Piles of stuff on counters, stuff spilling off the edges of shelves, mountains of stuff scattered across the floor. Stuff. Clutter.
I have a lot of it. It’s everywhere.
Regular readers will know that I’m in the process of decluttering. Cleaning up my physical and mental surroundings. And, as I clear surfaces of rubbish and conquer the mountains of neglected items taking up space on my floors, I become increasingly aware of the dust and grime that hides amongst the clutter.
I’ve always known I was messy (one hope of decluttering is that I might become tidier!), but I never really considered that being messy can also be quite so dirty. I can’t bear a dirty kitchen, floors get swept and bathrooms get cleaned.
But, having so much stuff littered everywhere, it really is impossible to clean properly.
I’ve been mortified by the dirt hiding behind the piles as each one has been cleared.
With spring finally in the air (what has been up with the weather?), it’s time to roll my sleeves up and not just tidy, but clean too.
But, where to focus my energies? And how to maximize the time I have available, in our increasingly busy family schedule?
Involve the family
Kids learn from us, and frankly I can’t give them a hard time for being messy: I haven’t been setting a great example! But, as I work through each shelf, box and corner I’m trying to take them along with me. Explaining what I’m doing and why. I want them to get involved and clean their own rooms, but more than that I want them to take pride in their surroundings and respect their stuff. I want their rooms to stay tidy and clean!
Let there be light
I have to be honest, cleaning isn’t high up on my fun list. I hate vacuuming (wooden floors all the way for me) and *whispers* I never iron. I do however find it extremely satisfying to see the end result of a flurry of tidying and cleaning. So, I’ll be throwing open the windows and letting in as much natural light as possible; the fresh air will help with my cleaning and the sunshine will help with my mood. And, I’ll be putting on some good cleaning tunes to pass the time and keep me motivated!
Be aware of your surroundings
I have allergies. Mild ones, thankfully, but certain times of year see me with itchy eyes and a streaming nose. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks my daughter seems to have been suffering too. Red, itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. She’s been miserable. Add to that my eldest who has mild asthma, keeping the house dust (and pollen!) free really is a priority.
But it’s not just seasonal allergies that we need to be aware of, be on the lookout for the places in your home that may contain harmful substances such as asbestos. Plenty of homes built before the 1970’s can have this harmful toxin, which can cause lung and health problems including the preventable cancer mesothelioma. Asbestos can be found in insulation, vinyl flooring, and even the siding in some homes and should only be removed by a licensed professional.
Something I’ve been meaning to try is making my own, natural cleaning products using lemon, baking soda, vinegar and water. And, a few drops of essential oils can add a scent that is a lot better for you than store bought chemicals :) My cooker is impossible to clean, and I have tried everything to get rid of stubborn grime. It’s time to get out the baking soda!
All the way to the top
I’m short, no two ways about it :) There are cupboards in our house that I don’t use because I can’t reach them. But out of sight doesn’t mean clean! So I won’t be forgetting about high-up surfaces where lots of pesky allergy-inducing particles can be!
Set a timer
Getting started can be daunting, I know myself that I put off tasks that seem overwhelming. So, I set a timer. It’s amazing what I can get done in fifteen minutes. I start the clock, focus and before I know it, the time is up and I’ve cleared and cleaned a shelf, or mopped the floor, or emptied another box of clutter. I find it easier to clean in short, sharp bursts and a few of them over the course of a morning makes a huge difference, and doesn’t leave me feeling like I’ve spent the morning cleaning :)
Have you begun your spring cleaning yet, or are you just getting started like me? Do you have any top tips to add?