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reluctant spring cleaning

Hate big spring cleaning, but hate clutter and grime even more? Here are some ways to manage one, and eliminate the other, now and for the rest of the year.

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I love this time of year when I can finally open the doors and windows, and clean my house. The dust that makes me wheeze floats out the back door on our southwest breeze, and the house ends up smelling like clean laundry off the clothesline.

It’s not spring cleaning in the normal sense of the word. For me, it’s more of a decluttering and getting organized, which cleans my psyche. I feel light and free when my load is light.

I am not famous for my housekeeping. I am tidy and organized, but I let the floors and windows go longer than most people do. Others have shiny interiors, but they are not so good at decluttering and staying organized.

So I guess there is more than one way to accomplish ‘spring cleaning’. Here’s what I do.

Purging

I am really good at purging. I can clean out and giveaway carloads of stuff and never look back. Maybe twice in my life I’ve wanted something I’ve gotten rid of, but obviously, it didn’t kill me to not have those items.

My main purging guideline is If I haven’t used it or worn it in a year, it goes. This keeps my belongings down to things I actually use. I have very few just-in-case type items.

Clothes and furniture in good shape go to consignment shops. Books get sold on Amazon, and magazines go to the schools. Most of my kitchenware went to my older daughter when she got her own apartment. I bought it to cook for the kids, so it made sense to send it off to one!

Give it away and organize the rest

This year, I had a huge stack of art supplies from when my girls were still at home (one of those just-in-case things…). I distributed it to three artist friends. That was a relief! Extra office supplies went to friends, too.

Old blankets, towels, sheets and pillowcases always go to the animal shelter. The same goes for pet collars, bowls, and leashes. All the remaining pet things went into a recycled dog biscuit box.

Whatever is left over gets organized. This year, I cleaned and organized my office. I don’t have pens and markers rolling all over the place – they are in a small 3-drawer, desktop container along with other small items that don’t get used all the time. Paper clips and push pins are in recycled jelly jars. I got sticky notes for all those miscellaneous ideas I scribble out every day.

The actual cleaning

You’ve heard that phrase ‘cleaning for the cleaning lady’? That’s what I’m doing. When I’m done purging and organizing, I’ll clean like I normally do – sweep, vacuum, and clean the kitchen and bathrooms.

Then I’m going to hire a professional cleaner to do the big jobs:

  • Wash the walls and ceilings.
  • Wash the floors and baseboards.
  • Move the appliances and clean behind and under them.
  • Clean the drains, especially the one for the washing machine. (Ew!)
  • Dust off the light fixtures and clean the insides, if need be.
  • Wash the windows inside and out.
  • Clean out the track of the sliding glass door.
  • Vacuum the furniture.
  • Empty the closets and cupboards (that I just organized!), and clean them out.
  • Scrub the bathrooms completely.
  • Dust, dust, and dust some more.

Spring cleaning is different for everyone!

That is what spring cleaning looks like for an organized person that does not like to clean. If you don’t mind doing the deep clean, perhaps you need someone to come in, and purge and organize for you. Hey! We could work for each other! Let’s talk.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.