This post was originally sent to SheKnows.com when I (Katrina) was asked to share my opinion on spring cleaning.
As the name implies, spring cleaning is historically conducted once a year in spring. It used to be the way to clear out the winter clutter and refresh your home in preparation for warmer weather. In the past, winter was a time when people slept a lot more, stayed indoors as much as possible, relied on a fire to stay warm, and tended to let things get pretty dirty. Airing out the house meant letting out all the warm air and risking cold and financial hardship. You can imagine that spring cleaning was not just for fun, but an absolute necessity.
Maybe you’ve noticed? The urge to conduct a massive spring cleaning is practically genetic at this point.
But today we have central heating, consistent lighting, and our schedules are much less linked to the weather and seasons. The reality is that spring cleaning today means something different from what it used to. And there’s no excuse to avoid staying tidy year round. So what can you do to incorporate the beneficial and refreshing effects of spring cleaning, even when it’s not spring?
1. Spread Out the Time
A major spring cleaning is usually a big undertaking that can last for days. Who has the time to take a week and do it properly? You can make the job easier if you take steps throughout the year to do major cleaning and organizing jobs that don’t have to happen often. How often do you clean your refrigerator? Using the fridge will be quicker and easier if it’s organized and you do it at least once a month.
Spring cleaning is also usually a time of getting rid of all the old stuff that’s piling up in the garage, closets, and attic. This kind of de-clutter can be conducted on a more regular basis than once a year, and it’ll make keeping the house clean and organized easier on a day-to-day basis.
2. Every Season Deserves a Cleaning
Each time the seasons change, you’ll want to organize your life around the coming weather, from seasonal fashion shifts to practicalities like back-to-school or pulling out your cozy flannel bedsheets.
Make a list of organizing priorities at the beginning of each month that precipitates a change of season (September, December, March, and June). By putting away things that belong to the previous season and taking out things you’ll need for the coming season, you can avoid unnecessary clutter. Store with care the things worth keeping, and get rid of anything you wouldn’t bother to care for. I advocate that fall cleaning should be a thing, and that’s just one step in the right direction.
3. Waiting for a Big Clean Is NOT Better
When you leave the big jobs for spring, you end up putting off the cleaning for much longer than is really beneficial. Carpets should be regularly vacuumed and cleaned for longevity. Window washing once a year is just not often enough. There are plenty of bigger jobs that should be done quarterly, at least, in order to ensure you’re not working against yourself all year. Avoiding deep cleans does damage to things like drapes, carpeting, and furniture.
4. A Consistent Plan is More Realistic
Even if you do conduct a once-a-year spring clean, it’s not realistic to assume you’ll actually clean everything that needs cleaning. Instead, make a consistent cleaning plan that you can implement all year round. The real way to stay tidy and organized is to turn cleaning and organizing into regular habits, not something you do only for special occasions.
5. Save Money
There are many reasons why being organized saves you money. If you get rid of seasonal stuff before it takes up space in your attic for 9 months, it might be worth selling online or donating for the tax break. When you stay organized on a regular basis, you won’t lose things that are still around. How many pairs of sunglasses do you really need? Do you buy a new pair because you ‘lost’ one, only to find it under that pile of magazines weeks later? And people who clean up their messes often find money under and in their junk!
Your life can be better organized and your home will be cleaner if you do what needs to be done on a regular basis. If you make the job easier by breaking it into smaller jobs, you’ll find ways to be totally organized all year round. There’s even the case against spring cleaning, which argues that by relegating this task to once a year, you do more damage than good. Start today, not months from now when it’s time for ‘spring cleaning’.