What separates the “Spring Cleaning” from routine cleaning is four seasons of wear and tear, and a full years-worth of built-up dirt and grime.
Hmm. Maybe that’s why it gets put off until summer? Thankfully for you, we’ve developed a rewarding process to we like to call the 3 C’s: clutter, clean, and celebrate.
The First C of Spring Cleaning: Clutter
Clutter is enemy #1. In addition to taking up valuable space, clutter makes it tough to see what you have, what you need, and what should be replaced. It also makes your house feel like a chaotic, stressful place, rather than the haven it should be.
With this in mind, the first of the three C’s is clutter, and now is the time to get rid of it.
If you’re going to do this, you’ll need a spring cleaning plan. First things first, it’s time to decide what stays and what goes. You can’t afford to take a random approach to this, though. Instead, move room by room and touch every item you see. As you pick it up and hold it, ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I use this?
- Do I need this?
- Do I love this?
If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” it’s time to get rid of the item. Don’t worry, though: getting rid of items doesn’t just mean throwing them out. Instead, you can donate them to a local charity, give treasured items to your close friends and family members, or sell them online. Here are a few tips to make money while decluttering:
Consign Big Items in Great Condition
Local consignment stores will accept private consignments on items like furniture and designer clothing. If you come across something that’s in good shape and has some value, but which you don’t want to keep, boost your efforts by taking it to a consignment store and making some extra cash off its sale.
Hold a Yard Sale
For smaller items that might not be as attractive to a consignment store, consider holding a yard sale. Yard sales are a fantastic way to make some extra money and get rid of unwanted clutter at the same time.
If you can (and you have neighbors who are interested), consider throwing a multi-family yard sale to maximize your offerings and make as much money as possible. Don’t forget to post signs and notices about your yard sale at least a week in advance, so people know it’s happening!
Give Back by Donating Unneeded Items
Another alternative to selling or consigning unneeded items is simply to donate them. If you choose this route, you can either take the items to a local thrift store, or donate them to a family in need.
Touch base with local charities (women’s shelters, for example, are commonly in need of household goods) to see where your items would be most in-demand, and which organization can use them to do the most good. Here are a few other platforms to consider if you’re going to donate your items:
- Colonial Van Lines Move for Hunger. Colonial Van Lines will help you collect and transport non-perishable food items to Move for Hunger, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works with relocation companies to collect non-perishable food items, and deliver them to food banks all across North America.
- Goodwill. Goodwill sells pre-owned clothing, household goods, and other items, and helps people with disabilities find gainful employment and improve their lives. Search Goodwill’s website for a branch near you and take your unwanted items there. Drop-off places are easy to find and use.
- Websites. That Will Pick Up. If you don’t have time to take your unwanted items anywhere, consider working with a donation website that will pick them up for you. Here’s a handy online donation website search tool to help you find one in your area.
- Churches and Shelters. Local churches and shelters are always looking for high-quality household items and will accept lightly used materials they can share with their followers and residents.
The 2nd C: Indoor & Outdoor Cleaning!
Now that you’ve gotten rid of clutter, it’s time to get to work on the actual cleaning portion of spring cleaning! Here are a few places to focus on:
- Indoors. Clean your carpets, floors, upholstery, and cabinets. Need a more in-depth guide? Check out this comprehensive spring cleaning checklist.
- Outdoors. The snow has melted and now is the time to clean up the outdoor areas of your home. Power wash the siding of your home, sweep patios, pick up firewood remnants, branches, and other debris, and give your yard a rake to help it grow in green and strong as spring rolls along.
- Focus on the Forgotten Tasks. There are dozens of places people forget or can’t get around to cleaning during their normal cleaning routines.
- pillows and drapery
- fans and air vents
- grout and baseboards
- window seals and sills
- oven and pantry
- inside and outside of the fridge
Sound like too much for one person to do? Consider having some friends over to help, and rewarding them with pizza and beer!
Safety First: Tips for Easing the Pain of Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning can be a pain in the neck, but it can also pose some health risks. Here are three simple tips for keeping the process safe and easy:
1. Keep Chemicals out of Reach of Children
Cleaning chemicals should always be kept safely out of reach of children. In addition to storing them high enough that kids can’t reach them, they should also be kept behind child-safe doors. Here are some additional tips for storing cleaning supplies safely.
2. Use Your Yoga Mat When Kneeling
Prevent knee injuries and keep yourself comfortable by using your yoga mat (or a gardening pad) to offer some relief to your knees while you’re kneeling.
3. Wear a Mask During Dusting
Prevent sneezes and respiratory irritation by wearing a mask as you dust your house. Simple masks can be purchased at your local hardware store and will prevent you from inhaling the irritants you dust off your shelves.
Pro-Tip: Spring cleaning doesn’t have to clean out your wallet. Check out this Frugal Spring Cleaning Checklist from our friends at The Simple Dollar.
The Final C: Celebration Day!
You’ve decluttered, you’ve cleaned, and now it’s time to celebrate! Now that your house is a fresh canvas, here are a few ways to celebrate your hard work:
Rearrange Furniture for a New Feel
Even if you haven’t replaced your furniture recently, rearranging it can make your home feel fresh and new.
To save yourself time and energy, draw up a floor plan of your space before you move anything around. Take measurements of your wall and your various furniture pieces and make a plan on paper before you start the grunt work.
Utilize Seasonal Decor
New seasonal plants or flowers, a simple new scent (like a candle or air freshener), or seasonal items you’ve had stored in your garage or basement can go a long way to make your home feel welcoming and beautiful.
Have a Party
What better way to celebrate your new space than to share it with the people you love most?
Once your house is cleaned and decluttered, plan an activity like having a neighbor over for coffee or planning a playdate for the kids. A simple dinner party is another great way to celebrate your hard work and show it off.
Need some help moving your unwanted items during Spring Cleaning? Contact Colonial Van Lines today for a free quote on our moving services!