Come the first hints of spring and many households around the world go into a frenzy of action: cleaning in every nick and cranny, polishing windows, overhauling the garden and the car, renovating, redecorating, refurbishing …
If you do it, you end up exhausted (and sometimes with an empty wallet). If you don’t do it, you’re frowned upon. If you do a half-assed job, you feel guilty. So what’s the low-down on getting through, around, over or by this annual monster?
Firstly, who says that spring cleaning has to be done in the spring? If you make a habit of tackling a small area of your living space regularly then you are always on top of it all and can make the annual spring clean just a slightly more thorough clean and air of the place.
In days gone by, it did have its reasons. The spring cleaning was done when the days were finally warm (and dry) enough to open the windows, put everything out to air, sweep out the dust and debris which had accumulated through the long winter months when most people were as good as housebound, and get things clean (and dry) again.
Nowadays we are much luckier. We are much more sheltered from the elements, have household appliances galore and are not totally dependent on the weather for our actions. So there is no need to rush into action the moment the first daffodils nod their heads and leaves show a hint of their upcoming splendor. In fact, using the long winter months in that horrible ‘blah’ time between New Year and spring is an ideal time to deal with the bulk of your spring cleaning.
Tackle a cupboard, closet, drawer, shelf or corner at a time. Pull everything out, see what’s in there, what’s broken or outlived its use, what needs cleaning, what you want to keep – give the area a quick dust, polish or vacuum and then put anything which is being kept back. Then, the next time you’re wondering what to do with the long, dark, cold day, tackle another area. Take things to the dump, recycling points or charity shops as soon as you can. It’s better to make four or five trips rather than having yet another pile of stuff accumulating in a corner.
When the sun does start to shine warmly and the birds are singing, fling open the windows, get rid of the dust under the sofa or behind the cabinet, and do the rest of the stuff with lots of fresh air swirling around you.
On another bright and sunny day, tackle the windows. Outside repairs, repainting and chores don’t need to be done as soon as the weather allows it either. You have all spring, summer and autumn to do them.
By spreading the tasks out over time and by making the sorting and tidying a habit, you’ll soon find that the spring clean is something to look forward to rather than something to be dreaded.
Go on, try it.