5 Steps for Better Spring Cleaning

Written by Dina Newman of Organizing Concepts and Designs
Updated June 15, 2020
blue bristled broom in white room
To ensure success, organize and clean one room at a time. (Photo by Summer Galyan)

Don't tackle spring cleaning without devising a plan of attack first.

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After reading so many articles about spring cleaning, I decided to dig in and figure out why so many people do this.

Having been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at a very early age, I just always assumed that everyone performed this rite of spring because it was such a wonderful thing to do and that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

To be truthful, I engaged in spring cleaning all year long. I just didn’t get teased when it was spring when everyone else seemed to be on board.

Cultural origins of spring cleaning

Once upon a time, long, long ago, spring cleaning (albeit not referred to as spring cleaning) was a cultural endeavor:

• Iranian culture: Every year on the first day of spring, the spring equinox, Iranians celebrate Now Rouz, or the new year. It's a 2-week-long festival that includes a variety of celebrations. Every year before it begins, Iranians participate in khaneh takani, literally “shaking the house,” or what we would call spring cleaning. They believe that everything must be made as good as new essentially to begin the new year in the right way. (Source: Iran Press Service)Jewish culture: During Passover, when the Jewish people celebrate their departure from Egypt, they're required to remove all leavened products from their homes. Some historians believe they would clean their homes from top to bottom before Passover, and therefore during the spring, to ensure that nothing leavened remain, no matter how small. (Source: The History Channel)Chinese culture: Before the Chinese New Year, usually in late January or early February, the Chinese clean their homes to sweep out the bad luck and usher in the good. (Source: The New York Times)

Whatever the reason, spring cleaning has been around for ages, and I don’t see signs of it disappearing anytime soon. Here are some helpful tips on how to start the process and get through it efficiently:

1. Be prepared for cleaning and organizing

Make sure you have the right supplies:• cleaning supplies (a vacuum, rags and dusters)• a tote to hold the cleaning supplies• containers, bins, boxes or baskets• bags for trash or for donations

2. Make a cleaning plan

Take all your supplies with you into each room to save time and energy:• Pick up the clutter in each room. (Consider anything that doesn't have a home as clutter!)• Toss the garbage.• Anything that you want but doesn’t have a home in the room you’re working in goes into a basket or bin for distribution to another area.•  For anything that belongs in that room, put it where it belongs.• This is a good time to put things away that don’t necessarily need to be on display. It will certainly cut down on your cleaning time if you have less out on the shelves, countertops, and so on.• Start at the same place in each room. I like to go from left to right. It takes the decision-making component out of it.• Always clean top to bottom. This is important! Anything that you don’t get with the dust rag will fall to the floor, so when you’re finished you can then clean the floor.

3. Prioritize

Figure out which area is most important. This is important because you might not get this all done in one day.• Tackle one area at a time: I can’t emphasize this enough. If you try to get the whole house done, it will be overwhelming.• Spring cleaning is a process, and you don't have to do it in one day or even in one weekend.

4. Delegate

Ask your significant other, children, roommate or house cleaner to help.

5. Have some fun!

• Make a game out of it.• Challenge your children to a contest and make sure to reward the winner.• Play some great upbeat music.

About this Experts Contributor: Dina Newman is the owner and founder of Organizing Concepts and Designs, providing her clients throughout the Los Angeles area with home organization solutions and tools to improve productivity and efficiency.

As of March 28, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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