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  • Writer's pictureNicole Strachan

The Essentials of Spring Cleaning

Updated: Feb 1

Why We Spring Clean

Happy April! I’m pretty excited because it’s springtime, I love spring almost as much as I love summer. Spring represents renewal, birth, joy, love, and growth. Keeping these themes in mind, it’s natural that this is the time of year we synonymously associate with cleaning and clearing our homes.

Many cultures around the world have customs and celebrations announcing the glory and abundance that spring cleaning creates. I recall my Caribbean Grandmothers stories of pride in refreshing the paint, sweeping out the yard and, deep cleaning the home as part of the preparations leading up to Christmas and New Years' (there is no spring in the tropics). I have read that this tradition is rooted in African and Indigenous practices and is used as a way to welcome the blessing and fruitfulness of the new year. It’s a practice that is very similar to how we spring clean up here in Canada. Even some of the most renowned celebrations around the world like Nowruz and Lunar New Year have a spring cleaning element that is part of preparing for their celebrations.

Maybe this urge to clean is just out of tradition or maybe it's our spirit connecting to mother earth and harnessing the energy of spring. Or maybe it’s the fact that there’s more sunshine and it has increased our energy, but there is no denying the primal urge we all get to spring clean.

Where To Start

Spring cleaning for many is a daunting task. Some people get overwhelmed by the idea of deep cleaning the whole house, and the time it takes to do that. Some people genuinely despise cleaning. I'm the latter, I need to psych myself up to accomplish the big clean. This means I call myself out on my bs and resistance, then start to shift my mindset to clean. So my very first step in spring cleaning is to give yourself a cleaning affirmation to help power up your mindset. Make your affirmation fun, yet disciplined and only use positive wording like “I am the creator of cleanliness in my home”, “I love myself, and cleaning my home is part of my self-care” or my go-to “I am the POSH maven and I love my haven”.

Once you have your affirmation, your next step is planning out the time to accomplish this project. I recommend choosing a series of weekends generally starting in April. The amount of weekends you choose is up to your preference. Personally speaking, I will dedicate 1 day a week over 3-6 consecutive weekends. I allocate just 3 hours, on that specified day to accomplish that week’s task. On day 1, I grab a notepad and pen and complete a room-by-room walk-through to get started. I start in an area of my home that gets used the least. This is because I know this will be a room I likely have stashed something temporarily intending to get to it later. During the walkthrough, I note:

  • Anything that should not be there

  • If any light repairs are needed like filling in nail holes or touching up paint, etc...

  • If there are items that need to be purged like old furniture, batteries, cosmetics, etc...

After the walk-through, I use the list to plan out each weekend of work to keep myself on task. I assign 1- 2 rooms per day to complete and I like to save the garage for the last couple of weekends. This is because as I clear the house of any debris from repairs, household chemicals, donations, and so on, it’s a great transitional space until those items can be disposed of appropriately. The order of which days you do what is up to you. What's most important is to let this process flow with what energizes you so that you keep your motivation to complete the clean.

What to Clean & What to Purge

Now that you’ve started how are you going to do it? Not knowing what to clean can be part of the overwhelm. Use the below lists for some clarity on what you clean and what you purge:

What to Clean

  • Curtains, blinds, and all window treatments

  • Dust all door and window frames

  • Clean inside and outside of all windows and ledges

  • Vacuum and steam clean couches, mattresses, and soft-surface furniture

  • Vacuum and steam clean all carpeting and large rugs

  • Dust and wipe baseboards, vents, and ceiling fans

  • Dust and mop behind and under the stove, fridge, and large fixtures

  • Clean dishwasher filter

  • Dust all kitchen cabinets, the top of the fridge, and any other hard-to-reach areas

  • Wash pillows and duvets and swap out heavier bedding for lighter season-appropriate linens

What to Purge

  • Cosmetics and hair products

  • Household chemicals

  • Used batteries, and light bulbs

  • Old electronics

  • Expired pantry items

  • Outerwear

  • Clothing

  • Purses, shoes, and other accessories

  • Toys and board games

  • Furniture the kids have grown out of

  • Linens, towels, and bedding

  • Sports, and leisure equipment

  • Seasonal decor

  • Newspapers, magazines, and other miscellaneous papers

How to Dispose of Unusual Items

It’s important that when you are spring cleaning you dispose of all your unwanted items appropriately. Many municipalities have a drop-off program and take items like electronics, batteries, light bulbs, paint, cleaning chemicals, etc. Look into what your town or city's rules are for waste disposal. In Ontario (where I live) you can take your empty liquor, beer, and spirit bottles and cans to the Beer Store. The best part is they will give you a small refund per container, and you know that it is being properly recycled and diverted from the landfill. When it comes to old clothing consider if the items you are purging are still usable. If so you can sell them at a consignment or join a baby clothing swap group. You can also donate gently used items to community organizations like emergency housing and transitional living services. Animal shelters often welcome used bedding and towels. Just remember if you are donating or exchanging items, clean them before you hand them off.

After the clean

Once you have finished the spring clean, grab a cocktail and sit back and watch your home go into disarray again for the next 365 days. Just joking. This is the perfect time to assess and adjust any habits around how you manage your home. Look at creating new routines and introducing new organizational tools. Take a moment and look for where you can create easier systems that allow you to live with style and function. If this clean makes you realize you don't have great home organizational skills or you're a little dirtier than you thought you were, take the opportunity to make a list of what you can outsource to a pro.

Do you need a professional organizer, a laundry service, or a home cleaning service?

Whatever it is for you lean into this spring clean and harness the uplifted energy it gives you to rebirth whatever you want and need in maintaining your home with love.

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