The Joy of Spring Cleaning and Why it is Important
There are certain things that make me happy. My husband’s laugh, seeing my children sharing and doing things together, seeing a full moon, hearing the birds sing, flowers in my garden, creating something beautiful, and such…One of those things is the beautiful season of Spring! With Spring comes one of the best times to take a good, deep look at your home and love it by Spring Cleaning!
I know. It’s a really big job, but it is so very important! Why, well it’s part of taking care and appreciating what you have – I really do believe our homes are a blessing – I’m thankful! To me, it’s my way of sharing and showing love for my family by taking care of our home!
It also gives us the opportunity to take a good look at things – to repaint (you know this girl loves paint!), to repair, replace or to clear out!
If you’ve read my posts on organizing, you know that I’m so easily distracted too! I have to work hard on focusing and completing a task. That’s where lists and checklists become handy! This gives you a sense of accomplishment and a visual of what you have done and what remains to be completed.
Spring comes very early here in the South – so it is time…perhaps you are still experiencing Winter and aren’t quite ready to actually begin your Spring cleaning – well take heart, pour another cup of warm coffee, tea or cocoa and just dream and plan for your Spring Cleaning – or begin decluttering – this will get you ahead when you’re ready!
How Did Spring Cleaning Begin
So…me, I love to learn about the why, what, when and where of things. I researched where Spring cleaning began…There are a few ideas. I’ve seen an example of one. That is from the Jewish community, their history and in preparation for Passover a thorough cleaning of the house – especially removing ALL signs of leaven was performed. The Chinese also do a thorough cleaning in their belief that it gets rid of bad luck. And I love the Iranian practice of their Spring cleaning which is translated as ‘shaking the house!’
Another historical, practical view was that long ago, homes were so closed up to protect from the Winter weather, oil lamps were burned creating soot and grease throughout. The ladies would throw open the doors and the windows in the home, take out the rugs, beat them, (I wonder if that’s therapeutic and satisfying). They would scrub their house thoroughly to clear up the soot from the candles and oil lamps, wash windows, walls and floors. I chuckled when I read that all were to stay out of the house while this was done! This was serious business!
Today, we have so many helpers by way of vacuums (I love mine!), cleaning products – natural and such – sponges, cloths, mops etc…This doesn’t take away, though that this is a very big project – BUT oh, so very worthwhile.
Let the Fresh Air In
Opening doors and windows allow clean, fresh air in. After being closed up for so very long – things can become stuffy and stale. Not to mention all of the germs and bacteria! I love that our house is old and that to me it ‘breathes’. I’m not a big fan of sealing in and closing up homes.
While opening up the home, it is a wonderful time to take out rugs – get them in the sunshine, shake them out – beat them if you can!
In most everything I do – I tell myself – Top to Bottom — Left to Right — Inside/Out. This is how I paint, how I clean and how I work – it’s a great way to ensure you’re thorough.
Where to Start
– select the room you want to thoroughly clean.
- take out everything from the drawers – you can work drawer to drawer or be adventurous and take it ALL out! Things have a way of being put away in the wrong place
- Evaluate – if it’s broken – discard; if you don’t use it – discard or donate; if it’s grungy and you can’t clean it – replace it.
- Sort – then replace – decide what goes where and teach those in your family (very patiently) where things go!
- I like to line drawers – there are so many pretty drawer liners out there!
- Clean! – Top to Bottom – Left to Right
- Repair, replace or Repaint...this is a good time to give a good close look at your baseboards and door frames – do they need a touch up!
- Next! – Once a room is cleaned thoroughly – move onto the next!
This is a big job. I’ve seen titles, ‘Spring Clean in a Day’. Unless you’ve already gone through your home and have purged thoroughly those things you no longer need or can use, or, you’re naturally neat and have already designated a place for everything and everything in it’s place, or, all the above and you live alone…then, maybe you can do a true – deep down and getting dirty to get clean Spring Clean…I just don’t see it! So, plan and prepare yourself to do this thoroughly and completely from start to finish room by room – give yourself a few days – week; maybe two.
One Big Tip – Set the Mood
I love music! Doing these type of chores with the music wafting throughout my house helps keep me upbeat, focused and moving more quickly. It’s like marching to the band…the more upbeat the music – the faster I work. This maybe a good time to listen to a Podcast or Webinar – learning while doing.
Keep Your List Visible
Gentle reminders and encouragement – that’s what lists are good for. They also stimulate your imagination to think of things you need or how you can do things better. They also can help you decide and designate storage spaces. (free printable below)
Dress for Success
I have a bad habit. I wear clothes that are good for doing projects then they become work clothes or painting clothes. Really. I have worn a shirt while painting…really getting into my work and leaning over my long haired pony tail gets into the paint then when I’ve straightened and move along – I’ve painted the back of my shirt. So, have clothing that’s comfortable, and that is designated for the dirty work. You will probably spill, paint or bleach (yep done that) spill onto the clothing. Wear comfortable shoes – now this is from a girl whose preference in life is to go barefoot. But, if something falls and breaks, or something drops…you know where I’m going. Wear protective gear – gloves, goggles – if you’re spraying harsher products such as bleach. I have to get the mold out of the side porch (high, high humidity here) and fine spray will float around.
Protect your Back
I’m also bad at moving things and carrying things that are so very heavy. I’m a girl that when things need to be done – I’ll find a way to do it – besides stubbing my toes, I’ll over do it and strain my back. The older I get the more I realize how important it is to protect my back! So, please, please do!
Be Careful When getting on Ladders and Step Ladders
The harshest falls I’ve experienced are ones where I’ve only been a few feet off the ground or when missing a step…please, be very careful and attentive when on a ladder.
Don’t Carry Too Much
By now I’m sharing all the mistakes I’ve made – I’m becoming the poster girl of ‘To Not To’ Do. After painting the upstairs hall I had things to return and things that belonged somewhere else. I loaded down (including carrying a step-ladder) and then missed the first step at the top of our stairway. I didn’t fall, but slid a couple steps. HARD. To Not To. Don’t do it trying to save yourself trips. Use boxes or baskets to put things in to carry up and down. Ask for help too.
Let Others Know Your Plans
This is for encouragement and for peace of mind. If they know you’re on a mission to clean – they’re more apt to either help or stay out of your way! Also, give them the chore of decluttering their own things (especially if they’re old enough – husbands included). This will prevent you from tossing something that to you isn’t valuable – but to them is. This is a teaching opportunity too. Help them learn how to evaluate things.
Thinking Ahead and For Others
My daughter said, ‘I hope it’s a long time before we have to go through your and Dad’s things. You have so much STUFF!’ That made me think. Do they understand what to me is valuable? Are all of the things around me necessary, loved, valuable…worth keeping? I’m starting to think of things in that way. That if some day someone else goes through these things…Will they just toss it all? I’m also designating what and who will get what. I’ve been through sorting my parent’s things with my siblings…it’s a bitter-sweet task. Let’s make it sweeter for those we love.
Spring Cleaning is so very important for our health, for the health of our home and for our peace of mind. It’s good stewardship. It’s an opportunity to pay attention to what we have and to care for it! Make this as much fun as possible for yourself! In the end, you’ll be so glad you make the effort – your home will shine and then, you can make the daily, weekly and monthly chores all the more doable – quicker so you can enjoy your family, your hobbies, and so much more….