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Simple Steps for Tackling Spring Cleaning, Room-by-Room

Simple Steps for Tackling Spring Cleaning, Room-by-Room

    After a long winter, the first signs of spring – new flowers popping up in the garden, buds on the trees, and warmer temperatures – may have inspired you to clean your house and yard from top-to-bottom, making it sparkly and new-looking again. But sometimes spring cleaning can seem like an overwhelming task leaving you unsure of what to do and where to start.  By breaking down the big project into smaller parts, you’re more likely to find success.  We’re going to break down your spring cleaning plans by room, and then task.  You’ll feel more accomplished looking at a completed room than a partially cleaned house.

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    The Bedroom(s)

    1. Go through your clothes.  At the change of seasons, many people simply pack up their warmer winter wear and put them in a big plastic container to store until the cold weather rolls around again.  That’s all fine and good, but if cleaning and organizing are your goal, you’ll want to take it a step further.  After you’ve gathered all your winter clothes up, go through them and ask yourself whether your wore each item that winter.  If you didn’t wear it, you may want to consider donating it.  Don’t hang onto it for another year. If you didn’t wear it this year, you’re unlikely to next year.  If you have clothes laying around needing to be washed, don’t leave them lay or wait to wash them until next year, do it now.  Gather up anything that needs dry cleaning and drop those off, and wash at home any other items that may be soiled.  If something is damaged, like missing a button, fix it now, otherwise it’s likely to end up in your pile of unworn clothes next winter.  If you have children, a spouse/partner or others living with you, try to get them to do the same and go through their clothes.
    2. Revitalize your bed. Things are starting to warm up, so now’s the time to trade those cozy but heavy flannel sheets for lighter, airier linen ones.  You may also consider putting away a blanket or two.  Wash it first, then pack it away.  If it’s in disrepair, consider getting rid of it altogether if there’s a chance you won’t want to use it again when the cold sets in next fall or winter.  Before you put on the new sheets and blankets, flip your mattress.  That is, of course, if you have a traditional mattress. It will last long and wear better if regularly flipped.  Want to treat yourself?  Get a new, fluffy pillow.

    The Kitchen

    1. Get rid of any expired foods. Go through the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. Look for any old and past date food, or containers that look like they may be growing mold (ew!).  Toss them.  While you’re at it, wipe down the shelves in the cupboards and in the fridge.
    2. Sweep & mop the floor, wipe the counters. Nothing makes a kitchen shine line a freshly mopped floors. Sweep it with a broom or a vacuum set for hard floors to pick up any crumbs first. I hope you regularly wipe down your counters, but if you don’t, do that now too.
    3. Clean & polish the cupboards. The cupboards below your sink or nearest the store are the most likely to be dirtied, through drips, spills and splashes of various foods and drinks.  A rag and some wood cleaner are all you need, and it shouldn’t take too much effort to wipe things down and get them in tip-top shape again.
    4. Clean the stovetop. The stovetop is another prime area for grime to accumulate.  Get yourself a multi-surface kitchen cleaning spray and get to scrubbing.  If you have an electric stove, you’ll need to pick up a special cleaner to wipe on and wipe off.

    The Living Room & Dining Room

    1. Dust. Clear off all your table tops and dust them well. Pull out your vacuum and its hose and brush extensions and vacuum up any dust on your lampshades.
    2. Refresh your decor. Instead of completely redesigning your interior, you can instead swap out little things, like putting new photos in your frames.
    3. Vacuum and get your carpet cleaned. Vacuum all your carpets really well, and use the crevice tool to get in the corners well.  Since you likely tracked in a lot of snow and dirt in the winter months, now’s an excellent time to get your carpets professionally cleaned.  Getting your furniture cleaned once a year is also a good idea to keep it fresh and long lasting. Be on the look out for spring specials!

    Outdoors

    1. Replace your welcome mats. If they just have a few leaves stuck to them then a a good shake will suffice, but if they’re looking dirty and worn, it’s time for new ones.
    2. Clean out the gardens. Rake the dead leaves from the gardens.  You can compost them or bag them up and toss them out with the trash.

    All Over

    1. Get rid of clutter. Are there toys laying around that your kids no longer play with?  Box them up.  Anything you haven’t used recently can be considered for removal.  And the best thing to do with the things you no longer need is to either donate them to Goodwill or another charity (if in good condition), or make a few extra bucks by holding your own garage sale.
    2. Wipe down the walls and baseboards. Get yourself a good bucket full of soapy water and a big sponge.  You’ll get the fingerprints and other little impurities off the walls and they’ll look new again.
    3. Clean the windows. Windex and some rags will suffice, but if you want to go all out you can use a squeegee.

    The are undoubtedly a million other things that you could thing of to do to get your house clean and in tip-top shape, but this list is a good start.  And like I said, when you work room by room, it feels like you’ve accomplished a lot more than just don’t little projects scattered around the house, and it won’t be so overwhelming.

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    Julie McCormick

    Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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