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 at a very early age with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) I just always assumed that everyone did it 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 as everyone else seemed to be on board.
Where it all began:
Once upon a time, long, long ago, spring cleaning, albeit not referred to as spring cleaning, was a cultural endeavor. Here are some interesting historical facts:
Iranian culture – Every year on March 21, the spring equinox, Iranians celebrate Now Rouz or the new year. It is a 2 week long festival which 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 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 are 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. Below are some helpful tips on how to start the process and get through it efficiently:
1. Be Prepared: Make sure you have the right supplies
• Cleaning supplies (vacuum, rags, dusters)
• Tote to hold the cleaning supplies
• Containers, bins, boxes or baskets
• Bags for trash or for donations
2. Have a plan: Take all your supplies (see above) with you into each room to save time and energy.
• Start by picking up the clutter in each room.
o NOTE* ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T HAVE A HOME IS CONSIDERED 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 in another area
• Anything that belongs in that room needs to be put 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, etc.
• 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. I just start at the same place in each room.
• 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 what area is most important. This is important as 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 it does not have to be done in one day or even one weekend.
• Ask your significant other, children, roommate or housekeeper 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.