Do it Yourself and Make Spring Cleaning Fun!
After this eternity of a winter, I certainly cannot wait to get down to business and bring in spring. I have a few things I always do to welcome in the warm months, (and we could sure do with some of those!) like getting the kids to play outside more, tuck away the winter jackets in the back of the closet, and of course sprucing up my house for spring. I actually really enjoy spring cleaning; there’s nothing like that satisfying feeling of having everything settled so you can kick back and relax.
One Step at a Time
Having the whole house ahead of you to clean, even if you’re prepared to do so, can be pretty intimidating. I have a few friends who let this pressure get to them, but don’t let it stop you from getting the job done. The way I do it is to treat myself, like setting up a nice dinner date for myself and my husband, having a bar of chocolate ready to reward myself with a square or two for each room I finish, or buying myself a new CD to listen to as I clean. I know music is something that definitely motivates me to keep going, so don’t forget to be nice to yourself. It’s also important not to look at the house as a whole: start in one room and just think about the things that need to be done in there, and focus. Even write yourself a list if you need to.
DIY Cleaning Supplies—it’s the Natural Way
I don’t like to think about putting loads of chemicals onto my countertops and potentially into my kids’ food, or about clogging the drain with unnecessary toxins. So, instead of going to the cleaning section of my grocery store, I stop by the produce. There are a lot of natural cleaners that will do the trick just as well as the green and blue fluids (I’m not saying don’t disinfect your things, but going less artificial and more natural may go a long way, and will save your hands). Sites like Real Simple can give you a lot of ideas for natural cleaners using items you probably already have around the house. Some of my favorite cleaners are lemons, which you can put in a glass of water in the fridge to give everything a fresh scent; water and sea salt, can get that pesky dirt ring out of your bathtub; and vinegar and baking soda to clear clogged drains. With a little research, you can find plenty of everyday items that can make you feel like a mad cleaning scientist.
Give, Give, Give
When I go through my house for spring cleaning, I make sure to keep my eyes open for things to donate. I love clearing space in my closets and drawers. And giving something away for somebody else to enjoy makes me feel especially good. This could be kitchen or dining ware that we just don’t need anymore, or small bits of furniture like lamps that we don’t use as much as we thought we might, but are still in excellent condition. It’s also a great opportunity for the family to spruce up their wardrobes, so my husband and I typically go through our closets to find items that we can give to Goodwill or Salvation Army. I also make sure my kids sort their toys in their rooms and in the basement to find things to sell at our neighborhood garage sale. We use whatever money they make to buy something new for their bedrooms, this year it’s some jewelry boxes from Personal Creations (which ended up being super cute). It feels good to give!
Repurposing—Fun for the Whole Family
I love to use fun DIY skills to repurpose old items and avoid harming the environment. This is also a great way to bring in some family projects. I know something I want to do this year is repurpose old glass jars—with the amount of peanut butter and jelly we go through with three kids, we sure have a lot we can work with. All of my children enjoy art, so I’ll be gathering a bunch of jars to be decorated one rainy Saturday or Sunday afternoon this spring. If you do this, be sure to use non-toxic paint so the jars can be reused for toothbrushes and other bathroom goods, dried fruit and spices, and leftovers. There are tons of online resources for fun DIY projects. Lately I’ve been a big fan of One Good Thing; it’s by a fellow DIYer with some great ideas. With some effort, treats and good planning, even the most reluctant cleaners can accomplish the massive spring-cleaning task with ease — and even have a little fun in the process!