Tips for Spring Cleaning…All Year Long
I keep seeing posts about Spring Cleaning all over the place and while I know this annual ritual is a great idea, in theory, I’ve found it’s much easier to maintain a healthy, happy, organized home if you’re “Spring Cleaning” all year long.
Here are some easy ways we keep the clutter and chaos contained every day of the year so when it comes to Spring, all we have to do is bask in its glory:
1) Keep a Goodwill bag in everyone’s closet at all times. I use those free hand-out tote bags you get practically everywhere today and I keep one in everyone’s closet so when I come across something that is too small or hasn’t been worn in months, it goes right into the bag instead of the back of the drawer. Then we donate those goods once per month or so to keep our closets in constant rotation.
2) One in, three out. We’ve had to put a rule in place when it comes to kids’ toys, stuffed animals, even books. For every new one that comes in, we (try to) donate three. It keeps our playroom in check so that we’re not left feeling overwhelmed post-Christmas and birthdays or when those Spring Cleaning stories start popping up. We also have a rule about broken toys. They go as soon as they break. We don’t keep them around in case we can fix them or sew them up or revive them. They go right away. No, this isn’t always an easy conversation to have. But it’s a battle worth picking, in my Type A opinion.
3) Keep cleaning products everywhere. I keep every bathroom in the house stocked with its own set of essential cleaning products (in a caddy for easy access) so I can do a quick wipe-down or dusting whenever I have a free minute (i.e. if the kids are busy in the bath or playing quietly) without having to trek down to the laundry room where we house most of our cleaning supplies (you can use closets for the same purpose). That way surfaces don’t have a chance to pile up dust and dirt and there is never a need for an annual “deep clean” because we do mini cleans all the time.
4) I clean the fridge every Sunday. When I bring home the week’s groceries, I take a minute to assess the fridge and pantry before piling the new stuff in. I throw out old items, check expiration dates, give each shelf a quick wipe down before I load it back up. It’s much easier to take it on one week at a time when the mess is seemingly manageable and gives me an odd sense of satisfaction when it’s clean and newly stocked. I also love to use clear glass containers to store my eggs, fruit, etc. so that it’s visually appealing when I open it (see image above). It inspires me that much more to keep it clean, all year long.
5) Stop clutter at the door. I sort through my mail at the recycling bin and toss out junk before it has even entered the house (my goal is to put a “no flyers” note in our mailbox but I never get around to it and I don’t really want to annoy my lovely mail guy). I don’t let the kids’ art projects from school (lovely as they are) pile up, either. I see it, fawn over it, and often covertly put it in the recycling bin after bed time. Trust me, they rarely even remember it come morning. I don’t keep drawers full of coupons with the hope of using them some day. If I get a really good one, I keep it in my wallet for easy access. No more paper take-out menus allowed, either. We have the internet for that, friends. If you start to filter what comes into your house before it even enters, you’ll be one step ahead of your chaos every day of the year.
In the end, I just truly believe in a clear space and a clear mind…and I always remind myself of that. I have seen firsthand how physical clutter can lead to mental clutter with friends and family members and I keep those examples in the back of my head as a reminder whenever I need a little extra motivation to clear out the cobwebs (physical and metaphorical). I truly believe that too much stuff and/or physical chaos can lead to stress and anxiety and I’d rather we live in a space that is organized, minimal and a blank canvas for our busy lives. Find a process that works for you and brings a sense of peace and ease to your mind every day of the year and you can leave these lovely Spring days to the birds and the bees.
*PS – has anyone read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up yet? Thoughts? Worth the read?