This is a guest post from Garret Stembridge at Extra Space Storage, a nationwide self-storage company that has 22 facilities in the New York metro area alone. Spring cleaning season is upon us, and Garret has some timely advice for New Yorkers who need a hand getting motivated to tackle their clutter.
Spring cleaning can be a truly cathartic process. There’s something so satisfying about tidying up your home to make it ready for the lighter, warmer days ahead.
But it’s also a lot of work — enough that a spring cleaning weekend looms with dread for many people.
Fear not. If you tackle your spring clean this year with a structured approach, you’ll have yourself a clean home in record time. Here are five tips to make spring cleaning faster and more efficient this year.
1. Come Prepared
Dana Peller at the Pellerini blog has a list of things she always has on hand for a big cleaning project:
· Two huge garbage bags — one for trash and one for donations
· A variety of cleaners, clothes and paper towels
· A notepad and pen
Wait, pen and paper? Do people need to take notes while they’re cleaning?
Absolutely. Dana explains why: “Now is a good time to analyze what needs better organizing…do the Legos have a designated home? Are your scarves taking over the floor of your guest bedroom closet (that would be me)? Jot down what you think you may need to better organize your spaces.”
2. Get the Whole Family Involved
Don’t let spring cleaning fall all on you. After all, what’s a family for if you can’t get someone to mop a floor or scrub a bathroom wall?
Jaymi Naciri at RealtyTimes has some tips to get everyone in the family, no matter how old or young, in on the job:
· For little ones, give them age-appropriate tasks that make them feel part of the team. Even handing them toy vacuum cleaners will help. The key here is to connect a family project with fun.
· For older children, give them real tasks, but maybe hold off on the more toxic cleaners. Tasks such as vacuuming couch cushions or cleaning baseboards would be fine here, Naciri says.
· For teenagers, just about any task will be age-appropriate. The problem you’re more likely to face is teenage children are less likely to buy into the whole team idea of cleaning — so be ready to firmly delegate. And give them full credit for a job well done.
3. Remember to Refresh Bedding and Other Linens
Spring is a good time to take wool throw blankets, quilts and other such linen to a dry cleaner.
Then, once you have seasonal cotton sheets and lighter blankets on the bed, blogger Darleen Laningham recommends a nightly spritz of her DIY linen spray to give the room a clean, wonderful smell. The recipe calls for:
· 1 and ½ teaspoons of essential oil (choose any you like)
· 2 tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka
· 4 cups of distilled water
Mix all those into a 32 oz. spray bottle, shake gently and spray as needed.
4. Your Secret Weapon: A Homemade Super Surface Cleaner
Speaking of DIY cleaners, Jillee at One Good Thing has a recipe for a shower cleaner that she says works like magic.
“I mixed up a batch of the homemade shower cleaner and sprayed it liberally around the tub in my boys’ bathroom, which needed some serious help at the time,” she writes. “I let the spray work its magic for an hour or so, and then wiped it down with a sponge and rinsed everything off. And I was honestly SHOCKED! This cleaner had done what so many other bathroom products had failed to do — it had managed to penetrate that stubborn, grimy, super-scum layer to reveal the clean, shiny surface underneath.”
Here’s her recipe:
· Heat about a cup of white vinegar in the microwave until hot.
· Pour into a spray bottle, and mix with an equal amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid.
· Screw on the lid and give the mixture a few gentle shakes.
Voila! You’ve now got a cleaner that helps scrub surfaces clean and deodorizes as it does so.
If you’d like a few more DIY super cleaners, have a look at our secret spring cleaning post from last year. That post will show you how to clean bathroom tiles with lemon oil and toilet bowls with denture tablets.
5. Have the Courage to Say ‘Goodbye’
Remember that giant trash bag Dana Peller brings to collect donations while she’s cleaning? Don’t be afraid to use it.
“It’s so crazy what we hang onto,” designer and author Nate Berkus tells Architectural Digest. “I wrote a book about how much things matter, but that doesn’t apply to everything under every cabinet. If it’s been in a storage locker forever, if you’re not interacting with it, if you’ve forgotten about it, it’s time for it to go.”
The kitchen appliances, sweaters, and scarves you’ve long since forgotten in the back of your closet deserve a new home. There are thousands of people in the New York area who would gladly welcome your gently used clothing, toys, and kitchen supplies. Your donations help get those things into their hands.
Extra Space Storage is the second-largest operator of self-storage facilities in the US. Since we were founded in 1977, we’ve taken the storage industry by storm with our commitment to customer service and our top-notch facilities. But we understand that storage is about more than a physical location to store your items — it’s a safe place to keep your possessions until you’ve reached your next phase and have moved on to a better tomorrow.