Seasons are turning over again, and for some, that means… cleaning! And while most people engage in ‘spring cleaning’ to clear out winter clutter and cobwebs for the new season, there’s no reason it can’t be done any time of year.
Thoroughly cleaning your home, office, or business property is important for both your physical and mental health. A frequently cleaned space helps maintain healthy and hygienic surroundings, wards off pests, improves focus, and enhances your mood. In the long run, a clean and organized space saves you time and money, makes work and life more efficient, and decreases stress.
A hastily organized or cluttered list, on the other hand, can result in important tasks being overlooked or simply avoided. And so, as a cautionary tale of sorts, here’s how NOT to make your spring cleaning checklist. By simply avoiding these four mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to creating a cleaner, more organized space.
Mistake #1: Include everyday chores
Since spring cleaning is an annual task, reserve your checklist for deep cleaning activities that aren’t part of everyday routines. Adding daily or weekly chores (such as laundry or washing the dishes) will only make your list unnecessarily long, and distract from the importance of essential deep cleaning. Instead, include more infrequent tasks like washing curtains, shampooing upholstery and carpets, giving the oven a deep scrub, and wiping down light fixtures. You’ll also want to get behind appliances such as the refrigerator and washing machine to dust and wipe the coils, vents, and floor.
Everyone has an “everything drawer”—you know the one, where any small item that doesn’t have a home gets dumped. Your everything drawer, medicine cabinet, and garage can all quickly become collection sites for old, expired, unused, or broken items. Clean these three key hoarding areas and toss out expired medication and broken and unused items. Unpack, sort, clean, and reorganize whatever is left.
Power tip: To avoid confusion, use Tasks to assign all the spring cleaning duties in a dedicated list, separate from daily and weekly chores.
Mistake #2: Don’t involve the kids
Having your kids help around the house is not only a valuable way to teach them responsibility, but can also prove a huge helping hand in your cleaning endeavor. Kids are never too young to start learning basic homemaking tasks—whether it’s tracking expiration dates in the fridge or learning about spices as they clean and organize the spice drawer. Plus, when you’re cleaning the whole house, every hand helps!
To really pull your kids into the process, assign them their own responsibilities in the spring cleaning purge. If they’re in charge of a task, they’ll look after it that much more carefully.
Of course, keep their assignments limited to things they can actually do. Give them custody of cleaning toy boxes and bookshelves, reorganizing craft supplies, and cleaning out cupboards. They can also wipe baseboards in their rooms and sort what clothes no longer fit them. Give them their very own spring cleaning checklist with their tasks and tick them off once done.
Mistake #3: Include big renovations
Spring is the ideal time for renovations—the weather getting nicer and winter festivities are over, making it a quieter time for many people. However, renovating your home is also an immense task. From sourcing contractors, estimating costs, acquiring materials, to the actual labor, renovations are their own beast. These projects require their own management checklist that you can follow.
Tacking this extensive set of slow-moving and complicated tasks onto your spring cleaning checklist will pull focus away from—and quickly overwhelm—your cleaning plans. Cleaning tasks will seem more attainable and wrap up sooner without hefty remodeling activities looming in the background.
Power tip: Use Templates to organize all your spring cleaning tasks in a single hub. Create a separate template for any upcoming renovation project and supplement your digital notes with screenshots of areas that need attention.
Mistake #4: Do it all yourself
Parents often forget to delegate tasks, taking all the responsibilities on themselves. Don’t overload your own calendar when you have helping hands at home! Some tasks might be more appropriate for older (or stronger) kids, while lighter loads can be delegated to young ones. But no matter what, there’s a task for every member of the household.
Block off time on your calendar for kids to sort their belongings. Link that event to a note in Evernote so family members can check off their tasks as they complete them. You can even prioritize tasks with flags and emojis to add an extra layer of fun, and ensure that the really important jobs get done first.
During the first days of spring cleaning, for example, everyone can sort through their books, magazines, and paper clutter. Reorganize what you plan to keep, and assign boxes for recycling and donating other items. You can then dedicate the next week’s time slot to sorting through clothing, the following week to toys, and so on.
Power tip: Assign Tasks in Evernote to delegate chores among family members and track the progress for each one.
Here’s what to do instead…
No matter whether your spring cleaning tasks are large or small, block time on your calendar and set reminders to get them done. This will help you blow through your list quickly, instead of putting things off for “when you have time later.” Large tasks like clearing out the garage can overshadow smaller things like toys and shower faucets.
And when you do get to the bottom of your list, here are some smaller (yet still essential) cleaning tasks to consider:
- Scrub shower walls (and use vinegar to clean mineral build-up on the inside of shower heads)
- Use lemon to remove water stains from faucets
- Clean the microwave interior and exterior
- Scrub the grill, toaster, coffee machine, and kettle
- Your pets need a little spring cleaning too: Sort through toys, wash their beds and blankets, and give their water and food bowls a proper scrub
- Wipe air vents and ceiling fans
- Flip your mattresses and wash mattress covers
Ready, set, spring!
With a whole house to comb over, spring cleaning can seem like an overwhelming project. However, with some helping hands and good organizational skills (and tools), you can transform this into a fun, annual family project.
Your Evernote checklist helps everyone track what needs to be done, what has been done, and who is responsible for what. This will avoid confusion, procrastination, and unnecessary bickering during your cleaning marathon. Check off tasks as they are accomplished and assign rewards to everyone—including yourself!—to celebrate a job well done.