July 5, 2022

How-to Not Get Overwhelmed by Spring Cleaning 

Make Your To-Do List a To-Done List

How-to Not Get Overwhelmed by Spring Cleaning 

Spring cleaning is one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe it’s just me, but every spring I have the urge to get rid of all of my things and start fresh with a clean home and new stuff. Unfortunately, getting rid of and replacing all of my belongings once a year is not financially or environmentally a good idea, instead, I settle with reorganizing and deep cleaning. 

You may be thinking I sound insane for getting excited about spring cleaning, and I get it. The thought of cleaning every room in your house and coming face to face with all the junk you’ve collected can sound like a nightmare. My goal with this post is to help make whatever spring cleaning to-do lists or goals you have seem manageable- I can’t promise I’ll make it seem enjoyable, but darn it I will try! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had years where I’ll start out with good intentions, buying drawer organizers and covering my bed in piles of clothes to go through, just to get overwhelmed or bored with the process and quit. The tips I’m going to talk about are ones I’ve come up with after years of trial and error, but what works for me may not work for you and I’d highly recommend tailoring these ideas to what works best for you! 

Spring Cleaning Tips for Those that HATE Spring Cleaning 

Reward Yourself: A way that I make cleaning more enjoyable is by giving myself something to look forward to when it’s done. I’m a big believer in rewarding yourself for small accomplishments, for no reason other than to make life a little more enjoyable; I think of it as “small accomplishment, small reward.” Sometimes the feeling of a clean home and the ability to cross things off of a list is enough of a reward for me. Sometimes, I like to reward myself with fast food or takeout to celebrate not messing up a kitchen I spent all day cleaning. Other times, I reward myself with a half hour of sitting on the couch watching Netflix for every half hour of cleaning. If you like to shop, you could reward yourself with buying new organization containers after each room, or by buying whatever you want. Come up with a reward system that works for you! 

Prep and Plan: I know planning out and scheduling your cleaning might sound like the most boring task on the planet, but stay with me because it’s incredibly helpful. I like to use a white board calendar and a notepad for to-do lists. I use the calendar to plan my cleaning around work schedules and different appointments and the to-do lists for organizing tasks. Separate your lists! I’ve found that making separate lists for each room rather than having one huge master list helps me remember all of what needs to be done for each space; when I had one gigantic list with a million things on it, I would stare at it for awhile, not know where to start, get overwhelmed, and do nothing. 

Find Out when Spring Collection Days Are for Your City: A big part of spring cleaning is getting rid of the unwanted belongings taking up space in your home or garage, particularly bigger items like broken and unused furniture, appliances, and really anything that doesn’t fit in a garbage can. A lot of bigger items will be picked up by your city free of charge, just make sure to check your city’s website for how many items you can put out for pick up, which items are acceptable to be picked up, and when they will be picked up. 

Some cities have spring clean up weeks where you can put all your items on the curb for a designated week to be picked up. Other cities and counties have cleanup days where you can drop off carloads of junk for a fee, with the fee depending on the size of the load and vehicle. For example, Washington County has a few different One Day Collection Events listed on their website. If you can’t find a collection day or garbage pickup guidelines, drop off centers are also listed on city websites or there are always various donation centers that are looking for items. I’d recommend marking these collection days and events on your cleaning calendar. Take advantage of the garbage and recycling services in your city, they’re meant to help you! 

Start with Your Closet: For me, going through my closet is always the most daunting part of spring cleaning- my closet is where there’s the most clutter and stuff to get rid of, yet I struggle with getting rid of clothes more than anything else. Because of this, I’ve found it’s best to get it over with right away. I like to take absolutely everything out of my closet and every place clothing is hiding and put everything on my bed or the floor. I have fallen victim to piling things on my bed, then wanting to lay in my bed to go to sleep before I’m done with the piles, so maybe start on the floor. From there, it sucks but I like to go through all my clothes and separate it into keep, donate, throw away, and keepsake piles. The key to my system is the keepsake pile- this is a pile with clothes that I have an emotional attachment to or can’t get rid of because they were a gift, or just can’t get rid of for whatever reason; the keepsake pile then gets put into a bin and put into storage. This way the clothes are out of my closet but not out of my life. 

Take it Room by Room: The most helpful thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed with spring cleaning is taking things room by room. I’d suggest taking one room a day- if you don’t have the spare time to do a whole room every day, dedicate one task to each day until you’re done. For example, focus on just cleaning the floors one day, dusting the next day, and so on. I will say, taking it room by room only works if you don’t move onto a new room until you’re finished with the existing room, otherwise, you’re left with a bunch of unfinished tasks that are hard to come back to. 

Example Room by Room Schedule: Bathroom 

  1. Take everything out from under the sink, any cabinets, the shower, and anywhere else you hide stuff. 
  2. Go through the pile of stuff you just collected and separate it into keep, donate, and throw away piles. Put the throwaways in a garbage bag and bag up any donations. 
  3. While all the surfaces are clear, wipe everything down and spray it with your cleaning product of choice. 
  4. Clean everything however you see fit. I like soaking surfaces in product and scrubbing with a brush. 
  5. Organize the space with drawer and cabinet organizers, categorize your stuff as you put it away, and keep similar products together. 

Watch Organization Inspiration Videos as You Clean Personally, I need background noise on at all times. Tiktok and YouTube are full of videos of cleaning and organizing tips, tutorials, and more. These videos are great inspiration for if you’re struggling to organize any area of your house. I particularly like videos on how to more efficiently organize pantries and closets. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is a great show to watch as you start spring cleaning; it’s a show where Marie Kondo teaches people a method that helps you declutter and efficiently organize your home and also touches on how to part with items you’ve held onto forever. I would definitely recommend giving this show a watch if you struggle with getting rid of items with memories or that you’re emotionally attached to. 

My number one tip for not getting overwhelmed with spring cleaning is to not get caught up on the “spring” part. I have a habit of setting imaginary, restrictive schedules for myself and then feeling guilty and like a failure when I can’t meet these self-inflicted deadlines. If that sounds like something you do as well, try to think of spring cleaning as “March Cleaning” or “April Cleaning” to give yourself some more freedom and leeway. Or, take it a step further and just spread your spring cleaning out throughout the whole year. In general, everyone can afford to be a little nicer to themselves. I know that nothing can make cleaning super enjoyable, but I hope these tips help make any spring cleaning you have seem more manageable.