We’re all thinking about it. If we’d only known that we would be spending so much time at home, we would have cleaned things up a bit more. But it’s not too late to make your quarantine more pleasant. Give yourself more space, experience more comfort, and enjoy a home that looks how you want. Here are some tips to help your quarantine spring cleaning go smoothly.
Before we get started, it’s important to remember the most important part of a project is safety. While that’s always true, it’s even worth a reminder in these unusual times. Lift heavy items correctly and make sure you don’t stack anything that could fall. Get plenty of fresh air while using cleaners and don’t overwork yourself. A clean home is priceless, but you’re even more valuable than that.
1. Make a plan
Every project needs a plan, and cleaning your house is no different. Taking the time to make a plan before you get started will save you massive amounts of time. With a plan, you can stay focused on your goals and priorities, and you’ll always know what to do next.
A popular method for making a plan is to create a list. And one of the most satisfying things about working your way through a list is checking things off when they’re done. You’ll quickly see how much progress you can make cleaning a house in a short time.
2. Gather your quarantine spring cleaning supplies
Once you’ve made a plan, you’ll know what you need to get the job done. Getting together everything you need for a successful spring cleaning is normal, but right now things aren’t quite normal. Some stores are still sold out of cleaning supplies, paper towels, and other items that are usually easy to find. This situation can make serious spring cleaning a tricky business. But don’t lose hope!
There are plenty of alternatives to sold-out items. You can use an old sock or other worn-out clothing with your cleaner of choice to wipe down windows, blinds, and mirrors. A pillowcase makes for the perfect tool to slide the dust bunnies off a ceiling fan — just put the pillowcase over the fan blade and slide it off, trapping the dust inside.
As for household cleaners, you may have everything you need in the pantry. White vinegar mixed with warm water will clean most everything, and lemon juice is great for wiping away stains in the microwave. Rubbing alcohol mixed with water might be the streak-free window cleaner you’ve been looking for. There are plenty of recipes online, so you can find something that works with what you have. If you like fizzy cleaners, you might be surprised to find out mixing vinegar and baking soda is good for more than just volcanoes—the combination is effective for cleaning ovens, carpets, and bathrooms.
3. Clear the clutter
Clearing out unwanted junk is one of the best parts of spring cleaning. You need to do it before you can get to the rest of your cleaning because it removes obstacles and gives you more room to work. Every aspect of cleaning is easier if you get all the junk out of the way first. We understand that can be a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be.
It’s healthy to let go of the things you no longer want or that have outlived their purpose. You’ll give yourself more space, feel more relaxed, and make more room for indoor activities. If all you manage to do in your quarantine cleaning is clear out all the clutter, you’ll have made a huge accomplishment.
A popular method for clearing clutter is making three categories: Keep, Trash, and Donate. You can make your own categories, of course. The important thing is realizing that, when something doesn’t fit in the Keep pile, it has to go away. It can be a challenging mental exercise, but it makes a world of difference.
While letting go of stuff isn’t always easy, but COVID-19 has made decluttering a bit more complicated. Some of the normal outlets, like having a garage sale or giving items away to friends, might not be realistic for you right now. If you have items that you want to get rid of that still have life in them, we recommend calling appropriate local charities to see if they’re still accepting donations. There are plenty of things people still need.
Fortunately, you can still dispose of unwanted junk in responsible ways. In Austin, essential city services are still running, and that includes recycling. If you have junk that the city won’t recycle, like mattresses or furniture, the team at Duke’s Junk Recycling is happy to help. You can drop off junk at our new location or call us to haul it away for you. However you choose to get rid of your junk, the important thing is you don’t let it stand in your way of a clean and happy home.
4. Work from top to bottom, left to right
Many cleaning professionals recommend cleaning your home from top to bottom. Of course, you want to give it a good cleaning, but “top to bottom” isn’t a metaphor. Start with the cobwebs on the ceiling and work your way down to the dust bunnies under the couch. By working from the ceiling to the floor, you’ll save yourself plenty of work. When you’re seriously cleaning, you knock a lot of dust loose, and they’ll move down. You don’t want to clean off your table again every time you dust a shelf.
As for left to right or right to left, the direction is up to you. The important thing is that you’re consistent. By choosing to work from one side of the room to the other, you’ll avoid missing anything important. More importantly, it will help you stay efficient and on-task. If you follow this method, you’ll get your cleaning done in half the time.
5. Make it fun!
Sometimes we feel like we should suffer for letting our home get messy, but that’s the farthest thing from the truth. Everyone deserves to live in a place that makes them happy, even if it takes a little elbow grease to get us there!
There are many ways to make quarantine spring cleaning more fun. You can put on your favorite music, or you can listen to podcasts and audiobooks. If you’re the competitive type, you can make it a personal competition by timing yourself. For those quarantining with someone else, you can work together to make the time fly.
We also realize that many people can’t drop everything for spring cleaning. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry, you can work at your own pace. If you clean just one thing a day, imagine how much you could accomplish in a couple of weeks. Prioritize your most important cleaning goals and get them out of the way, and you’ll quickly get everything done that you want.
Keep your eye on the prize
That should be plenty to help you get started. Clearing out the clutter and cleaning up a bit is a great way to take control of your situation. It’s not an easy job, but it’s one that will make you feel great!
One final tip: take a before and after picture of your quarantine spring cleaning. There’s nothing like seeing how far you’ve come to give you that feeling of accomplishment. It also gives you something fun to share with your friends and family on social media, because they’ll be proud of you too. Best of luck, and if you are a fellow resident of Austin, stop by our Austin recycling center and tell us about your quarantine spring cleaning efforts. Always good to share good news.