Every year about this time people start talking about doing their spring cleaning. For some people that means washing windows, window screens, and getting outside furniture ready. For other people, it means moving furniture, cleaning the dust bunnies, and reorganizing the furniture placement. This year, however, we’ve all been doing so much cleaning. Constantly wiping down counters and packages, washing hands, and being organized to clean at a moment’s notice. Why would we want to engage in spring cleaning? Is there a difference?
Last year around this time is when we all hunkered down in our homes. Can you believe it? The Coronavirus that we had hoped would only last a few weeks, was quickly turning into a pandemic with no end in sight.
We closed ourselves in only venturing out for the absolutely necessary. Overnight our homes became the place we never left. These homes had to accommodate all the activities we typically did outside the home as well as those for which we came home. They morphed into school rooms, fitness centers, entertainment zones, offices, Zoom rooms, non-stop dining facilities, and bedrooms – changing as the need changed.
We packed our homes with extra food and cleaning supplies and with the necessary items to support our lifestyle at home. Exercise equipment took over corners in some homes. We planned our time to allow for extra hand washing, clothes washing, and face mask washing. Then we got ourselves organized to clean and remove germs as we went along.
So many activities, so little space
Because so many families have, out of necessity, packed all their activities into the home. Is there space to do spring cleaning? Do we need to do that, after all the cleaning we’ve been doing? I wonder if the time is right to unpack all that has been jammed into our homes. Are we ready to open up our homes, let the sunshine in, and experience life outside the shelter of our homes?
If you are ready to get organized to clean, spring-cleaning style, take the next 6 weeks or so to gradually go through your home tackling the spaces you want to deeply clean. The difference between the cleaning we’ve been doing, and spring cleaning is that spring cleaning involves deeply cleaning each aspect of the space. Cleaning in general, gets rid of dust, dirt, and grime and we expect – germs.
Bring in the cleaning supplies that you need to have on hand. Decide if you are going to chase the cobwebs near the windows or tackle the dust bunnies under the furniture. Maybe you are going to do both of these things.
There are many, many fabulous guides on Spring Cleaning out there. My blogging colleague, Sabrina Quairoli, wrote a terrific spring-cleaning guide recently. Click here for Sabrina’s Spring-Cleaning Tips.
A good reason to embark on a Spring-Cleaning routine, even though we have been continually cleaning everything, is that it will freshen up your home and lift your spirits. Take some time to get organized to clean out the things you know you won’t be using. Unpack the supplies that have been stuffed into corners. There may be clutter lurking in those corners also.
I can understand hanging onto a few extras of certain things that were in short supply during the first wave of the Pandemic. However, as a professional organizer, I encourage you not to stockpile too much. These stockpiles take up valuable real estate in our homes and I’ve already listed all the ways that our homes now serve us.
If the things you don’t need any more are in good condition donate them.
Do you have a suitcase that you know you don’t want? Clean it up and then take it to a Foster cares office. They give these suitcases to foster children, so they have something in which to put their belongings other than a garbage bag.
Remove winter clothes that your children have outgrown from their closets. Do the same thing with your winter clothes. Set them aside to donate in the early fall when donation centers will be ready to accept them. I suggest putting the clothes in a plastic tub in the attic or garage and putting a reminder in your calendar to donate the contents in the fall.
If you feel like you are continually getting organized to clean and are unsure if you want to do any spring-cleaning remember there is a difference. Think about it that way. Whether you engage in Spring cleaning this year or not I hope you embrace the coming season. There is a change in the way we are anticipating spring this year. Make your home ready to enjoy all that the coming season has to offer. If you would like some motivation to tackle individual tasks check out the Organize Your Home 10 minutes at a Time deck of cards or reach out to me.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization. Diane and Jonda Beattie are the best-selling authors of: Filled Up and Overflowing.
I think there are spaces we haven’t really been cleaning, even if we have been wiping everything down. For a long time, I paid my cleaning lady not to come (to spare both of us the exposure), and cleaned myself. When she finally returned, she noted that I had done pretty well, but had missed the corners. Spring is a great time to be access those spots that have stockpiling stuff over the year. Doing this not only cleans our spaces, but also brings the items into the light of day where we can renew them. I’d like to do this with my pantry – it is definitely time!
I know – with all the cleaning we have been doing it’s the overhaul that is different when we prepare for the warmer months. It’s time to look under the furniture and in the corners to see what’s been hiding. Have fun with your pantry!
With snow on the ground (but melting) here in New York, it’s hard to believe that spring is right around the corner. You shared a photo recently with flowers coming up. I just noticed the first sign here with the narcissus leaves popping through the earth. It’s an exciting season of growth and beauty. So your post is well-timed to nudge us to begin to clean and declutter for the season. I am looking forward to doing more of a deep dive…and bringing the outdoor furniture outside. One of my favorite things is making the fall/winter to spring/summer clothing switch. I go through closets and drawers to remove the colder weather clothing and replace it with lighter wear. It’s also the time I re-evaluate. What fits? What needs to leave? What has lived its life and is done? I love collecting a bag of donates to giveaway.
I love the way you talk about re-evaluating your clothes. I have some things that have hung in my closet for far too long without seeing the light of day. It’s time for me to re-evaluate them and let someone else make good use of them. Thank you for nudging me, Linda!
Food for thought, Diane – I think Spring Cleaning will still feel like a welcome normal routine amidst the upheaval of the past year for me. When things have been turned upside down like this, there’s such comfort in the rituals we’re used to.
Thank you, Lucy. There is something to be said for sticking to the rituals of the season.
Great stuff! I have a smaller home and need to make it a point to clear the clutter instead of just arranging it to get ready to clean. While I do pick up things, the vast majority of the rooms are pretty well organized. My husband and I recently started doing “death cleaning,” which has helped us a great deal to get ready for the next phase of our lives. It is super uplifting and helps us look at items differently within each space. We will be continuing this process this year.
Thank you, Sabrina. “Death Cleaning” is a powerful exercise. It truly does make you look at your belongings through a different lens.
Oh, I’ve got big spring cleaning plans this year! We had so much time spent inside and I’ve been working my way through several overlooked spaces. This week is the fridge!
Great, Melanie! The ‘fridge is often an overlooked space.
Whenever I see the words, Spring Cleaning, my first association is freshness. So, regardless what or how much we decide to tackle, it’s going to feel that much better than before.
You made so many good points about this past year and that many of us spent time cleaning and decluttering. Wouldn’t it be lovely, if spring cleaning this year became a ritual that welcomed a new- new fresh normal that even Clorox couldn’t get rid of. Don’t you think we’re already to clean up and get out of the webs? At least I am.
Yes! I absolutely agree with you. That’s a point well-taken, Ronni!
Most years, I do my the equivalent of spring cleaning (the purging part, mostly, but also the big, deep clean) in late December, to welcome the New Year and another smaller round in the fall, coinciding with the Jewish New Year. However, this year, because we’re about to hit the one-year mark for the pandemic, I am eager to embrace a fresh, new, non-pandemic world and am starting the process again. In fact, within the hour, I’m taking boxes of donations to the drop-off. I’m more of an organizer and a purger than a cleaner, and my family laughs at me that I need to *dust* my kitchen more than clean it (because I really don’t cook), but I love the refreshing spirit of this post for helping us accomplish all of these tasks!
I really like the way you think about Spring Cleaning. It’s a preparation for a new season. Your spring cleaning in December welcomes in the New Year. A wonderful tradition!
Thanks for this comment, Julie!