What’s the most important task when it comes to spring cleaning?
Hint: If you overlook it, it’ll cost you time and money.
Answer: Making a list.
If you work out your schedule, tactics and materials in advance, you’ll not only get things done in the right order; you’ll also avoid missing crucial jobs that simply must be done.
Fortunately, it’s not as difficult or time consuming as you might imagine — because there are plenty of checklists online that you can use to draw up your spring cleaning schedule. All you need to do is to enter “spring cleaning checklist” in your favorite web search app. You’ll get plenty of choices and many of them are downloadable. You can print them out and identify the items you need to cover in your clean-up program.
Or, to save time, go here and find a template that suits you: https://tinyurl.com/cleaning-templates.
Four Key Strategies
The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) recommends you follow these four key strategies:
Strategy #1: Clear It Out – That means getting rid of things that you no longer need and that clutter your home. Look for opportunities to recycle wherever you can. If you don’t already know, check with your garbage collection company on what can be recycled. If you can’t recycle, can you sell items through garage sales or even consignment shops? Alternatively, you might be able to donate products either to a charity shop or a local organization that gives stuff away for free to members, like Freecycle. (In Maine, there are several Freecycle groups. See: https://www.freecycle.org/browse/US/Maine)
Strategy #2: Inventory Your Supplies – Make sure you have the correct cleaning supplies and tools. The basic items, says ACI, include all-purpose sprays, powders and liquid cleaners, abrasive and non-abrasive cleaners, bleach, glass cleaner, dusting products and toilet bowl cleanser. You may also need cleansers for particular types of surfaces, such as metal polish or granite counter cleaners. Also check your supplies of cleaning sponges, cloths, trash bags and vacuum cleaner products.
Some people like to mix their own cleaning fluids. This can save you money and be more eco-friendly. However, it’s important to follow instructions and use only safe products. Simply do an online search for ideas and recipes.
Strategy #3: Have A Plan – Once you have your list, try to organize the tasks into the most efficient schedule. For instance, you might want to work through one room at a time. Or you might decide to do one particular type of cleaning — ceiling fans or windows for example — while you have the right cleaning products to hand. If you’re moving room to room, work out the best order, starting with those that get the most use. Leave vacuuming or floor sweeping to the last task. Otherwise you might end up doing it twice.
It’s important that you allow plenty of time for this annual chore. You won’t be working at it non-stop, but, according to the ACI, the average time span for a thorough cleaning is six days. Some homemaking experts even suggest you spread it out over 30 days.
Strategy #4: Recruit help – “Many hands make light work.”
Make it a family affair by planning a ‘Start Spring Cleaning Day’. Be prepared with a task list that is suitable for ages and skills, and organize a celebratory meal upon completion such as a pizza party or BBQ. Another possibility is to pair up with a friend, working together on each other’s homes.
If a task looks simply too daunting, consider calling in a professional to handle some of the chores such as windows and carpets cleaning.
You probably already have in mind your key spring cleaning tasks but if you need yet more help, the Cleaning Institute offers other tips to make spring cleaning easier. Start by visiting their main site at www.cleaninginstitute.org.
Also, Consumer Reports magazine has a whole collection of 33 how-to videos showing spring cleaning tips for your home, including spring cleaning energy saving tips. You’ll find them at https://tinyurl.com/CR-spring-clean.
Safety Tips For Your Spring Clean
When you plan to spring clean your home, it may seem a straightforward activity but dangers lurk everywhere. Paying attention to the following safety tips could save you and your helpers a lot of potential troubles.
- Follow safety rules for using ladders. That means having someone hold the ladder steady and using the 3-and-1 rule — having three limbs on the rungs at any one time.
- Check and replenish your first aid kit so you can swiftly attend to any minor mishaps.
- Remove clutter that could cause trips or spillages before you start — including loose cables — especially on stairs.
- Keep windows and/or doors open to ventilate rooms from cleaning chemicals. And wear a mask when cleaning dusty areas.
- Always read cleaning product labels — and follow the instructions. When you’re done, re-seal containers and store them safely.
- Don’t try to move heavy items by yourself. Get help. And follow safety rules for lifting. (Find them here: https://tinyurl.com/safelift-furniture)
- Take extra care when walking on wet surfaces, placing a temporary item such as chair over wet areas — and ensure everyone knows. Also, don’t leave buckets of water standing around where they could trip or spill.
- Use the opportunity to check and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
One More Thing
While you’re in the clean-up swing of spring, you might like to review your home, auto and life insurance coverages.
The reason this is important is that, over the course of a year or two, your circumstances and needs can change significantly. You need to be sure you have the right protection in place.
While this is on your mind, why not get in touch with us for a brief, no-cost review of your needs.
Happy cleaning — if there can be such a thing!