Spring is Decluttering Season
You know that feeling. The cooped-up cabin fever feeling. The winter-is-driving-me-crazy feeling.
But the day is coming soon (or maybe for some of you it's already here) when spring will assert herself. Something will bloom. A tree will unfurl a few delicate lime-green leaves. You'll hear a robin. The sun will shine through the clouds and the temperature will warm just a bit.
And along with a shot of hope and energy, you'll notice how dingy and scruffy your home looks. Crowded and heavy. Time for a thorough spring cleaning!
(I know some of you live in the southern hemisphere, and maybe you're tired of summer heat and glare. But soon you'll feel a cooling freshness in the air. The trees will start showing their beautiful fall colors, and with the change of seasons will come the desire to start something new.)
I totally agree. I'm ready to tackle every corner of my home. But before we get out our lemon cleanser, our dust rags and brooms and squeegees, let's do something else first.
It makes cleaning so much easier, and makes a home feel light and spacious. Exactly the feeling we want for spring, or for any new season.
10 Steps to a Fresh Start
Choose one of the rooms where you spend the most time: the living/family room, the kitchen, the home office, the play room, the bedroom.
1. Remove everything from surfaces: books, papers, small appliances, pillows and throws, knickknacks, toys. Throw away (or recycle) the trash.
2. Remove everything from walls.
3. Remove everything from the floors except rugs and furniture.
4. Remove window coverings and wash them or have them dry cleaned. Consider decluttering anything heavy or multi-layered. *
* Of course, if you live where winter is very cold, and insulated drapes help keep heating costs down, you won't declutter these – you'll just store them until next fall. The same goes for extra blankets and throws.
5. Remove any furniture you don't really use such as extra chairs and side tables. Donate.
6. Clean! Move furniture into the middle of the room. Start at the top with a long-handled duster to remove cobwebs from corners; brush the walls. Wipe baseboards; vacuum upholstery. Dust and/or polish the furniture. Clean and disinfect counters and stove; clean the oven and the refrigerator. Wash the windows and screens. Sweep and mop the floor or vacuum and shampoo the rug.
7. Replace furniture as it was or try a new arrangement.
8. Add the essentials: appliances or office machines you use every day, pillows you need for your back or neck, books you turn to again and again, most-favored toys or games.
9. Add a few personal items that tell your story: a framed photo or two, a favorite plant or a vase for flowers, one collection, a piece or two of wall art, books you want to read this year, supplies for a hobby you regularly enjoy.
10. Take the plunge and discard everything else. If that seems too radical, at least consider boxing up everything else and only taking something out if and when you miss it or want to use it. Otherwise, wait a month or two, or up to six, and then donate the box unopened.
Enjoy your brighter, more easy-to-keep-clean home.
P. S. Want to make your home smell like spring too? Try these slow cooker potpourri recipes.
- Fill a 3-quart pot about two-thirds full of water and add ingredients.
- Bring mixture to a boil on the stovetop, then transfer it to a small slow cooker (paid link) to simmer on low all day.
- Pay attention to the water level and add more hot water as needed.
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
- 8 cups water
Minty Lime Potpourri
- 2 limes, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, or a small handful of fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 8 cups water
Photo by Jon Trefzger © 2022