Yay! Spring has finally arrived!!! Well… sort of, for me there is still snow on the ground, however that itch to get some spring cleaning done has come! Clearing out clutter, cleaning, and rearranging is a great way to move energy and freshen things up! As soon as the weather warms up it's nice to get outdoors and enjoy, so it's a great time to get started.
Although this can be a daunting task, taking one weekend to clear your schedule and GET IT DONE is the quickest way to knock that off your to do list! Planning ahead and choosing a time and NOT committing to anything else will ensure you are able to accomplish the task.
Having three kids definitely contributes to extra things piling up. I like to involve them in the process and when you can get everyone to pitch in it takes the load off yourself and makes “to stay or to go” decisions easier. It's likely they have outgrown clothing so it's a great time with the seasons changing to clear out those extra’s that wont fit next fall/winter.
Some suggestions to make the project more efficient:
- Make a plan and determine what you want to get done. Laying out your goals for the project will make it easier to assign tasks and to whom.
- Find out where your recyclable centres are located and hours of operation.
- If you plan to donate any items select which organization you wish to donate to, their location and hours of operation. Some organizations will come and pick up your items if you make those arrangements ahead of time.
- Have your supplies on hand.
- Start from the top down so you don't have to clean things twice. e.g. ceiling fans, door mouldings, light fixtures, bathroom vents. These tend collect dust over time so no sense in vacuuming the floors first and then dust your ceiling fans after.
- Meal plan and prepare ahead of time.
I like to use non toxic cleaners in my home for the safety of my kids and reducing the toxic load of what we put into our environment. Commercial cleaners are composed primarily of water, chemicals and fragrances. Some of these can aggravate allergies, cause skin sensitivity and pose poisoning risks to children (and pets). A fantastic resource for determining the safety of products in your home is Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org, they rate the safety of just about every over the counter brand and product.
Natural cleaners are inexpensive and quite simple to make with ingredients you probably already have in your home. You will find many of them use the same base ingredients. You can purchase spray bottles from your local hardware store, wash and reuse.
A simple all purpose cleaner can be made with 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, the juice of one lemon and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil. Lemon and vinegar have germ killing properties so it's great for sinks, tables, and appliances. (Note - Don’t use vinegar on granite or marble.) Since this recipe has fresh lemon in it you will want to use within a few days of making it, or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
In general, homemade cleaners shouldn't be made in large quantities because the don’t have stabilizers or artificial ingredients to extend the shelf life. It's always a good idea test cleaners in an inconspicuous spot to ensure it's good to use on the surface you wish. You can also play around with different essential oils to enjoy the scents you love.
Once your home has been decluttered, refreshed, and cleaned you will be able to enjoy your time outside in the warm weather tha'ts just around the corner. Happy spring cleaning!