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mopAs winter sends its last few storms across the land, it is time to start planning for Spring Cleaning. Whether you’re an old hand at this ritual or this is the first time you’ll be doing a thorough cleaning, you should start by getting organized. Getting all your ducks in a row before you start will reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning.

1. Have an Overall Mission

There are several different approaches to spring cleaning. The most popular is doing a deep cleaning of every room of your house. Are you also going to take this time to sort through your stuff and de-clutter all or some of the closets, storage areas, and rooms? Is this when you re-imagine your various storage and organizational systems, such as getting new organizers for cleaning supplies or your pantry?

Decide the why and what of your cleaning process before you do anything else.

2. Do Some Basic Research

Start by investigating the different cleaning solutions and tools available for the tasks ahead of you. Know what works best for cleaning bathroom tiles, the different woods in your furniture and floors, and what is the preferred – by you – method for washing windows, linens, ceiling fans, etc.

If you’re going the de-cluttering route, find out your options for disposing of things. What days can you make donations to thrift stores? Is your neighborhood planning a group yard sale that you could join? Does your city have large trash pickup at certain times of the year?

For the organizers reading this, do you know which closet, pantry, under the sink, or other storage systems you want to buy? Have you set aside the funds and collected any coupons or discount codes you might need?

3. Create a Plan

Make your plan of attack. There are countless lists available online to help you make sure that you clean everything that needs cleaning. Start with one of them or just do a walk-thru of your home and create your own list.

Your cleaning plan should be as detailed as you need to make sure you don’t miss anything. As you write out your schedule decide if you’re going room by room or doing like things together: all the ceiling fans, all the windows, all the floors, all the tile, etc. Take into account any pre-treatment time for certain tasks as well as how long it will take for things to dry. You don’t want the hall floors to still be wet when the kids come tromping through from school. And don’t forget to schedule rest and meal breaks into your day.

Lastly, be sure to clearly assign tasks to everyone in the family. Having a written or printed schedule that shows who is doing what and when will reduce arguments later.

4. Gather Supplies

cleaning suppliesAs the day for cleaning approaches, collect all the supplies you will need for cleaning. A bucket or cleaning tote with cleaning solutions, rags, sponges, gloves, paper towels, etc., is a good start. This can travel with you from room to room. Another option is to create a cleaning station for each room that includes the specific items needed.

Besides cleaning supplies, you may need to gather hardware for installing new organizational systems or boxes, tubs, and labels for sorting things that are being donated, recycled, or sold later.

It is also a good idea to stock up on drinks, power snacks, and perhaps prepare meals in advance so that you don’t have to slave over the stove after cleaning all day. Maybe even buy some bubble bath and a new magazine or two as a reward for finishing your cleaning.

Taking the time to organize and plan will take a lot of the stress out of spring cleaning, turning it into an efficient and satisfying experience for all involved.

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