No one looks forward to spring cleaning but without it your home will be unmanageable. Here are some tips from the world of Zen Organizing to help you get through the process in an organized, systemized fashion that will leave you with the energy to enjoy your sparkling clean environment. And that's what home maintenance is all about, right?
1. Don't attempt to do the entire home in one day or weekend. Spread projects out over a few weeks. You'll gain momentum, build self-esteem and avoid burn out.
2. Be sure family members are either on hand to help or at the very least aware of your efforts. Even the youngest child can help with some aspect of cleaning. People tend to maintain order when they have had a hand in creating it.
3. Create a plan of attack. Walking into a room with a vague idea of having to clean or organize it won't get you very far. Walking in with a step by step list of exactly what has to be done and the order in which it needs to be accomplished is a horse of a different color. Pinterest is full of spring cleaning checklists. You can use a list you find or create one from several you peruse that's tailor made for your situation. Save it on your computer and next year you can skip this step.
4. Be sure you have all of your tools handy. In the middle of cleaning it's disheartening to discover you are out of heavy duty trash bags or the cleaner of your choice.
5. As much as possible use natural cleaners (preferably ones you make) to avoid exposure to caustic chemicals. This is especially important if children or animals are present. Once again Pinterest is full of recipes for cleaners using old standbys like lemon, vinegar and baking soda. If you make up large batches now you will save time and money long after spring cleaning is over.
6. Remember to stay hydrated and well fed. Have healthy snacks on hand. The engine that runs the organizng train is decision making. Decisions are easily made if you are hydrated, got a good night's sleep and your blood sugar is stable. Other tools in your balanced approach are meditation and exercise. When you need a break spin Fido around the block.
7. Begin with a 'Speed elimination.' Set a timer for anywhere from 8 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the room and the amount of stuff. Don't stop for anything! No Facebook, Twitter, emails or phone calls. Work as if your hair is on fire and you are looking for the extinguisher. Once items have been tossed, recycled or returned to their rightful home the room will literally feel lighter and easier to tackle. It's a little like a crash diet for the space.
8. Plan a reward!
There you have it. Eight pieces of wisdom straight out of the Zen Organizing canon. My New York Times best seller is a great companion for this process. Until the end of March it's only $1.99 for all electronic readers. Fire up the Nook. Build your Kindle library. It's probably cheaper than that designer drink you get at Starbucks.