As winter closes out, most of us are ready for not only fresh air and warmer temps, but for a reset on life in general. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this, and one of these is to “spring clean.” So, Lively interviewed an expert to explore this further, as well as give you all of the best tips to make tackling messes easier.
Why Spring Cleaning Is Important
Cleaning, decluttering and organizing have psychological benefits that can impact your quality of life. “Decluttering is the gold standard for freeing mental space and promoting a vibrant, peaceful life,” Julie Britt, declutter coach and Feng Shui expert, tells Lively. “Feng Shui (spatial arrangement laws and how they pertain to energy flow) offers a spiritual explanation for why decluttering works as it does plus guidance to making positive changes.” Decluttering is a physical manifestation of releasing the things we don’t really need in order to live the life we truly want. It may seem like you’re just picking up your shoes and throwing out old junk, but you’re truly working on your mental health as well.
That said, here are 10 ways to get the job done.
10 Brilliant Spring Cleaning Hacks
1. Engage in daily touch-ups
Britt recommends taking the time to do small amounts of cleaning each day so that the deep cleans don’t feel so intense. Pick up the shoes all over the floor, wipe down one counter or any other small task that doesn’t take a lot of time. This will make things more manageable and alleviate some anxiety about having a messy home.
2. Invest in a "busboy bin" for your kitchen
“A bin frees sinks and counters from clutter and keeps your kitchen from feeling messy,” shares Britt. Of course, you don’t want dirty dishes piling up for weeks, but they can at least keep them contained until you load the dishwasher. It can serve as the in-between space that keeps your counters spotless.
3. Always put away the non-essential items
Some items, like the soap next to your sink, definitely need to be there. With that being said, when non-essential items start to pile up in your living space, things can spiral out of control really quickly. Non-essential items, like your books or paperwork, need designated homes. This not only keeps you organized, but it eliminates a good amount of clutter.
4. Toilet bowl cleaning schedule
Yup, it’s a thing. Get into a routine for checking toilet paper supplies and taking care of swishing the bowl. That way, you can catch it before it ever gets too dirty. Your guests will most definitely thank you!
5. Break out the cordless vacuum (or invest in one if you don’t have one)
“Cordless vacuums are faster than a broom and dustpan and remove lots more grit and dirt,” Britt tells Lively.
6. Declutter first, clean second
Britt recommends starting with the declutter piece if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Moreover, pick the “easiest” room to start. Sometimes it’s just about getting going, so target just one task in your easiest room and get some momentum from there.
7. Declutter in “mini chunks”
Britt recommends conquering each room in small bits. For example, she suggests saying something like, “I’m going to clear the top of the dresser and put my shoes away,” instead of “I’m going to clean my room.” It’s better to be specific as generalization takes you away from being focused.
8. Engage in the 5-second rule
“Tackle activities you can accomplish in 5 seconds, one after another,” shares Britt. “Hang up a dress, throw away four pieces of junk mail, put a dish or three in the dishwasher, throw a towel in the laundry, put a pair of shoes in the closet, take something to the garage, empty a wastebasket, etc.”
9. Pick your cleaning style
You can choose to do deep clean the whole house, or divvy up the rooms and do one a day. There truly isn’t a right or wrong way. It’s more about your preferences and how you like to structure your time.
10. Schedule routine hauls to get rid of unused items
It’s not just about organizing and cleaning, but it’s also about getting rid of the unnecessary items. They contribute to more clutter, which ends up being more that you have to clean. Simplify your space with a scheduled routine check for extra unused items.