Spring is here! After a long winter of being indoors, there comes the point, amongst the gathering mess, when you ask yourself, “How did this happen?” It’s as if the clutter and the dirt just materialized on its own. Or worse, you’ve become so accustomed to the mess that you don’t even notice until you have family over and they ask you if you’re ok. Life is stressful enough already. Spending a few minutes to make a plan now can save you time and energy during the cleaning process. Here are a few tips to make your spring cleaning easier.
Get mentally prepared.
The only part of spring cleaning that most people look forward to is when it’s complete. At first glance, it can seem daunting. But there are tricks to make it more manageable. To get yourself motivated it would help to understand WHY more than 3/4 of Americans participate in spring cleaning activities. Spend a few minutes in a quiet space to visualize the end result. How will you feel when the project is complete? When you can see your home as a clean, organized space, it will be easier to take that first step.
Create a list.
Note all the areas that are not part your routine cleanings. Start inside then work your way outside. For example, all those surfaces that build up dirt, grime, mold, calcium, lime and rust deposits over time; around sinks, tubs, showers, tile, cooking areas, appliances, closets, blinds, ceiling fans, coffee pots, barbecue grills, and patio furniture.
Plan for the way you work best.
After you understand the scope of the project, figure out how you’d like to schedule the work. Maybe it's 20-minute sprints several days a week, or perhaps you’d rather block out an entire weekend to tackle everything at once. Do you like to work alone listening to music, podcasts or an audible book? Or maybe you prefer chatting with a friend while you work. You don’t have much control over where you clean, but you do have control over how you clean.
Schedule the necessary outside services.
As the weather starts to warm, cleaning services will book up fast. Schedule services that you may need, like carpet cleaners, recycling or donation pick-up, window washers, gutter cleaners, or garbage pick up for larger items. You may even decide to hire a company to do the bulk of the cleaning, but real satisfaction is usually achieved when you do the work yourself. Fortunately, there are cleaning products that can make certain jobs much easier.
Stock up on the right supplies.
Waiting to pick up products you need as you need them not only wastes time but can also cost you more money. Take inventory of what you have then make a list. When selecting cleaning products there are two factors to keep in mind, How well does it work for the job? And is it safe to use around the family and pets? Before you buy cleaning products, check the label. Some ingredients are known to be more harmful to your health. Avoid aerosol sprays and products containing methylene chloride, benzene, and bleach. These ingredients are common in cleaning products, but they can cause respiratory problems and can be dangerous when used with other cleaning solutions.
Look for products that carry the Safer Choice mark on the label. This ensures that the manufacturer follows strict criteria for safe ingredients as outlined by the EPA.
Foaming products are especially helpful when cleaning vertical surfaces to avoid streaks and will help keep the product on the surface where it can be useful and out of the air and other surfaces.
We may be a little biased, but below is a list of products with a handy guide to help you choose products that are both effective and safe for your family:
CLR® Calcium Lime Rust Remover: A multi-use cleaner that dissolves hard water buildup caused by calcium and lime deposits. Also formulated to remove surface rust. Safe on all plumbing.
CLR® Bath and Kitchen Cleaner: A multi-purpose, multi-surface cleaner that quickly cuts through calcium, lime and hard water deposits, soap residue and dirt.
CLR® Mold and Mildew: A bleach-free formula designed to quickly and easily remove tough mold and mildew surface stains from a variety of surfaces.
CLR® Stainless Steel Cleaner: Most stainless steel cleaners are oil-based, which attracts dust that causes the marks to quickly return to stainless steel surfaces. CLR® Stainless Steel Cleaner is a water-based solution that leaves a streak-free, shiny protective barrier that repels fingerprints, dust, dirt, and grime.
CLR® Stone Cleaner: For granite, marble, Corian®, tile and other smooth stone surfaces. It provides a streak-free shine. Safe to use, will not scratch. Removes food and grime with one step cleaning and protection.
CLR® Stain Magnet: Removes tough stains and spots from nail polish, lipstick, paint, shoe polish, oil, red wine, ink, crayon, permanent markers, and even pet stains. It’s safe on a wide variety of surfaces including painted walls, hardwood floors, baseboards, carpet, fabric, glass, metal, brick, concrete, marble, laminated countertops, fully cured and oil-based painted surfaces, hard plastics, automobile tires, wood, grout, and fiberglass. Part of the EPA’s Safer Choice program for safer chemistry.
Now that you have a plan, stay tuned for next month’s newsletter with tips for cleaning and organizing the inside of the home.