Want to Spark Joy? Then Start Your Spring Cleaning!
by Lane P. Jordan
I realized this year that I needed a better reason to start my spring cleaning because…I just don’t want to do it! But my inner instinct is pushing me toward it. Why?
Spring cleaning has been an annual ritual for hundreds of years. Back when homes were heated with coal and wood, the soot these would bring into a closed-up home made cleaning at the first hint of warm weather imperious.
Homemakers would open their windows and doors, take out rugs, mattresses and bedding to shake and air out and then begin the task of cleaning walls, floors, kitchens and actually, everything their rags and water could reach!
And even in our modern culture, the term “spring cleaning” is known by all that it’s the time of the year to change winter clothes and bedding to spring and summer weight; to clear out clutter; to organize closets and drawers; pantries and kitchens; laundry rooms and bathrooms; basements and attics; garages and porches.
It’s actually a wonderful feeling when one is finished—your home and belongings are like new and you can actually find stuff now. I’ve been writing and speaking on organization for years. But the start of such an overwhelming project is daunting; and the older I get, the harder it is to start.
Until I was introduced to a young Japanese woman, Marie Kondo. She teaches that there is a better way to decluttering and organizing: “Hold up each item,” she says, “and ask, ‘Does it spark joy?’” If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, then give it away.
For some of you, this may seem like such simple advice, but for me it changed the dynamics of keeping my home clean and organized in such a way that I was charged to begin! Because now I had a concrete reason to start—I finally had an objective as I cleaned and organized. Now I could concentrate on the joy my home could give me when I finished.
So what is the best way to start your spring cleaning? Here are my tried and true tips that I hope will motivate you to begin. And the first step? Realize you are bringing joy into your home and your belongings when you are done!
Walk through your home with pad and paper and ask yourself: What areas need the most work? How can the family get involved in some of the harder areas? Are there areas that need decorating such as new paint or more shelving to better organize?
Closets. I like to start with closets because we are in them every day trying to find something to wear! And I highly recommend cleaning out your closets twice a year to prepare for winter and then summer clothing. The best way is to literally take everything out so you can clean the floors and dust shelves. Then pick up each item of clothing, even belts and scarves, and ask yourself if you have worn it in the past two years. If not, and this is the hard part, place the item in one of these four piles: give away pile; throw away pile; sell pile; or keep for one more year. Remember: does the item give you joy?
As you survey the whole closet, now is the time to ask yourself if you need more shelving, extra hooks, drawer organizers or better hangers.
Kitchen. The kitchen is one of the most important areas to clean or organize because it’s really where the family lives, prepares food and eats. It has to be clean. Start with the pantry and throw out all food that is dated out. Wipe down shelves. Then open up all the kitchen cabinets so you can fully see the state of the items. It’s probably time to throw out un-matched plastic containers and lids; organize pots and pans, organize items on shelves, etc. Launder the floor rugs. Clear off all counters and only put back what gives you joy. Clean the oven; put a cleaner in the dishwasher cycle; clean the microwave and stove top. Remove all items from the refrigerator and then wipe out thoroughly and throw out old items.
Bedrooms. Strip all the beds and flip the mattresses. Launder the mattress pad and any dust ruffles, bedspread, duvet, shams as well as the sheets and blankets. If you can, cover your mattress with a zipper cover that encases the entire mattress to keep out bed bugs. Then put another mattress pad on top that you wash every few months. This is also the time to organize your linen closet and discard any torn sheets/towels, etc.
Bathrooms. Take down the shower curtain and either launder or throw away if it’s in bad condition. For those showers with a door, clean the tracks. Launder all floor rugs. Go through all the drawers and cabinets throwing out everything that’s out of date, especially old makeup. Make time to check and clean out the medicine cabinet and throw out all old prescriptions. Scrub the bathtub, toilet, sinks and counters.
Living areas/office. Now is the time to move furniture and vacuum or mop underneath. Dust all blinds, drapes, shelves, frames and table items. Throw away everything that clutters, is broken and doesn’t give you joy. Go through your files and organize them; make sure all your important papers are in a safe place.
Garages/attics/basements/outdoor areas/windows. These are huge areas and I would suggest planning a time with your husband/children to help get these in order. Or if you can afford it, hire a professional organizer or service to help you get these in order.
Of course, the more you clean and organize each day, spring cleaning won’t be nearly as difficult: Swiffer or sweep the floors daily and vacuum at least once a week; keep up with laundry daily; wipe down kitchen and bathroom counter tops daily; pick up clutter daily; have a set place for mail and papers; clean switch plates, doorknobs and computer items weekly.
And as you are cleaning and organizing your home each day, let it speak joy to you! And I pray you will enjoy your spring cleaning.
Lane P. Jordan is a best-selling author, international motivational and inspirational speaker, singer, artist, Bible teacher, and professional life coach. She lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband who partners with her in ministry and waits impatiently for daughters and granddaughter to visit! Lane’s desire is to encourage, support, and motivate women of all ages to be better wives, mothers, and women of God by organizing their lives and time. You can find her at: www.LaneJordanMinistries.com and her blog at www.PathwaysToOrganization.com.
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