Spring cleaning is one of my all time favorite activities, and there is zero sarcasm in that statement. I love the feeling of starting fresh with a clean home, less clutter, and more space for abundance to grow. Fun fact? I considered becoming a professional organizer as a career at one point. I’ve helped many friends along the way, and used to even get hired for closet clean outs. Although I don’t have professional training, I’m kind of a pro.
After years of spring cleaning for myself and others, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.
Plan ahead. Make a schedule, set time aside in your calendar, commit to that time. There are nine areas of cleaning below, and I suggest tackling only a few per day so that the whole process is less daunting. If you have more time, go for it, but it’s easy to get burnt out when cleaning your own space. For some reason, it takes an emotional toll. You can schedule one project after work on weekdays or up to three projects on weekends.
1. Digital declutter. When you think of spring cleaning, it’s usually with your home or office in mind. Your email inbox and apps don’t usually get a second thought. Start with these tips (which include cleaning/organizing your inbox, deleting old apps and organizing the ones you use, making storage space for photos on your phone, and disabling notifications), then take it a step further by unsubscribing on a massive scale. I use unroll.me for email subscriptions and Catalog Choice for physical catalogs (not digital, but the process is online so I’m including this task here) It will take some time, but I promise it will be worth it. And think of how many trees you’ll save!
2. Purse purge. Take everything out of your wallet and purse or tote… and I mean every single thing. Throw away any trash, old receipts, and unused loyalty cards. For receipts that you need to save for work, put them in a pile and schedule a time to add them to your expenses.
Organize what’s left in your bag and wallet so the items you use more often are the most easily accessible. I keep this clear large pouch in my day tote at all times and switch it when I switch bags. I like to have a clear one so that I can see what I’m looking for on the go.
3. Bathroom binge. Think about all the products and make up that you have had sitting around for weeks, months, even years! Spend some time cleaning out old products that you haven’t used in the last three months months. If you want to take it a step further, check out the products that you are keeping and read the ingredients. Are they full of chemicals? Every day we come into contact with harsh chemicals and toxins in laundry detergent, make up, shampoo, and even toothpaste.
Try to remove one chemicalized product in your bathroom and replace it with a clean and natural organic version of the same thing. Check out this website to find out how healthy and green your products are.
4. Closet clean out. I’m doing my spring closet clean out this weekend and I’m beyond excited to get rid of some old things I never wear, to make room for new pieces that I love. I wrote a post two years ago with my step by step instructions for closet clean outs and they still stand strong. The only thing I’ll add on now is that if you haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book, I’d recommend getting it first. Learning how to let go of everything that doesn’t “spark joy” makes a huge difference.
5. Kitchen confidential. We’re lucky to be going through a kitchen reno right now because it jump started our spring cleaning. We had to take every single item out of our cabinets and drawers, and I encourage you to do the same! Granted, we had to do it all at once, but I suggest one drawer/cabinet at a time.
Do the same with your fridge and pantry. Don’t be surprised if you find a jar of something or another that expired over a year ago!
Here’s how to do it: Take everything out, assess if you use it or not, wipe down the shelf or drawer, and put everything back. Create three piles:
- I eat/use this regularly
- I’ve had this for months but want to use it
- I will never eat/use this, ever.
The number 1s, organize by food group and put back. The number 2s, put in a pile and write out a recipe or date for when you will use them. The number 3s, put in a box and donate or throw away if it has gone bad.
6. Ditch your ratty socks. Someone once told me that there’s not reason to live with holes in your socks. When you clean out your sock and underwear drawer, only leaving the things that feel comfortable and make you happy, it can be weirdly life changing. I know that sounds crazy, but try it! And invest in some new socks and undies. They don’t have to be fancy or expensive… just preferably not falling apart.
7. Tackle your work space. Whether you work from home, at an office, or are a stay at home mom, everyone has a space where they do their work. Keeping this clean and organized is essential for her productivity and success.
- Take everything off of your desk/table/area and wipe it down
- Put things back only that you use often or that make you smile when you look at them (e.g. put your stapler in a drawer unless you’re always reaching for it. Clutter on your desk is known to distract you from work, so keep it as open as possible
- Clean out each drawer and get rid of whatever you don’t need. Organize the drawers so what you use most often is easiest to reach
8. Get organized. Think of the spaces that you use often, but probably don’t pay much attention to like a linen closet or laundry room. Take a few hours to organize these spaces. Next time you go to use them, you’ll smile at how nice it feels, I promise!
9. Deep clean. When we lived in NYC, we used to hire a service to deep clean our apartment twice a year. In Connecticut, the weird black dirt/soot that ends up in every crevice is no longer a problem, but we like to do a deep clean yearly anyway. You can hire someone or easily do this yourself. Clean your house as you usually would but add on some extras like washing your windows, scrubbing your oven, microwave, and fridge, taking a Magic Eraser to any marks on the walls, and getting your carpets cleaned. You won’t realize how dirty things have gotten until you see how clean it all is in the end.
I recommend doing this as your last step, after you’ve completed everything above. That way it won’t get messed up while you’re completing the other tasks.
10. Plan for the future. This isn’t cleaning per se, but I find spring to be a great time to get done those pesky plans you’ve been “meaning to do forever”. For us, that means hanging curtain rods in my new office, painting the nursery, buying a rug pad for one of our rugs that’s always sliding, changing the knobs on my dresser,
Photos originally from this post.