4/9/2012

spring cleaning : five steps to a clean house

It is officially that time of year to clean house inside an out. Welcome to my weekly series on Spring Cleaning. Until summer I am going to post weekly tips for cleaning up your life. I mentioned in a post a while back about going on a 5 day juice fast this month as a way to cleanse my body and I still plan to do that. Today I want to get down to basics – tips to having a clean home. This might be too basic for those of you that have a handle on what that looks like but for me this has not always been easy. Having a clean house will bring you more comfort, peace, and stability. Think of how good it feels to walk into a clean, well organized home. I notice a huge difference in my life when I am keeping a clean home and when I let it get out of hand. Follow these steps to clean up and maintain a clutter free, inviting home.

Let’s get started!

1. Schedule your cleaning. This is the first step to achieving a clean house. I break my schedule into three parts, daily, weekly, and monthly. The things I typically do daily are dishes, wipe down kitchen counters, sweep up around the liter box, and make the bed. My weekly list includes taking out the trash and recycling, taking care of paperwork, sweeping the entire house, laundry (sometimes every other week depending) and tidying up the bathroom. Monthly I typically hire a lady from my neighborhood who mops, cleans the bathroom and the windows and I change the cat box. The key with these scheduled cleanings is that your house will stay clean if you do little things here and there. It is much easier to maintain a clean home when you schedule it out this way versus saving it all for one day a month, then it can get overwhelming.

2. Tackle that closet. We all have items in our wardrobe that we no longer wear or need, some of us more than others. We might be hanging on to items because they have sentimental value which is perfectly fine, but there are probably other articles that we could easily sell on ebay, take to a resale shop or donate to Goodwill. Set aside 2 hours and go through every item in your closet and make three piles. One for keeps, one that can definitely go, and one that you don’t really wear often but have reasons for hanging on to it. Once you have removed what you don’t want go through the other piles and evaluate your choices. If there are things you can part with do so, if this exercise was already too intense stop. Believe me, I know how emotional this can be. The point is to get started, you can always do another closet overhaul over the summer. I would also suggest enlisting a close friend to help you. I have had countless friends over the years sit with me while I go through this process. They can help me when I am on the fence about something and if you’re lucky they will tell you when something has got to go!

3. Get organized. Everything in your home should have a place. One of the biggest issues for people and where they tend to get overwhelmed is when they have lots of stuff and no place to put it. This is where clutter starts and it can get ugly fast! In this past this has been an issue for me and it got to a point where I would just shove things in drawers just so that I would not have to look at it anymore. I do not recommend this approach! Just like the closet exercise find your areas of clutter and go through them. Figure out what you can discard and what you want to keep. Once you have what you want figure out a place to put it. Maybe you need to take a quick trip to the dreaded Ikea and buy boxes for organizing your office and paperwork, whatever it is take the time to get it done and be sure to label your storage containers. You will be happy you took the time to get organized you will save time in the future because you will know exactly where everything is!

4. Start Small. There is no need to get in over your head and take on too much at once. Asses what needs to be done, make a list and work on one area at a time. When you have completed a task, cross it off the list and start on the next. If you have a very busy schedule and feel like you don’t have the time or energy to clean up and maintain a clean home see what small steps you can take. Maybe you can start with one hour a week or you can spend 20 minutes a day. Think about how much time you spend online or watching TV and use some of that time for cleaning up. You will be surprised at how little time it actually takes if you focus and clean up on a regular basis. It is also perfectly okay to hire a professional to help you.

5. Reward your hard work. This step is key. I know how challenging it is to clean up, especially closets and clutter areas. For me it can be very emotional and it is important to reward myself when I have accomplished a big task. When you have reached a point in your cleaning and have crossed some big ticket items off of your check list do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself to a nice meal, a trip to the movies, or a relaxing afternoon drinking tea in your clean home ;)

Here’s to having a clean, organized home this spring! I am heading out to Target in a bit to pick up a few more supplies myself so I can keep my new apartment nice and clean. Hope you all have a great week. More soon!

xoa

 

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