No matter how warm or cold it is where you are, it’s Spring! Here in Boston, the weather is turning warmer, the days are getting longer, it stays lighter a little later, and… it’s showing us all just how much our home could use a good cleaning!
If you’re like a lot of people this winter (not just in New England), you’ve been inside your house WAY too much this winter, not to mention the last 2 years, which means:
1) You’ve probably been creating a bit more wear and tear and mess on the inside of your home
2) The outside has been a bit more damaged by the weather and conditions and is going to need more TLC this spring… and we’re all still craving making the most of our outdoor space for socializing and enjoyment!
3) You’ve been seeing a lot more of the “ugh… this needs some work” spaces in your home, since you’ve had no choice but to stare at it much, much more this year.
So, the silver lining may be that we’ve got a much better sense of what needs to get done this Spring, and we’re anxious for any almost-nice-day to come along so we can get started on Spring Cleaning.
My favorite part of Spring Cleaning (and yes, I have a favorite part) is Creating a Plan! I look around the whole house, inside and out, to see what really needs some time and attention, and create a list. It’s almost as if I think of the house as one I’m looking at to buy: “What kind of work would we need to do here?”
A great plan has 4 steps before you kick into “launch” mode.
- WHAT: Make a List of What Needs To Be Done (“Getting-it-Done” list)
- WHEN: Create a Schedule For When It Will Happen
- WHO: Assign Tasks and Responsibilities
- HOW: Gather the Right Tools and Resources
WHAT: What’s on the Getting-It-Done list?
First, we’re going to build the “Should Do” list. We’re just going to capture everything that could possibly be addressed, if you had all the time, energy and resources in the world to take care of it. (Don’t worry… just because you put it on a list doesn’t mean you’re committing to doing it. Right now, we just want to CAPTURE the items. )
Take a walk around every space, inside and outside your house. Bring a pad (yellow pad, iPad, it doesn’t matter 🙂 ) and start taking notes. Look up. Look down. Look under and behind things. The goal is to capture a complete list of everything that could possibly get done in the space.
- Look for:
- Places that you need to dust, vacuum, wash, wipe, polish and shine
- Hard to reach, but should still take care of them, places (lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, vents, corners, sliding door tracks, etc.)
- Items that need regular service or maintenance (draining radiators, air conditioners, grout lines, granite surfaces, fridge or freezer defrosting, oven cleaning, mattress flipping, vent/filter cleaning or changing, etc.)
- Repairs (window screens, furniture, appliances, anything that needs mending)
- Think about those projects that aren’t quite “cleaning” but are seasonal, or on your “should-do” list:
- Changing out the clothes for the new season (and purging through the old ones)
- If you didn’t do it already, where do batteries need to be changed (clocks, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, battery-backup items for your computer, etc.)
- Changing light bulbs to more efficient ones
- Walk around your property and give the structure and your grounds a good look. Any projects you need to take on? Painting? Repair work? Power washing? Clearing out brush/growth? Not only should you identify the work that needs to be done, but figure out what YOU can do, and what really needs a professional, either because of skill level or available time. If you need to bring in a pro, get started on scheduling that now!
- Check out your outdoor entertaining items (furniture, grill, pool accessories, etc.). Plastics can fade and break over time. Metals can rust, fabrics can rip. Make sure it is all safe and in good shape for your entertaining season!
- Think about your lawn, bushes, flowers, planting beds. Determine a clean-out plan and what you need to start doing early to encourage new growth and any changes you want to make this spring.
Once you capture everything, you’ll get to sit on the list a bit and prioritize. It may not be possible for you to get everything done. We all get that. But here’s a list of things to consider to help determine if it is an item that moves from the “should do” to the ‘Getting-It-Done” list this spring.
- Is it a SAFETY issue? This can be anything from repairing items with rough edges, open wires, etc., to cleaning things that can contribute to allergies if left undusted or unclean, or items that need to be updated, batteries changed, etc.
- Is it an ENERGY or EFFICIENCY issue? Am I wasting money because my systems and appliances, windows, etc. aren’t working as hard as they can for me, and taking care of this item will help?
- Does taking care of it prolong the life of the item or space, allowing me to get my money’s worth out of it even longer?
- Does leaving it as-is cause me stress, embarrassment or anxiety?
- Will it interfere with my ability to enjoy this space to its fullest if I leave that task undone?
- Is it so easy and simple to do, it’s stupid NOT to?
So, get that list started! There are some awesome lists out there that can help you…. Just google “spring cleaning list” and you’ll find so many resources.
WHEN will it happen? Create Your Spring Cleaning Schedule
There is no magic wand to make all of this happen (though you can certainly hire people to make a lot of it happen!). Next step is to look at your calendar and put blocks of time in to dedicate to this work, but also understand your own type to know the best path to success:
- Maybe you’re a “weekend warrior” type, or maybe you’re a “do a little every day” type. Know your type, and know the type of anyone around who you’re counting on to help you!
- Breaking down the Spring by week and tying specific areas or tasks to each week can help break down the bigger projects and make them more likely to be accomplished.
- Working backwards from a deadline (“Would love to host a Memorial Day Weekend Cookout!”) might be a great goal to work towards if you know you’re someone who works well in a deadline-driven situation.
WHO is going to do the work?
Maybe you’re the one who’s going to do all the work. You might have other family members who are better suited to some tasks than others. Perhaps some friends can help with some bigger projects, too. And of course, there may be some tasks that are better done by a professional (special skills and equipment) or it is just worth the investment in having someone else do the work. Think about who your team of success will be, and make sure they’re on board with the “WHEN” from above. If it’s a pro you need to schedule, get them booked well in advance!
HOW will you get it done? With the right tools and supplies!
Make sure if you need any special products or tools for your Spring Cleaning projects that you inventory what you have. This can help you save money, so you don’t rebuy anything you already own because you *happen* to be in the big box hardware store and they *happen* to have it on sale (you know, because you and everyone else are doing the same projects now). Inventory what you have, what needs to be added to or replaced, and make sure you have what you need on hand.
Some of this will be household staples – rags, buckets, soaps, duster, squeegee, rubber gloves, sponges, broom, mop, etc.
Some might be more speciality items – cleaner designed for siding or windows, grout cleaner, hard water mineral remover, stainless steel cleaner, a steam cleaning tool, etc.
Need a special tool? There’s a good chance a neighbor or nearby friend has it and you can borrow it!
Feeling more focused and prepared? Me, too!!
Start today to create YOUR Spring Cleaning Plan!! I know I’m doing it, too, and I’m excited for you to join me!