them using this basic blueprint. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to take you until summer, or even until the afternoon, to finish!

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Jennifer is in her first year with MyNewPlace.  She is excited to be a writer for the company while she finishes her Ph.D. in Anthropology, which she expects to receive from American University this May. ...