I’m sorry I haven’t been here much lately. I was busy with the spring (or should I say summer) cleaning.
This time of the year is always difficult for me. It’s always too hot. Water shortages. Power cuts. Life is not easy in Indian summer. However the fun part is all the green and brown hues everywhere in the city. I happen to have a big wasteland behind my apartment complex. I’m planning on planting some old overgrown plants from our balconies there. I actually am looking for suggestions for plants that will survive with minimum care and through the summer as well. If you have any ideas please let me know!
Anyway, getting back to the cleaning, I always find it very challenging to let go of things. Eventually the stuff gets piled up and then one day in the year I feel very determined to get rid of all the useless things. That one day extends to a week and a week later I have bruises, body ache, cuts and a lot of garbage to throw away. This year however, I changed how I do things. You may find a lot of articles on spring cleaning online; however what I have found out is that everyone’s stuff is different. I have a few things I use only once or twice in a year but I can’t just throw them away. What is helpful though are some ground rules when it comes to cleaning. First and foremost: Make a list. I am a list lover and I always start with making lists and stick to it.
I also used a list made by Kelly on her blog HERE. It is useful to just keep track of things and not get lost in the chaos.
- Start with the small and easy.
I’m the type of person who gets more energy to keep going when I get something done. I start with the clothes. Sort them into KEEP, DONATE; RECYCLE (Use as tack cloth). Wash them. Pack them. It’s easy and all you have to do is just load them in the washing machine. Then I move on to the books. It’s easy to get through them as most of the books in my house are mine. Then it’s the turn for what seems like a never ending pile of stuff in the storage or garage.
The advantage in this system is you free up useable space in the house, in cabinets, on shelves etc., where you can add new things or old things you like. So when you do the pile you can add or subtract stuff from shelves.
Deepz from My Voice has some good tips that will help with organising your closet. I do this every two months or so to keep the mess to the minimum.
- Go clockwise and room wise.
When doing the drawers, cabinets and beds, go clockwise in any room. It’s easier to pace yourself and control the mess when you go in one direction. Start in one corner then go clockwise or anticlockwise as you prefer.
I always start with the wardrobe or cabinets. This creates the space needed to store away the items less used or things that came out and haven’t gone back in and are lying on the table now.
- Do a batch of linens every day.
Some people try to get all the laundry done in one day. This will make your life hectic with the curtains missing and the mattresses bare. Instead choose a room and do all the curtains, sheets you would use there in one day.
In India it’s so hot that if I get the washing done in morning, by afternoon it’s all dry and toasty.
- If you haven’t even thought about it in the past 6 months, throw it.
This applies to clothes, really old useless books, toys, magazines or any of those tiny things we all end up collecting over time. I prefer to just get rid of it because these things just keep piling up, taking up space in all corners of the house. I usually maintain 3 big boxes when I do this. One is for books and papers, another for plastic and one more for Keep/recycle. Once I’m done with all the sorting, I go through the keep/ recycle bin again and decide what I really really need. What happens is you tend to go with the flow and throw away some things without much thought. Keeping the keep/recycle items together stops you from being impulsive.
Then on the last day I sell what I can and donate other things. In India plastics and papers are easy to sell.
- If it doesn’t work and you have a replacement, sell it.
It happens to all of us. We have small appliances or even big ones which have some issues. We don’t throw them thinking we can repair them and use again. Ask yourself do you really need to do that? Why bother repairing something that you can live without in the first place. I had a small sandwich maker and a small oven. It was wrapped in plastic and shoved in the deepest darkest corner. It worked, but I didn’t need it so I sold it. It’s so much easier as well with all the online reselling sites now.
I then use the money to either buy something, repair something that can be truly saved or just put in the piggy bank.
- Label the boxes.
It’s easy to lose track of what’s where over time. I made the mistake many years in a row where I won’t label my boxes and then I had to open all boxes in order to find a tiny thing I needed for 5 minutes. Now, I make a list of all things going in the box and then just stick it on the top. It’s also easier for next cleaning season. You know if you need to open that box or not beforehand. Saves time and effort.
- Clean everything before packing.
I make it a point to clean all things before packing. Clothes, utensils (I always have a few excess), toys or random things, just give things a good clean before you chuck them in a box. This saves time when you take them out later when you need them. I also pack a few scented items like candles or mothballs or just bay leaves sometimes. These keep the pests away and keep things smelling good.
- Its good idea to multitask.
What I mean when I say multitask is that you can start two areas at once sometimes. Like when I do the clothes, I put the washing machine on. Soak my bathroom in the preferred cleaner (I like vinegar and baking soda with small amount of soap) and leave to do groceries or any outside work. Sometimes I just take a lunch break. When I come back I put on water to boil to use for the bathroom, I hang the clothes to dry and then 10 mins in the bathroom and all done. Then I pour the hot water down the drains and the sink. It’s not necessary but I have this thing in my head that hot water is the best cleaner for almost all things. I finish with it to FEEL CLEAN. However do not use hot water if you have plastic pipes!
Also when I do the kitchen, I first soak up the difficult areas, like the stove and underneath the stove. Then move on to other things. Then I do the soaked up areas later. This helps loosen the oil and grime and reduces effort buy a million times.
- Do the walls and floors last.
I prefer to clean up all the other things before I do the walls and floors. I don’t use a rug or carpet as it’s pretty toasty even in winters. I find it easier to first clean up all the other things. Then on the last day I get a wet tack cloth and wipe all the walls clean, followed by the usual floor cleaning with hot soapy water. Again… hot water to feel clean.
- Make life easy for everyone, Label everything
I put on temporary labels on all things possible to help others in the house find what they are looking for. This includes labelling the containers in the kitchen, drawers, and cabinets. I use post-it notes so that in a few days they can be taken off.
I hope this helps. Have you faced the grand challenge called Spring cleaning differently? Let me know!