Despite the chill that still lingers in the air, spring is here. Whenever you hear the word spring you might associate it with cleaning or a fresh start.
Spring cleaning is no small task, though. In fact, it can often turn into a huge project that some of us may give up on. To make your spring cleaning tasks a little more manageable, here are a few tips that can help you tackle a dirty house.
Lists can often help people stay organized — especially if you have a project, like spring cleaning, on your plate. Before you get started, walk through each room and write down what needs to get done, says SpareFoot. Writing a list out also helps to make sure you have all the cleaning materials you need before you start, potentially saving some time later. No one wants to stop everything to run out and buy more carpet cleaning solution.
Consider putting together a cleaning playlist, says Apartment Therapy. Listening to music while cleaning may help make things go by faster. Of course, you don’t have to make a playlist. You could always just play or stream your favorite music.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you want to clean your entire home all at once. If you can work on at least two or three rooms each weekend, you’ll get a lot more done and still have free time on the side.
As you go through each room, make sure to declutter, says HGTV. Recycle old magazines and papers from the previous year. Put items you no longer use or need, like that sweater you bought three years ago but never wear, into a box to donate. You may also want to keep a record of your donations. Once you’re done cleaning your whole house, itemize your donate pile because you may be able to deduct those donations on your taxes.
It’s hard to stay on track when cleaning. You may find items you’ve forgotten or old photographs, and before you know it you’ve spent the entire day cleaning just one closet. Set a timer so you don’t fall into this trap, says Reader’s Digest. You can also use the timer to give yourself a little break here and there. Much like a list, it can help you stay on track.
Don’t do all the cleaning yourself. Recruit your kids, significant other or roommates to help you out, says The Spruce. When you can divvy up the work, it will hopefully take less time than if you do it all by yourself.
This is just the law of gravity — clean from the top of the ceiling to the floor, says Better Homes and Gardens. Knock all the dusty cobwebs from the corner, wash the curtains, clean the windows, dust the furniture, vacuum the furniture and finally, vacuum the floor.
Many chemical-based cleaners emit hazardous fumes. Some cleaners when mixed together can even emit toxic fumes that can seriously hurt you. No matter what cleaners you use, remember to always read the labels. If you’re looking for alternatives to cleaning products, some people use vinegar as a substitute in the bathroom or kitchen and as a general household cleaning solution, says Better Homes and Gardens. (Just remember never to mix vinegar and bleach, as the combination can be dangerous, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Don’t forget to work smarter, not harder. Take your time and let grimy surfaces, like the ones in your bathroom and kitchen, soak in your cleaning solution. Work on something else on your list while your cleaner does the hard work.
For the most part, having something to look forward to at the end of a long day of cleaning sure makes things go faster. Plus, you worked hard and deserve it. Treat yourself.
OK, so these ideas won’t make all the dirt magically disappear, but the tips above may help make the process a little less overwhelming. Just remember to pace yourself. You don’t have to do everything in one day.
Want more spring cleaning inspiration for your home? Check out these helpful tips for cleaning up the outside of your home.
Victoria Araj is the managing editor of the Quicken Loans Zing Blog, and focuses on homeowner tips, home decor and lifestyle stories.
Originally published on March 14, 2014.