A one, two punch plan for spring cleaning

Thanks to the excessive JT memes, “It’s Gonna Be Me (May)” has been stuck in my head for days now. Social media is super awesome like that.

The issue with where I’m living is that it hasn’t felt like it’s gonna be May like it usually does. Temps can barely get into the 60s and I’m not sneezing like a wild woman due to pollen storms (I guess that’s a good thing?). In the past, by May I would have pulled all of my winter clothes out of the closet and packed away in space bags, opened the windows (and quickly closed them because of the sneezing sesh), and scrubbed my place top to bottom. I’m getting pretty antsy at this point, so it’s time to get it done regardless if I freeze because I already put away my winter coats.

Now, I know not everyone loooves to organize and clean but it’s actual therapy for me. There’s something so soothing and satisfying in creating a clean, uncluttered space. What many people don’t realize is how the two activities - cleaning and decluttering - go hand in hand just like peanut butter and jelly. Strawberry only. If anyone eats grape don’t listen to them, they make bad life choices (Kidding! Kind of.).

I remember reading in Marie Kondo’s book, Spark Joy, that in Japan, they don’t go on a cleaning spree during spring but rather around the New Year. Which makes sense, clean slate all around right? But she goes on to say that many families don’t ever feel like the house is super clean because they only focus on that - cleaning. They don’t declutter so the home still feels messy. Have you ever tried to clean the kitchen counter tops with a ton of crap on them? Not very effective.

So what’s the best strategy then? If you’re looking to have a squeaky clean home in time for spring (summer now?), how do you go about it so that you feel like your efforts weren’t half assed? Stick with me here guys while I give you the answer to the pop quiz.

Your spring cleaning project must be broken up into TWO phases:

  1. Decluttering

  2. Cleaning

Got it? Yay.

Phase One : Decluttering

If you haven’t decluttered in a long time, like a really long time, this phase will take awhile TBH. That’s ok though because there is no better time to start than right now. You will still follow the plan but break it down into different days so you prevent burnout.

Starting in one room and one room only, and starting in one corner, begin to remove any items you see that are broken, expired, no longer used or no longer bring you joy (see, I got you, Marie!). The goal right now is not to organize but strictly declutter so do not zig zag around because you found a book in one room that belongs in another. Right now you are only removing things that you don’t want anymore and there are three ways you can get them out of your home.

Donate

I’m a huge fan of donating items to good causes so highly encourage you to do the same. For heavier or odd shaped items, using a cardboard box to collect your donations is best. For lighter and softer items (think clothes), a plastic garbage bag is all you need. If you have a TON of donatable goods, a few charities will come pick them up for you if you call and schedule. It’s smart to be aware of certain items and charities that won’t take them such as bedding and baby toys so always ask before you drop them off or have picked up!

Struggling with what to let go? Ask yourself these questions:

Have I used/worn it in the last 6-12 months?

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If I haven’t, why am I holding on to it?

Will I miss it if I let it go? Will I need it again if I let it go? Seriously, will you?

If I do miss or need it again, can I find a replacement easily?

Personally, I have never let go of something I’ve owned and ever wanted or needed it back. What’s holding you back from letting go is fear (stay tuned for a video on fear from yours truly soon!). Shaking the fake fear monster off and realizing that you’ll be OK, you’ll survive, without this one item that you never use will make you feel FREE. Trust me on this one.

Trash

The most amount of trash you’ll accumulate will most likely be in the kitchen and bathroom when it comes to expired goods. If it has a date or just looks/smells funky, toss it. Clothes that are too worn or destroyed (holes, rips, etc.) can also be trashed, Broken items and actual garbage (you read that right) can go in the garbage bag.

Sell

Higher end items - designer clothes and bags, electronics - that are in good, working condition can make you a little money. Apps and sites like Letgo, Poshmark, Ebay, and Amazon make it super simple to make a sale. Second hand consignment stores are an easier/faster route to go since they do all the work for you but you might not make as much since they set the prices. You have to decide what is more worth it to you - taking time to get a higher bid or saving time by letting someone else do the legwork.

Whatever you do, be sure to remove these items from your home ASAP. Schedule the pick up or do the drop off THAT day, take the garbage out to the curb or garage until it's ready to go out. Create a bag of sale items and either drop them off at the consignment store or store them out of your way for when you get a bite online. Having them in your way while moving on to phase two is not conducive to getting your home in tip top shape.

Phase Two : Cleaning

You should be feeling already a lot lighter from ridding your home of everything you hate (ok, that’s a strong word but you get it). Now comes the real therapeutic part. First, you need to arm yourself with the right tools. A caddy with your basic cleaning supplies is smart so you can tote it from room to room. Here’s an example of a quick starter kit if you don't already have one:

All purpose cleaner

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Glass cleaner

Furniture polish

Wipes

Microfiber cloth

Duster on a stick (yup, that's what it's called)

For bathrooms, I would keep the toilet bowl and tub/tile cleaner in the actual room (under the sink for example) since you’re not going to be using them anywhere else anyway. I mean, at least I hope not...

Once your kit is armed and ready, now it’s time to get to cleaning. Just like decluttering, starting in one room and not zig zagging is crucial to getting this done fast and effectively. There’s also a reason why I said before I scrub my place top to bottom - dust falls so by starting with the floors and working your way up, you’re going to be cursing yourself as you see all of your hard work undone. I will go around the room, dusting anything up high (artwork, crown moldings, etc.), moving on to the countertops, then down below to the baseboards (tip : running a fabric sheet along the boards gets dust up fast and smells awesome!). Lastly, I will clean the floors and move then into the next room to let em dry.

A few tricks to make this go by faster when it’s not one of your favorite hobbies like mine:

Blast your favorite, UPlifting music. Just like when you workout, the right music will pump you up to keep going.

Light a candle. The scent will also motivate you to make the rest of the house smell that good.

Have drinks and easy to pop in your mouth snacks handy. Whatever is going to give you some sustenance or energy (coffee to start is a no brainer) and not going to slow you down (don’t make a big, sit down meal or else you may lose your flow) is smart.

Promise yourself a reward when you’re done. Maybe go for a mani or a massage, treat yourself to a meal from your favorite restaurant after. But only allow it when you’re 100% done!

Hopefully, by realizing that the declutter phase must happen first, then the cleaning phase, you'll feel more accomplished and that your home is truly sparkling, rather than just cleaning around the stuff. It's gotta get done so you might as well do it right and have a little fun plus make some dough/do some good in the process!

Can't say I've ever related to Danny Tanner in the past, but now. I get you man. Happy Spring Cleaning!