Spring is Springing

The snow is melting, the clocks have been reset, and the birds are singing; it can only mean only thing: Spring is coming. And that means it is time to plan for the annual ritual of Spring Cleaning.

For many, the problem is that it seems like a lot of work with marginal benefit. So, do not try to do it all at once. Pick the biggest problem room—for many of us that would be the garage where we have been stowing things all winter—and do that one first. The first day of tackling a big project is usually the one when everyone has his/her highest spirits and most energy and by doing the hardest room first, the cleaning is all downhill after that. Also, doing one or two rooms a weekend leaves time every weekend for family fun.

Alicia on “Making it a Family Project”

“Think of ways to get everyone excited. Make it a package deal: we clean on Saturday afternoon and go out for bowling and dinner (of the kids choosing) at night. Play music while you work and let everyone pick his or her CD. You may have to listen to Radiohead but your kids get educated about Hall and Oates. Or give them incentive by explaining to them that if the garage gets cleaned out every year, it will have room for the kids’ cars to be parked in there—years from now!”

Sarah on “Focusing on What is Really Important”

“There are many benefits to a good Spring Clean. First is that a cleaner house is more stress-free because you know where things are and do not have that nagging voice in your head that tells you there is a lot of cleaning that still must be done. Also, it reduces the chance that bugs and rodents will find places to hide, feed, live and reproduce. Finally, it helps to be able to see if there are any home maintenance issues that were hidden behind boxes.”

Here a few tips to help you and the crew.

#1 Divide and Conquer

Start by the process by being organized. Set up bins that the whole family knows to bring things to. These might be keep, garbage, recyclables, donate, and sell. Even with the above cited incentives for the family, it is not unusual for frustration to set in when the kids are cleaning instead of playing with their friends. Being organized about the process will make the process a lot easier and faster. It will also help prepare for the inevitable tag sale that will soon follow, but we’ll get to that in another article.

#2 Lead by Example

As stated, frustration can run high, especially since there are bound to be discussions about what exactly is junk and not some indispensable game, item of clothing or piece of memorabilia. If you keep a smile on your face and your spirits high, it will filter out. Remember to provide plenty of positive feedback and encouragement. Also, if you start getting worn down, figure that the rest of the crew is feeling the same way and either call for pizza or suspend the action for the day.

#3 Finish up Strong

Everyone is going to have to put in a lot of work and one of the best psychological boosts will be to complete each room before moving on. This means finishing by vacuuming (or sweeping and mopping) and cleaning the windows. The accompanying fresh odors and, literally, squeaky clean windows will provide the sense of accomplishment that you and your whole family deserve and need.