Spring Cleaning: Where To Begin and How To Proceed
Why Clean in the Spring?
Spring cleaning is a wonderful way to beat the winter blahs. It give the mind and body something to do: a focus. It keeps one active, and rids the home of the clutter and the dirt that weigh one down. The winter colds are cleansed away, along with the winter decorations. Spring is in the air, and a smile on the faces of all who feel it. When spring does arrive, bright and cheerful, the home will be ready!
Spring cleaning is an opportunity to make the home ready for all of the activities that summer will bring. It is an occasion to unclutter that space you have been wanting to reclaim. It is a time to feel good, despite the cloudy skies.
Why spring clean? To help pass time, until spring really does arrive, and to keep seasonal depression at bay!
If you have never taken on a spring cleaning, it can be challenging to know where and how to begin. You may be plagued with thoughts of your grandmother cleaning the life out of every object in her home and vacuuming the cellar. Maybe your mother was like mine, and declared war on the ceilings each spring. Maybe it is a time to redecorate and take down the Christmas lights.
Every home is going to need different things at this time of year, but there are a few basics that will help to make the process easy.
- Decide what needs to be done by deciding the desired outcome.
- Gather the proper cleaning supplies.
- Set up a cleaning schedule, with an estimated amount of time for each project.
Homemade Cleaning Supplies
~ All Purpose Scrub
Mix equal amounts of distilled white vinegar and salt.
Use a washcloth to scrub surfaces with. Store extra in an air tight container.
~ Natural Glass Cleaner
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 cups warm water
Mix and pour into a spray bottle. Use newspaper to scrub the glass with, for a streak free shine.
~ A Gentle Cleanser
- 1-2 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's soap
- 2 cups of warm water
Mix and pour into a spray bottle. Mist and wipe the surface clean.
Regardless of my desired outcome, there are a few things I take on every year.
- Declutter the closets, pantry and cupboards.
- Wash the walls and touch up the paint.
- Wash the windows and clean the curtains, valances and blinds.
- Sand and refinish window casings, doors and cupboards, as needed.
- Thoroughly clean the floors. Hard floors get a new coat of wax and carpets are steam cleaned.
- Clean out the oven, refrigerator and freezer: inside, outside, under and behind.
- Clean under and around the clothes washer and dryer.
- Sort clothing and books: get rid of what is no longer needed.
- Clean out any 'junk' drawers. Keep only what you actually use.
- Make any necessary repairs.
Some years, this is all I do.
Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
When the Spring Cleaning bug bites, I often have a hard time deciding just what needs to be done. I have so many ideas, I find it difficult not to get carried away and turn my spring cleaning into a whole house makeover.
Once the basic cleaning is done, I like to write out my desired outcome for each room. In order to define my thoughts and establish what is most important, I determine the main purpose of that room and the mood I want it to hold. Then, through research and experience, I write myself an article on creating the desired atmosphere. If redecorating is involved, I consult the budget before proceeding.
I also like to look around the house and see how different pieces of furniture might be re-purposed. I decide what I can do without spending money first, and once those things are accomplished I can better determine whether my other ideas are needed or even wanted.
"Make your whole year's plans in the spring, and your day's plans in the morning."
-- Chinese Proverb
Maintaining Your Work
Following a basic cleaning schedule is imperative to maintaining the hard work you have just done. I recommend deciding how often a certain chore needs to be done and finding a time to do it, as there is nothing more discouraging than seeing your work disappear in a matter of days.
This may mean creating some new habits. It may mean teaching your children to clean up after themselves. Whatever it is, I know you are capable of accomplishing it.
When my cleaning is done and my home is bright and cheerful, but the skies outside my home are not, there are a few things I like to do to make it seem like spring.
Force Blooms: By cutting branches from flowering bushes or trees, and placing them in warm water indoors, I soon have branches with flowers and leaves.
Bulbs: Bouquets of spring bulbs, just waiting to grow, are readily available. I like to bring one home and use it as center piece for the month or two that it is lovely. After it has bloomed and died down, I replant the bulbs in my yard, where they will bloom again, next year.
Cut Flowers: Okay, so these are great all year around, but especially in the spring when a touch of bright color seems imperative.
Lighter Curtains and Brighter Throws: When the insulation factor of my winter curtains is no longer needed, I enjoy lightening my window treatments. Sheer curtains and silky valances help create a spring time mood. Likewise, thinner throws and lacy pillowcases help to spell spring.
A Little History:
During the dark ages, spring cleaning was the one time of year when everything was washed and clean -- including the people.
The weather had warmed up, and the reeds covering the stone floors where no longer needed. They were removed from the house, along with the manure that had accumulated over the winter, as sheep and horses were often kept in the home.
The dust and ashes where swept from the walls and rafters. Beds were washed and remade, while the straw mattresses where emptied, aired and re-stuffed. Linen table clothes where washed and whitened in the sun.
The prevy was re-dug, and the barns thoroughly cleaned. If the thatched roof was in need of repair or the walls replastered, spring was the time to care for those things. Summer would bring other chores.
When all the cleaning was done, it was time for one's annual bath!
Nowadays, our lives are much less ruled by the seasons. We bath daily and clean our homes on a regular basis. We have carpets to vacuum, not reeds to rid ourselves of. We litter train our animals, and sheep are not welcome indoors. Many things have changed, but still, the concept of spring cleaning remains.