Episode 59: Scrub A Dub Dub: Spring (Cleaning) In Your Step
Our clocks sprang forward yesterday, officially ushering in a lack of sleep and the start of spring. To kick off this beloved season, we’re talking about a beloved topic- spring cleaning. Okay, maybe beloved is a bit of a stretch, but our hope is that by the end of this episode you’ll have a little more spring in your step (see what we did there?) to jump start your spring cleaning. We’re covering everything from how to efficiently purge your closet to where to even begin on your spring cleaning checklist. So grab a vacuum, put in your earbuds, and get to listening/cleaning.
First of all, I want to clear the air with a confession and a statement of liberation. If detailed cleaning isn’t for you, OUTSOURCE IT, SISTER. For me, I care about overall cleanliness, but spending my Friday night poured over baseboards sounds like my own personal brand of torture. I would rather sacrifice one nice meal a month to have my house cleaned and just be responsible for general upkeep for the rest of the month. This may not be for everyone, but maybe there’s someone out there who needs permission to let that responsibility go and I want to let you know that it is OK.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Norwex rags are my cleaning BFF. The Envirocloth rags cost less then $20, last for over a year, and can go from cleaning counters to cleaning mirrors super seamlessly. Using these rags has allowed me to use less cleaning products (i.e. saving me money and assisting in my "going clean" transition) and has decreased the rag clutter around my apartment. If you're looking for a chemical free, easy to use cleaning product, here is your solution, my friend.
If you want to free up some closet space but aren’t ready to commit to parting ways with your clothes for good, this closet purge is for you. First, pull out all the clothes from your closet that you wouldn’t pick up off the rack in a store or that you haven’t worn in the past month. Move these clothes to a guest room closet, into a trash bag in your garage, or clear out some under the bed storage space. Out of sight, out of mind. Then, give yourself a timeline. If you can go a month without missing these clothing items or you forgot they were even there, it’s time to give them away or donate them. This system works well for anyone who, like myself, thinks "well what if I have an occasion where I really need to wear that hot pink shirt I bought my senior year of college?" You're leaving the door open, but clearing out space in your closet, and nine times out of ten, you won't even miss that hot pink shirt and can send it on its way in a month or so.
Started from the top now we're here. Oh that's not how the song goes? Well, that's how your cleaning regimen should go. Start up top and work your way down. Why would you vacuum your carpets if you haven't dusted the fan first? You wouldn't, because you would just end up retracing your steps. So, save yourself time and energy, and follow this simple cleaning rule of thumb.
Cleaning my fridge and pantry give me an odd sense of satisfaction and I take a weird sense of pride in having these areas organized. During your spring cleaning, take some time to rid your fridge of any old leftovers that you’ve forgotten about, any moldy produce hanging out at the bottom of a drawer, or any condiments that expired in 2013. And when you empty it all out, give the inside surfaces a good scrub down. Same goes for the pantry, get rid of the stale crackers and chips and cereal. And when you put everything back in, organize each shelf by type of food so you can more easily access what you have. I use these plastic baskets from Target to organize my dry goods and have my eye on these canned good organizers.
If you want to avoid the dreaded spring cleaning overhaul once a year, follow this weekly cleaning checklist to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Hit the big 3 every week: fridge, surfaces, and floors. Do a quick fridge sweep at the end of every week to get rid of anything that has gone bad. Clear off and wipe down surfaces with some multi surface cleaner (think coffee tables and night stands). Then, hit the floors. Vacuum and sweep after you've dusted, because you remembered to start from the top.
The biggest source of stress in my life is mail. I hate having papers strewn about on the table or counters, it makes me want to pull my hair out. My day-to-day solution is to put everything that doesn’t immediately need to be thrown away or tended to in a basket hanging in the kitchen. This is a great short term solution, but this is a good time of year to actually get them organized and taken care of. Also, because, taxes. This can be stressful because in my house, the record keeping primarily falls to Luke, but the clutter doesn’t bother him as much as it does me, so we really have to tag team this effort. Take a night, or weekend, and sit down with your spouse or by yourself to go through your papers and either dispose of old documents you don’t need to keep anymore (I’m pretty sure I still have pay stubs from jobs I had in college) or go completely paperless. My goal in life would be to be completely paperless and in preparing for this episode, I came across the Doxie Go SE scanner.This scanner is portable and rechargeable and it has an app that will sync up with your favorite digital organization app, like Trello or Evernote or whatever you use.
Dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, OH MY! Blinds, cabinets, and refrigerators, too. These things often get overlooked in our cleaning lives. These are the surfaces we take for granted around our homes, thinking they're exempt from a good scrub down. Wrong. I don't so much have tips for how to clean these things, but this is more of a PSA to clean your appliances. Empty your vacuum. Clean your coffee pot.
I’m all about having a catch all place for the things in life that don’t have a specific home, but every now and then, these catch all places need to be cleaned out themselves to make room for new junk. I always feel bad throwing “perfectly good stuff” away and tend to think “but maybe I could use it for _____ later.....”But chances are if I haven’t already used it, I’m not going to. If you have this same tension, reach out to someone who might have a better use for it first before you just throw it away. But the bottom line is, don’t hold onto things like that just because you feel bad or don’t know what to do with them. Purging your junk is good for your soul.
If you're reading this and feeling overwhelmed by all the cleaning that lies ahead of you, make it FUN. We know this really great podcast you can listen to... or you look up a fun spring cleaning playlist on Spotify or Pandora or pop in an old BBMak CD. Crank that volume all the way up, and GET AFTER IT. I can't say for certain, but there's probably science to prove that listening to music helps you clean more efficiently.