by guest blogger Maya Rodale, writer of historical tales of true love and adventure
I love cleaning. Weird, I know. I especially love a fresh, clean, organized, and clutter-free home. Please note, I have that approximately two to three hours per year, and spring is one of those times. Here are some tips that make cleaning a breeze...
Make your goals and reorganize accordingly. Spring is the season of rebirth, and thus it's a great time to revisit your New Year's resolutions and other stuff you've been meaning to do. It's a great time to set yourself up for success. For example, move your exercise gear to an accessible location. Want to lose weight or clean up your diet? Clear out your pantry and restock only healthy stuff.
Involve the whole family for a cleaning "power hour." Here's a "game" I came up with when babysitting my sisters. We pick a room to clean (for us it's the kitchen/family room) and together make a list of everything to do: dishes done, toys away, pillows fluffed, and so forth. One item that must be on the list is making a playlist of upbeat music. Then we delegate and sort out who does what, with the grown-ups getting the yucky chores (compost out) and the kids getting age-appropriate tasks (folding blankets). Finally, we set the clock and GO!
That, my friends, is how to clean a disgusting room with help from kids in one hour. Afterward, we all must sit down on the couch and watch a TV show and eat ice cream. Do not skip that step.
Put winter stuff away. It's an easy place to start and it makes room do to more. We put our coats, sweaters, and boots in plastic zipper bags and take them to my mom's basement. (Thank you!) A storage locker is another option. While you're doing that...
Declutter, recycle, think of the animals. Old sweaters can go. And while you're in your closet, pull out other stuff you don't wear. Look at the stuff around your home and ask yourself, "Could someone use this better than me?" If yes, get rid of it. If no, and it's because it's broken or gross, recycle it. I like earth911.com for local recycling centers--especially for stuff like old cords and DVDs. Many animal shelters will also take old bedding for the dogs, who don't care if it's stained or has holes.
Launder everything. If you can, hang everything out to dry in a spring breeze and sunshine. I have to haul my stuff across state lines to make this happen, but it's so worth it. Pillows, curtains, down comforters especially need a good washing. Trust me, going to sleep on freshly cleaned sheets, blankets and pillows is worth all the effort.
Maya Rodale is the author of multiple historical romance novels, as well as the nonfiction book Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. She has a Master's degree from New York University and lives in Manhattan with her darling dog and a rogue of her own mayarodale.com. Her latest book is The Tattooed Duke.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com