by Libby Kane
Spring is in the air.
Ok, fine. It’s just the unseasonably warm winter.
But we’re looking ahead to one of our favorite seasons, and nothing will make us better prepared to enjoy it than some serious spring cleaning.
Looking around and seeing your sparkling living room, free of dust bunnies at last, is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. And as we all know, happier people are less stressed and more productive, not to mention good for the economy. Besides, a clean house frees your mind to focus on more important things.
But, because no one wants to spend hours scrubbing when the sun is finally starting to show its face, and the whole family just wants to be outside, we want to maximize your spring cleaning—with expert tips that will save you time, toil and money.
So we spoke with Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro for an efficient, organized, and–dare we say–fun start to a much fresher spring.
1. Get Great Deals
The best part about keeping your eye out ahead of time is that you’ll have a chance to get the best deals on staples like soap and sponges. Create a spring cleaning envelope to hold coupons for products you’ll need, and leave the envelope in your purse or the glove compartment of your car so it travels with you wherever you go. Go ahead and set up a filter or folder in your email to keep track of electronic offers and coupons, too.
2. Build a Toolkit
Homer recommends that you assemble your supplies using a shower caddy or other container with a handle. This will help you to move quickly from task to task and room to room without wasting steps or risking distractions. To really take advantage of cost savings and multitasking, use the one currently in your shower (you can always put it back when you’re done)—or snap one up for as little as $6.
3. Get Colorful
Assign a color-coded microfiber rag for each room and surface in the home. “After all, you don’t want to use the same rag for the kitchen counter that you would use for the bathroom. You’ll also cut back on paper waste and streamline your cleaning process by knowing which rag to grab for where.”
4. Spring Clean Your Sponge
“In order to ensure that you’re cleaning with a germ-free sponge, steam the sponge in the microwave for two minutes to kill all of the bacteria,” Homer told us. “Alternately, run the sponge through the dishwasher to kill the germs. Be sure to do this at least twice a week, not just during spring cleaning.”
5. Invite a Whole Crew
Recruit your family to help you by creating a cleaning calendar so everyone knows when they need to help you and how. “That way, they can’t ‘accidentally’ make plans on the day you set aside to scrub down the bathrooms,” says Homer. And it’s a classic case of many hands making less work for just you alone.
6. Crank Up the Tunes!
Make sure everyone in your cleaning crew gets to work to some tunes they like, which will make it more fun for everyone. We’re not saying you have to clean to The Wiggles, but upbeat music will help keep you motivated. To find an awesome online music service, check out our chart of the best sites for your buck.
7. Schedule Short Breaks
“Once you’re rolling on a major cleaning task, it’s easy to get caught up in the job and forget to replenish your energy,” warns Homer. “Use a timer to schedule and signal snack, meal and hydration breaks … but don’t break for so long that you lose your momentum!” 15 to 30 minutes should provide a nice rest, without time to get lost in Facebook or different tasks. Looking for an affordable, nutritious snack? Make sure to keep superfoods on hand.
8. Reward Yourself
“Good things come to those who … clean!” Homer jokes. “It can be as simple as an ice cream cone, an On-Demand flick or favorite family meal.” Remember to congratulate yourself, and any helpers who may have helped you along the way. Another reward to remember? All the calories you’ll be burning: Find out exactly how many with this neat chart.
9. Make It Last
To keep the sparkle of your big clean going long after spring, stay on top of little messes before they turn into big ones. ”Keep a few tubs of disinfecting wipes stashed around the house in places your kids tend to make a mess–the bathroom, playroom, kitchen, etc,” Homer says. “Green cleaning product companies like Seventh Generation have recently entered the disinfecting wipe market, so now busy moms can kill germs, save time and save the environment!” (For our picks in green cleaning products, check out this chart.)