Spring has officially… sprung?! Whatever the correct wording for spring’s arrival, we all recognize it as a time for new growth, more sunlight, and a much-needed thorough cleaning. But the idea of taking on yet another project—cleaning the whole house, when you’re already stretched and sleep-deprived feels like an impossible undertaking. Who has that kind of time? No need to burden yourself, this blog is for those of us who want a clean(ish) house without breaking our backs or losing our minds. And no costly maid service required.
Forget Martha Stewart! Open the window and feel that fresh spring breeze blow a new approach to spring cleaning into your home with the following practical & useful tips…
#1 Assemble Your “Crew”
Everyone contributes to dirtying a home, so having each family member contribute to the clean-up is important. Even toddlers can help. In fact, making them part of the project will give them a sense of being empowered and kick off a life-long habit. Take your family on a quick walk-through and assess the problem areas. Make a list of priority spots with your peeps. Discuss what roles everyone can play in getting things done and what types of cleaning tools they’ll need. It may be helpful to write down everyone’s individual tasks and post them. Then, let them get to it in their own way and own time. Micromanaging in these situations creates tension and resistance from spouses and kids, so back off, mama! How you clean won’t be the same for them—try to catch instances where they’re showing effort and offer “atta boys.”
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” ~Anonymous
#2 Set Realistic Goals & Timeline
The crucial word here is realistic. Keep in mind that family life is messy. It’s not fair to compare your home to a decorating magazine. Not only do those types of photo-shopped standards lead to fighting and resentment, but they’re also unfair. Your mantra should be: a perfect picture doesn’t equal a perfect life. Try not to compare your reality to the illusion perpetuated in the media. Tidy, orderly, or clean(ish) are much better goals. When you’re an empty nester, there'll be ample opportunity to have a spotless home. Also, give yourself and your family plenty of time, but set a hard deadline to stay accountable. You could even plan a little celebration when it’s all done to offer sincere praise for everyone’s effort. April 23rd—The Johnston Pizza Party!
#3 Say Goodbye to Marathon Cleaning Sessions—Master the “Mini-Sprint”
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a grueling 10-hour marathon of mopping and scrubbing—unless that’s your preference of course. It’s certainly not mine. So, I prefer to spread out the to-do list over days/weeks. Most of us can feel paralyzed by a task that’s too big. Ever thought, Where do I even begin? That can lead to procrastination. By dividing your list into easy, actionable tasks, or “mini-sprints,” you’ll actually get more done. You can even set the timer. I’ll work on this scary cluttered closet for just 15 minutes. Once you get started, your motivation increases. Don’t be surprised if you work past the timer. Pacing yourself in this way also means you’re less likely to burn out and abandon your other household responsibilities, which, let’s face it, don’t let up. By setting aside quick bursts of time for tasks, you’ll keep your momentum strong. And what a great method to model to your children.
#4 One Room at a Time!
A sure-fire way to get distracted and lose steam is moving from room to room while you’re cleaning. It can start to feel overwhelming pretty quickly. Everywhere I look—messes! Instead, narrow your focus. Stick to a single room, closet, corner, or drawer and clean it from one end to the other before moving to the next. Remember to start with high-priority areas first. It’s also pretty amazing the sense of satisfaction that comes from checking an entire room or problem area off your list. Talk about a spring cleaning tsunami—there’s no breaking your flow now.
Let’s be real, cleaning isn’t usually fun. But do your best to make it as pleasant as possible. Enjoy a retro music playlist, listen to a podcast, ask a friend to come over and keep you company, make it a game or competition with the kids. Whatever you do, frame it as an opportunity to build yourself and others up rather than tearing anyone down. Now that’s my idea of a good spring cleaning. I smell nothing but freshness on the horizon—or is that my teenager’s new hair gel? Regardless, breathe in all that goodness!
Spring into a freshening up of family life, with our signature Adventure into Character series. It’s full of inspiration for greater connection with your family.