Spring Cleaning 101

 'Tis the season for Spring Cleaning! The minimalist trend has been going strong for a while, but "purging" and deep cleaning can be a daunting task. I have rounded up a few tips, from motivation to method, to help you get started without feeling overwhelmed.

Before starting a deep cleaning or a purge of any kind, you need to be in the right mindset. Whether you need to pump up the music, get a diffuser going with a cleaning essential oils blend or read a motivational book, it is important to find what motivates you. 

You will obviously need supplies and it is important to make sure you gather everything prior to starting or you could lose the momentum. 

You might remember that, when it comes to cleaning products, I generally prefer to go green. However, I stick with the traditional formulas for a few things as I feel they work better (clogged drain anyone?) - just make sure not to use more product than necessary, a little usually goes a long way. 

A few must-have cleaning supplies are: 

> rubber gloves! You need to protect your hands when dealing with cleaning products and chemicals

> multi-purpose spray and wipes: I love the convenience of wipes for places likes bathrooms (ahem, toilet bowls), but I always make sure not to use too many and I never, ever flush them in the toilet. I also love a good multi-purpose cleaner for tougher countertop stains or spots I want to disinfect really well - otherwise I usually stick to greener products

> reliable garbage bags: whether you are purging old junk, donating clothes or taking out the trash, there is nothing more annoying than a garbage bag that breaks and spills out everywhere.

> good sponges: I'm a total sponge snob and strongly believe you should invest in good quality sponges. You also need to have a few of them. Plan for at least 2 or 3 for different uses and rooms. 

Don't forget to dress comfortably with clothes you're not afraid to spill on, get your hair out of your face, and get going! 

 Don't tackle it all at once or you will find yourself overwhelmed, but do make sure to plan ahead and allow yourself plenty of time so you don't have to stop and lose your momentum. 

Tackle the cleaning room by room, starting with your usual weekly cleanup steps: 
(1) tidy, (2) dust, (3) vacuum and disinfect 

Then move on to the "deep cleaning" part: pay attention to details and get info the nooks and corners you normally forgo. If necessary, make a list of all the places you want to get to (for example: baseboards, doors, door knobs, phones and keyboards, higher shelves and picture frames, under the furniture, etc.) - it's easy to forget one!

I then like to tackle the "purging" part of the process once everything is clean: gather your garbage bags and go through each room, sorting what needs to be sorted, thrown away or donated. 
Remember that "junk drawer" in your kitchen? Now is the time to get rid of those 5 year old coupons and menus for restaurants that no longer exist.
You can also involve your child and get them to participate by sorting out the toys they want to donate, etc. 

Last but not least, your closet
Back when I lived in Paris, my rule was "if I haven't worn it in the past 6 months, out if goes". Now that I live in a place where Winters can last for 6+ months, I have extended my clothing grace period to one year. 

If you're having doubts about an item, put it aside and keep going. Once you're done, go back to the pile of items you were unsure about and ask yourself why you want to keep it despite never wearing/using it. Are you emotionally attached to it? Does it bring back a fond memory? A feeling?  
Assess the reasons and remember: while it is important to be rational and not hold on to too many useless material things, you are the only judge. So don't force yourself to get rid of something you're not ready to let go of. There's always next time! 


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