Winter is finally gone—though we’ve lived in Ohio long enough to know that might not be the case. Either way, springtime means that spring cleaning is right around the corner, if not here already. For some, spring cleaning just feels like another weekend of tidying up. For others, well…not so much.
Wherever you find yourself—whether a total mess or a clean freak—Lykens Companies has tips to make spring cleaning more fun, more effective, and more long lasting than ever.
1. Game plan with goals
Especially if you’re on the messy side, it can be overwhelming (at best) to approach spring cleaning. We always have more stuff to clean than we expected and getting started can be the worst part. It makes sense why that’s the case. A messy apartment actually triggers stress hormones in your brain chemistry, according to researchers. It’s the reason why leaving a mess where it is can seem so appealing, while taking 5 minutes to clean it up can be the most daunting task of your life.
To combat this, you need to create a list of simple and straightforward tasks. When creating these goals, think S.M.A.R.T. Your goals should be specific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Most people never get started spring cleaning because they overwhelm themselves with vague tasks. If you don’t have any idea of what to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be done, then you’ll end up as aimless as a hiker without a map and compass. Do yourself a favor. Grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper and game plan before spring cleaning.
With that in mind, here’s an example of a terrible goal:
- Clean the house.
Why is this goal so bad? It’s overwhelming, non-specific, and unachievable—especially for those of us who aren’t, well, cleaning-prone.
Here’s an example of a somewhat better goal:
- Clean the kitchen this weekend.
Now we’re getting more specific. At least we have a general idea of what we’re setting out to do and when we want to do it, but this is still vague enough that it will be hard to achieve.
Here’s a great goal:
- Clear the kitchen counter of mail and dishes, wipe it down, and reorganize it by 12 pm on Saturday.
Even the sloppiest person could get this done. This goal meets all of the criteria and leaves nothing to the imagination. There’s a clear understanding of what would complete the goal and what wouldn’t. No gray area. Just black and white.
For those of us who need help figuring out how to decide our spring cleaning goals, think about some of the following questions:
- Which rooms in the house need cleaning? Bedroom? Garage? Bathroom?
- Which parts of those rooms need cleaning? Be specific! Think counters, closets, and cupboards.
- How can I clean them? Reorganizing? Throwing things away? Disinfecting?
- Are there any cleaning tools or supplies that I’ll need for spring cleaning that I can order on Amazon today?
- What date and time will I finish each goal by?
Systematically answering these questions will yield a number of great goals that you’ll be sure to complete. You won’t just have a more effective spring cleaning than ever before, but we bet that you’ll end up feeling more accomplished than ever.
Too many people try to lump all of spring cleaning into one day. Look, this isn’t Christmas. When you think about spring cleaning, really emphasize the “spring” part. Think of this as a season of cleaning up and reorganizing, not just a single day.
After you create your goals, stagger them. You’re much more likely to achieve every goal if you try and do one every Saturday instead of trying to do all of them on a single Saturday. It’s less overwhelming and you’ll increase your chances of turning cleanliness and organization into a healthy habit.
3. Don’t just reorganize
Recently, Lykens Companies wrote a blog on why less is more, pushing for a simple-living movement. Most of us have more than we need—more clothes, more kitchen supplies, more books. You name it! If you’re like me, your tendency is to horde what you have.
“But what if I need this?” I ask myself about one of the 10 flashlights I own and have never used. This isn’t a reasonable attitude. You aren’t just overcrowding your living space; you’re being selfish. Rather than hide your extra stuff in the back of a storage closet, consider donating it to those who are less fortunate.
When people adopt this lifestyle, they quickly experience the joy that comes from being generous. Additionally, it seems that those who give away their extra stuff conclude that they actually don’t need that much to be happy.
Helping people while making your home tidier? Win-Win.
4. Never work alone
Unless you’re someone who finds refreshment and a sort of meditation from cleaning by yourself (and, no, that wasn’t sarcastic), it can be great fun to include friends and family in on your spring cleaning adventures. You can enjoy the convenience and effectiveness of delegation while getting to spend some extra hours with loved ones. Blast music, get to work, and always buy everyone pizza afterwards.
5. Reward yourself
Spring cleaning is a reward in itself: you end up with a super tidy apartment that looks great! But sometimes that’s not enough. This stuff is hard work. Why not throw a little extra incentive into the mix? Hang a carrot in front of yourself and get to work. Think about something you’ve wanted to treat yourself with and decide what steps you need to take to earn that reward.
For instance, if there’s a nice dinner you’ve wanted to treat yourself to, then, by all means, do so if you decide that it’s a fitting prize. Just make sure you’re actually getting things done. Create another goal that ends with you earning your reward. Here are a couple examples:
- If I complete 10 goals this month, then I’m going to celebrate with a nice dinner.
- If I give away 5 pairs of shoes that I never wear, I’m going to buy that bottle of wine I’ve been eyeing.
- If I clean once a week for two months, then I’m getting those concert tickets.
This fun element might just give you the extra motivation to jump into spring cleaning sooner rather than later.
Get started now
We covered the best way to get started on spring cleaning: make your goals. Wherever you are, make 5 goals that you can complete within a month. Spring cleaning can be fun and refreshing. Why wait to get started?