As summer kicks into full gear, sunshine streams through the windows. It’s beautiful at first until you suddenly notice all of the streaks and smudges. You look around and see the crowded shelves, dusty furniture, and scuffed floors. Spring cleaning might have gotten away from you, but there’s nothing like the long days of summer to tackle the project of a thorough house cleaning. It doesn’t have to be long and arduous; if you keep in mind just a few essentials, the process can be not only efficient but even enjoyable.
Before you whip out the vacuum, take time to sort through the items in each room. This way, you won’t have to clean what you end up throwing away. The most effective decluttering method is to separate all of your items into categories. The trick is to gather the items from all of the rooms in the house, not just one, so that each pile of toys, books, or clothes shows you exactly what and how much you own. By seeing all of what you have, you can see what’s broken, unused, or unnecessary. Take advantage of items in good condition and consider selling them online. Websites make it easy to sell vintage toy collections, furniture, jewelry, and more. This brings in some extra cash and helps you declutter.
Once you have determined what to keep and what to get rid of, it is time to tackle the actual cleaning part. Since everything has already been displaced, first wipe off all the shelves and surfaces. While there is no right method, consider using a microfiber cloth, which not only traps all dust and debris but is also machine washable for reuse. For wooden surfaces, use a lemon-based cleaner, and stay away from harsh chemicals that might damage paint or polish. For windows, instead of using paper towels, try unmarked newspaper with a spray mixture of vinegar and water. This easy trick helps prevent those streaks and smudges.
Only after you have donated, thrown away, or sold what you no longer need or want, then it is time to clean the remaining items and put them away. Now is also the time to buy bins or shelves. If you try to organize or find space for items before you have sorted them, it will only make more work for you in the future as you have to rearrange everything once more to account for the items you sold. Once you know what you are working with, start replacing toys, books, and clothes back where they belong, rearranging them to fit the space and your needs. Place the most used items in an easy-to-reach location and store the memorabilia or seasonal items on the top shelf or in the less accessible areas. A few recommended ideas for storage and organization:
- Keep a small box or tray by the front door to throw your keys, wallet, and mail-in when you come and go.
- Stack books horizontally as well as vertically for increased storage and a new look.
- Place all of your hangers backward on the rod, but when you use a piece of clothing, put the hanger back properly. After six months you will have a clear vision of what you have not worn, making it easy to see what can be gotten rid of or sold.
- Buy soft baskets for toys instead of bins. They sit nicely on the floor, fit strangely shaped toys, and quickly hide the mess of toys and games.
There are countless tricks and suggestions online, such as sites like Good Housekeeping that have great tips for storage and organization.
Use these summer months to tackle the mess and clutter in your home. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore—it can be a productive, rewarding experience. Just follow these simple steps to minimize the stress and chaos of the process. Don’t be discouraged if the mess grows when you begin the process. Exposing the clutter and dirt is the first step to eradicating it. Embrace the challenge of decluttering your house and enjoy the reward of a beautiful, clean home.