I personally love a good cleaning session. The kind that happen on the first day of spring are the best, offering the perfect chance for a fresh start and a new attitude for the new season. Following are a few of my tips, which will hopefully help even reluctant maids embrace the joy of spring cleaning.
Go on a cleaning frenzy when the mood strikes
Clean when you want to, even if the urge hits at 2am! Spring cleaning when you have the energy and desire is more fun, less stressful, and you’ll likely do a much better job. I typically clean in the early afternoon, although I’ve been known to wash my floors on hands & knees in the middle of the night. When I’m finished, I drag my filthy self into a hot shower, and emerge out into an apartment that feels brand new. There’s no better feeling!
Wipe up all the dust, preferably while running around like a crazy person
A good cleaning game for kids is to give each child a damp white rag, have them run around dusting and see who can collect the most grime. This is a great cleaning tip for you as well – Don’t put that cloth down or into the bin until it’s completely spent! After you wipe down windrows or tables, take that rag and tackle neglected windowsills (the ones hidden behind blinds all winter) and light fixtures. Swipe that barely-there spot on the wall on your way to drop your rag in the hamper. By running around spot-cleaning small areas, you’ll feel like you’re getting more done faster, motivating you to keep moving!
I know that some people like to tackle one full room at a time, but I much prefer to do all of the tidying, then all of the dusting, followed by all of the sweeping/vacuuming… You get my point. It really keeps things from getting monotonous. For dusting, always use a damp cloth — It captures more, keeping dirt and toxins from being dispersed into the air. My favorite cloths for cleaning are our cloth wipes from Kissaluvs. Prefold diapers also make great rags (and/or cloth napkins).
Making Cleaning Day Laundry Day
All of your dusting sweeping vacuuming is going to send crap (for lack of a better word) flying into the air and all over your stuff. As you begin your cleaning, start your first load of laundry as well. Wash all bedding, furniture slipcovers, the dog’s bed. Furniture that can’t be washed may be steam cleaned – I highly recommend the Shark Pocket Steam Cleaner; it’s worth every penny. Adding laundry to your spring cleaning to-do list may seem like too much to take on but trust me, you’ll be glad you did it when you’re climbing into fresh clean sheets after all of your hard work.
Try to get your spring cleaning done on a day that’s warm enough to throw open as many windows as possible. Ideally, you should always dust and vacuum with open windows or doors. A breezy day is ideal, letting the air sweep through and carry out toxins in the air. A nice breeze will also help keep you cool as you’re working up a sweat whilst cleaning like a maniac!
Use safe products
Ditch the Windex and opt for cleaning solutions from Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, or ecoSTORE USA. (Mrs. Meyers is one of the spendier options, but the scents are ahh-mazing.) Don’t think you can afford to make a switch? Pop for a gallon of white vinegar and a box of baking soda instead. (You can even buy those ones of food stamps – Ain’t no shame in it!) Not only are these products better for the environment and your family in general, but you can use them while kids and pets are around. My toddler runs around “spraying” everything as I clean and I don’t have to worry about him putting his hands in his mouth afterwards. Even if you don’t have children, it’s worth sticking to non-toxic cleaners – Those poisons aren’t good for anyone! We stopped using Swiffer solution (*shudder*) and other similar products when we brought home our puppy a few years ago. Pets spend all of their time down there on the floor.
I personally don’t believe in disinfectants unless you live in an operating room or someone in your household has a severely weakened immune system. Otherwise, killing “99% of germs” isn’t doing your body any favors. Forget that marketing scheme! Germs are natural, mostly good, and keeping things clean but not sterile will ensure that your family stays healthy as well as sane.
Reward yourself with creature comforts
Enhance your new clean environment with something soft or pretty. Bold throw pillows to change up the look of a room, or a lighter throw to replace the winter blanket on your couch. If those are out of budget, pick up some scented candles from Bed Bath & Beyond or even the dollar store. Small indoor plants add coziness and improve air quality, and you can find them for just a few dollars at Ikea or The Home Depot. Rearranging furniture can also give an instant (and free) pick-me-up, and help signal a fresh start to your brain and mood.