Your Spring Cleaning Checklist

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy
2:18 pm
04/19/16

Photographed by James Kicinski-McCoy

It’s no secret that spring is usually the time when we feel the urge to deep clean our homes: sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, washing, and sanitizing everything that has built up over winter—hence where the term “spring cleaning” came from. But the even bigger task we face is removing all of the extra stuff we all have lying around our homes, cluttering up corners and surfaces. We as moms know this frustration first-hand, which is why we decided to create a spring cleaning checklist to to help you conquer this annual task the right way.

Unless you’re a hoarder or a messy person by trade, you should be able to simply conquer and divide. If you can’t live without something, keep it, otherwise say “goodbye”! If the idea of a clean, organized, junk-free home isn’t enough inspiration in itself to get your clean on, let us remind you that you can make some serious extra cash by selling some of your unwanted goods, because we all know that one woman’s trash is another women’s treasure. So, are you ready to get moving? Check out our tips below and ready, set, go!

Break It Down. Have an entire house to sift through? Trying to tackle it all at once will most likely leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, and could even have you throwing in the towel after day one. The key to getting it all done efficiently and in less time is to break the tasks down. Make a list and tackle each space starting with the biggest job. Once you have completely finished decluttering and cleaning, move onto the next, and so on. This approach will ensure you keep making progress, even if the process takes several days. And keep your eye on the prize—an organized, well-maintained, clean home.

A Family Affair. Involve the kids! Spring cleaning is an all-hands-on-deck situation. Children can be great helpers and pitching in and doing their part will teach great responsibility. Make the process fun by putting on some upbeat music and working as a team to conquer the clutter. You can offer an exciting reward to younger kids struggling with the process with a trip to the zoo or a weekend ice cream date for being a good helper. Just be sure it’s not a toy (remember: we’re trying to eliminate here, not add to the mix)!

Tackle Your Kid’s Drawers. We all know kids grow like weeds, which is why we as parents tend to feel like we’re constantly swimming in baby clothes. Donate any items that still have life in them to an organization like Goodwill or give your hand-me-downs to a friend or relative. Try to make it a point to start eliminating seasonally to save yourself from having to do a huge spring elimination each year. Once clothes start to fit too snug, put them in a separate box to donate the next time you’re able.

Toss Some Toys. Besides being an eyesore, too many toys can be over-stimulating and confusing to children. Kid’s toys are some of the hardest things to get rid of, but if you’re transparent about the process, it will go much smoother. Have your youngins help you search their toy boxes for any broken, defective, out-grown, or neglected playthings, and begin to pile them in a box. Moving forward, keep a donation box nearby and watch how your kids plays with their toys—if you notice a short attention span with some or find that certain belongings don’t get much play time, it’s probably time to donate. Once you’ve tackled the toys, let your children take part in the donation process and explain that they will be helping other kids in need. This not only teaches children the importance of giving back, but also helps encourage them to live simply. Keep the well-loved toys organized with baskets and storage containers, so your little ones know exactly where to find—and hopefully put back—their things. Wipe down toys and shelves as you go with a disinfectant spray or wipes to rid of any bacteria or collected dust.

Get Personal. For your own closet, it’s best to dive right in and quickly purge anything that doesn’t fit, is damaged, worn-out, or simply isn’t your style anymore. Separate them into piles of donating, selling, and trashing. For items you’re on the fence about, try them on. Anything you don’t love or think you won’t wear often goes bye-bye. Like the rest of the house, make it a point from here on out to eliminate as you go. One of the best closet-ridding tips we’ve ever heard is, at the beginning of every new season, turn all of your hangers in your closet backwards. Once you wear an item, turn the hanger forwards. By the end of the season, anything you haven’t worn yet (that makes sense for that particular season) must go. You can do the same for shoes, clothing in drawers, and accessories, too. For your “sell” pile, turn your unwanted clothing into extra cash by using sites or apps like Ebay, Poshmark, and even Instagram.

Hit the Kitchen. With all the food that we have to buy for our families, it’s no wonder our pantries, refrigerators, and cabinets are an absolute mess. Not to mention, most of our kitchen counters and tables begin to collect random odds and ends from being a high-traffic area. Start eliminating any old, expired food, condiments, and excess clutter altogether. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t know how old something is or what it’s for, it needs to go. For counter tops, remove anything that isn’t absolutely necessary and create a separate place for your mail, notes, and junk that piles up. Clear out any mismatching, broken, or worn out bowls, spoons, glasses, and Tupperware. You can purchase some food organization containers to store things like pasta, beans, cereal, oats, nuts, sugar, etc., so these things are quickly accessible, stack well, and stay organized. There are also tons of racks, shelves, and trays available to help organize smaller items in the pantry or refrigerator. Once decluttered, get those cleaning products and go to town.

Living & Family Rooms. These are also busy areas in the house that can easily be kept clean with some simple organization. To prevent toys from taking over your living space, find some pretty baskets for storage. This space is where quality over quantity really comes into effect. Books and magazines can look beautiful displayed atop coffee tables, but be weary of keeping every issue because they look “pretty”—magazine hoarders, you know who you are—recycle those bad boys, you won’t even miss them, we promise. Take this opportunity to wash all throws, pillows, dust, shampoo the couch, vacuum, and then rest easy. If they aren’t already, make these communal lounging spaces a food-free zone. This will eliminate extra mess, spills, and stains.

Product Overload. Shampoo bottles, bubble bath, tub toys, and other supplies can quickly add up in bathrooms and closets. Again—attack, conquer, and divide. Throw out any products that are less than 1/4 full. Toss any accessories that are worn out or need replacing, like hairbrushes, sponges, and loofahs. Most beauty products have expirations dates just like food items, so check them and toss if needed. Take tabs on bath toys, they can get gross over time, so, check each one and clean or throw away if need be. Once you feel good about the clearance, grab your gloves and scrub that baby until it’s sparkling.

Garage. You may be lucky enough to pawn this space off on your partner (if you have one), but if not, go in with the mindset that this catch-all beast is for essentials only! Keep anything for the house, yard, or car that’s important, but say goodbye to any excess crap that has piled up. Keeping this area clean and clear is a must for times when you need space—perhaps for that garage sale you’re going to have after all this spring cleaning?

 

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