Even though, it was a mild winter, and the windows were cracked open once in a while, I am still spring cleaning to remove winter staleness. What a great time of year to shake out bedding an curtains, move furniture around and deep clean! Dust flies out, and freshness takes its place.
The first step in spring cleaning is to de-clutter. Put things where they belong. I find that when I put things away as soon as I use them, I have way less tidying up to do all the time. Getting in that habit is hard, though!
De-cluttering with a vengeance
Consider the things you use every day. Now consider the things you don’t use. Will you ever use them? Do you keep them around for ‘just in case’? Do you have clothes that don’t fit and never will? Are there books you will never read again? How about magazines? Have they piled up in a corner to read ‘someday’? CDs? DVDs? Kid’s toys, clothes and books? Tools? Gardening supplies? My rule of thumb is that if I have not used something in a year, I get rid of it. I never look back, either. I’m ruthless about cleaning out Stuff.
There are many places to donate things you don’t use anymore – Good Will, the Salvation Army, thrift stores, battered women’s shelters. Books and magazines can go to the library or a school.
Spring cleaning by selling your stuff
You can also have a yard sale! Get together with your neighbors, and see if they are interested in having multi-family yard sale. Besides creating community, it brings in more customers, because of the huge variety of items available within close proximity of each other.
With the money you make, you can upgrade the things you want to keep or buy something you really need. Just don’t buy more stuff to clutter up your house!
Spring cleaning safely
Inspect your furniture. Rejuvenate it with new, non-toxic upholstery fabric or a coat of low VOC paint or stain. This is also a good time to refinish your floors and paint walls. A coat of paint can make a room look brand new for little money. Spring means new and fresh!
A few years ago, my neighbor down the hill was cleaning her house. All I could smell on the wind was bleach! My eyes began to water, and I started to wheeze. When bleach is mixed with elements found in the house (urine, other cleaners), it becomes toxic and carcinogenic. It can be deadly when it is an ingredient in cleaning products. Ads say bleach is the best for cleaning, killing germs and disinfecting, but there are safe alternatives to avoid the toxicity, spare your health and that of the environment. Most household cleaners contain harmful ingredients, so do yourself a favor, and ditch them!
Green spring cleaning with white vinegar, lemon juice, and essential oils
White vinegar cleans everything. I clean my entire house with vinegar! It’s a non-toxic and inexpensive food product that acts as a disinfectant and deodorizer. Add vinegar to wash water for hardwood and tile floors, windows, entire bathrooms, your coffee pot, pet messes and carpets. Mix it with baking soda to create a bubbly mixture that will unclog drains and scrub your toilet.
Add lemon juice or a few drops of essential oils (lemon, rosemary, tea tree) into your vinegar and water mixture for anti-bacterial properties. A gallon of vinegar, a box of baking soda and a few lemons are much cheaper than any household cleaner you can buy off the shelf. Healthier, too!
Don’t forget a garden and yard spring clean
Include your yard in your spring cleaning whirl! Rake up old leaves and dead grass, and compost them. Prune trees and shrubs, divide perennials, top off your mulch, and inspect and upgrade your irrigation and hardscaping (walkways, patios, decks). Trade plants and/or seeds with your neighbors. Organize a seed/plant swap for the neighborhood. One of my favorite aspects of gardening is giving away plants that are crowded and receiving plants someone else has tended. Spring is the perfect time for this, since the plants have all summer to grow. Fall is another appropriate time for swapping and planting.
Don’t put off Spring Cleaning! Soon it will be too hot to move, and you won’t be motivated to do the work. I sure won’t! Now, while the days are still cool, clean out, de-clutter, simplify and upgrade creating a fresh, new feeling in your home.