March 22, 2011
A Spring Cleaning Planning Guide
Spring has sprung! Despite the fact that the weather in New York City is still bumming me out (except for last Friday), I am elated that the long winter is almost behind us. Which means that it’s about time to store your wool sweaters and give your home the yearly detox. It’s spring cleaning time – get excited!
Okay, I admit that I am forcing a bit of excitement here. I mean, how many people actually look forward to washing windows and vacuuming curtains? But, I’ll tell you what makes spring cleaning more bearable – developing a simple and manageable plan to get it done. So, this week, I’ll tell you how to devise a plan to tackle your spring cleaning.
You might ask, why spend 30 minutes developing a plan? Well, for most folks, knowing where to start is the hardest part and without a list of projects, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. It’s also a natural tendency to jump from one project to the next, leading to multiple projects in multiple rooms at one time. Having a plan focuses your efforts and gives you a sense of accomplishment as you cross each project off your list.
Make a List
Your first step is to make a list of priority projects. This is the point at which my advice about spring cleaning is going to differ from what you hear from almost everyone else out there. It’s a bold and smart decision to tackle your entire house, top to bottom. However, I like to be realistic. We’re all busy and spring cleaning shouldn’t take all spring. So, if you don’t have time to clean your entire home, identify priority projects that are out of the realm of your weekly cleaning and do them with gusto.
So, how do you identify your priority projects? Most likely you’ll have a pretty good idea of what’s been nagging you, so go room to room and make a list. Or to better hone in, take a tour of your home, and ask yourself some questions:
- Which areas of my home cause me the most stress?
- What areas of my home do I neglect in my weekly cleaning?
- What goals do I have for home maintenance this year?
- What projects relate to those goals?
Once you’ve made a list of projects, rank them in terms of importance, and write down how long each project might take to complete.
Set the Schedule
Your next step is to grab your calendar and block out time for spring cleaning. Be realistic about how much time you’re wiling to devote to getting it done. You might be the type of person that likes to work for a couple hours on one room, or you might like to devote an entire weekend to finishing several projects. Only you know what works best for you and your schedule. Now that you have a sufficient amount of time blocked out, write (or type) in the name of the project(s) you’re going to accomplish each day starting with those at the top of your priority list.
And remember to keep your notes in a file. If you don’t tackle a project this year, you will be able to get to it next year. I promise I won’t tell Martha Stewart that you didn’t flip your mattresses this year.
Do the Research
I won’t pretend to be an expert on the art of cleaning, but there are so many great resources on the Internet that tell you how to tackle specific projects. I came across this one in Real Simple’s April issue. So, do some brief research on your priority projects so you have all your bases covered.
Gather the Supplies
The importance of research is also to make sure you have supplies gathered in advance, instead of starting a project and realizing you need to run to the store. Start a shopping list of spring cleaning supplies you’ll need, and hit the stores one time. I long suspected that OxiClean (RIP Billy Mays) is the answer to all cleaning problems, so you might need to stock up.
Get to It
Now you know what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and how to do it, so I’m guessing you’re all set. Good luck and happy spring (cleaning)!