Blue skies, warm weather and budding flowers usually signify it’s time to freshen up your space. But considering we’ve all had a bit of a tough go this year, the idea of doing a full spring cleaning routine may overwhelm instead of inspire.
Spring cleaning involves both a general and deep clean, including those items and areas you overlook for most of the year. You know, like dusting down your ceiling fans and cleaning out the dishwasher filter. But with the immense amount of pressure everyone has been under, this year’s spring clean doesn’t need to be the usual full-scale operation.
Forget the idea of rolling up your sleeves for a weekend mega deep cleaning blitz – there are ways you can still refresh your space while looking after your mental health.
Here are four tips to take the stress out of spring cleaning this year.
1. Plan, prep and choose your own pace
Biting off more than you can chew almost guarantees overwhelm. But considering this probably isn’t the year to tackle everything, strategic planning is the way to go. Read: Do less, but make it count.
First, check in with yourself on what you can realistically achieve and prioritise tasks accordingly.
Start with a small list of absolute necessities; anything related to the functioning and safety of your home, like checking your smoke detectors. Things like colour coding your book collection can wait. Then, choose a strategy: we recommend spring cleaning by room or by item (more on those in the next two points).
Keep in mind that there is no time frame for these tasks – take them as slowly as you like. And if you know you’re the type of person who needs structure in order to get things done, create a schedule for yourself and anyone else in your home.
2. Strategy one: focus on the rooms you use the most
Let the most frequently used rooms dictate your cleaning priorities. If you’re constantly in the kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom, these high-traffic areas will benefit from the extra attention. Work on one room at a time, cleaning at a pace that feels manageable.
When going room-by-room, you’re looking to refresh the elements that are usually forgotten during general maintenance cleans, especially areas that collect dust. In your bedroom, this would include your mattress, bed frame, curtains and fan. Be sure to rotate your mattress (we recommend giving your Koala matty a 180° spin monthly) and wash and change your mattress protector and sheets, too.
3. Strategy two: break things down by most-used items
If choosing whole rooms is beyond your current remit, a second spring cleaning strategy is to focus on the items and appliances that get a daily thrashing, such as the washing machine, dishwasher, oven and mattress.
If you really think about it, when was the last time you put on an empty cycle to sterilise your washing machine, de-scaled your kitchen kettle or gave your mattress and pillows a thorough clean? Spring is the perfect time for these more particular tasks.
4. Forget cleaning and clear out instead
Cleaning may be the last thing on your mind, but a spring clean isn’t just about scrubbing, vacuuming and wiping – it’s also a wonderful time to take stock of your home and possessions. Clearing out and donating items you no longer need or use will immediately lift the energy of your space, while helping those in need (with the added benefit of keeping items out of landfills).
Auditing your closet is a classic way to create physical and mental space, but if your intention is to donate clothing or accessories to charity organisations like St Vincent De Paul Society, please keep in mind they will only accept clothes in good condition. During lockdowns, Vinnies is operating contactless donation stations. Click here for the list of locations and donation guidelines.
There is also constant demand for quality second-hand furniture and other material items (such as used phones or laptops). If your items are in good condition, there are many organisations in need, like our partners The Generous and The Grateful or Welcome West Wagon, who support asylum seekers and refugees as they settle into housing. We are also big fans of the work the Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre are doing, supporting women in crisis who accept donations.
With a strategic plan of attack, a little effort can go a long way during this change of season! So give yourself a break and let this year’s spring clean have an impact on your home and health without overextending yourself.
Stay happy and healthy, friends.