Spring is in the air, a time of blooming flowers, warming temperatures, and two words frequently uttered in homes across America: “Spring Cleaning.”
Celebrated organizing expert Marie Kondo champions a simplified, thoughtfully arranged environment as central to a serene life. Her much-ballyhooed KonMari method encourages a hands-on approach to home organization that begins with removing items that no longer belong in the home.
The KonMari method is the perfect complement to spring cleaning, where a commitment to tidying up, a focus on the essentials, and a work smarter-not harder approach can help you tune up your home and reduce the anxiety that a cluttered, messy home can induce.
Begin with a good decluttering escapade. If you can declutter first, you will capture some early feel-good spring-cleaning vibes and can more easily discern your next steps. Clear out any excess or out-of-season coats, shoes, umbrellas, purses, and other personal goods. Trash, recycle, and donate accordingly. Keep what you must and, in the spirit of KonMari, vanquish everything else.
Organize with a purpose. Everything you keep should have a place and then be in its place. In kitchen cabinets and the pantry, for instance, think like a grocery store merchandiser and stack items in a neat, orderly, and logical fashion for quick discovery.
Corral your cleaning supplies. To maximize efficiency, gather all your cleaning supplies together at the onset. Some must-have household items for spring cleaning: an all-purpose cleaner, a multitude of rags and paper towels, glass cleaner, gloves, a duster, and a sponge. Assemble the goods in one portable bin so you have what you need as you travel from room to room.
Enlist the help of the kids. Though few kids will volunteer for cleaning, it is important to make them a part of the solution – albeit with realistic expectations – so they are contributors to a well-kept home. While kindergartners might do little more than place items in a donation bag, that alone saves you some time and energy. Give one simple instruction at a time and perhaps outfit younger children with a “uniform” – gloves and an apron, for instance – to help them feel more engaged in the project.
Hit one room at a time. Adopt the baby-steps philosophy. Rather than thinking you must clean and organize the entire house in one motivated whirlwind of activity – a monumental, if not impossible task – focus instead on tidying up one room at a time, which is much more doable. Yet more, savor a sense of accomplishment when you leave that room sparkling and can move onto the next as opposed to having a series of in-process projects.
Slow and steady with the vacuum. Resist the need to hustle with the vacuum. In fact, the slower you go, the more dust and allergens you will remove.
Cap off the adventure. Find a candle or air freshener with a pleasing scent and let it run. Or, better yet, grab some fresh, fragrant flowers and place a vase on the dining room table. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.