Spring has sprung at last!
The sun is starting to peek out more frequently, the days are getting warmer and longer, and all that daylight is exposing the dust and cobwebs that have collected this past winter. I don’t know what it is about spring, but I know that I feel compelled to rip apart my home and thoroughly clean everything, before putting it all back in its place (which is sometimes the garbage bin). Of course, even though having a freshly cleaned home is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world (I know I’m not alone in this) the actual process of getting your home to that state can be quite overwhelming.
That’s where I come in…
While I was in massage school I worked for a cleaning company where I picked up some handy tricks-of-the-trade that make cleaning a home a lot more manageable and fun. Now that I have five years of massage under my belt, I have also found some ways to make cleaning easier on your body so you don’t feel like you got hit by a bus when it’s all over.
1. Break it Up
There are a lot of great options for spring cleaning, but unless you live in a tiny house, deep cleaning everything at once is not advised. My reasoning for this, is because your home IS dirtier than you think. Even if you do a basic clean every week, there is always dirt, grime, and mold (this is Oregon after all) hiding in those hard to get and often neglected places like baseboards and window sills. A couple of great resources that I’ve found helpful are this wonderful weekly calendar (http://bakerette.com/cleaning-calendar/) and this 30 day deep clean calendar (http://mothersniche.com/30-day-clean-home-challenge/) which break things down into more manageable chunks that can work with even the busiest schedules.
2. Recruit help
One of the best parts of working for a cleaning company was having the support of a team when I walked onto some of the more challenging job sites. Having other people around for encouragement, and to take some of the work off your shoulders, can be very freeing and make a big job seem less intimidating. For some people, this will mean hiring a professional to come in and do at least some of the dirty work, but for the rest of us this means getting your roommate, significant other, kids (who are helpful) , or close friend to give you a hand.
3. Treat your body right
No matter what, cleaning is rough on your body. The movements are repetitive and the faster you clean, the easier it is to hurt yourself. Learning to listen to your body’s signals is the first step to preventing injury, making it possible to enjoy life AFTER spring cleaning.
One of most common cleaning injuries I see comes from vacuuming. Most people use their shoulders to push and pull the vacuum, causing repeated strain on both the shoulder and the neck. A better option is to walk with the vacuum, keeping your arm and shoulder in a fixed position, and allow your steps to move the vacuum along. Your body is an important tool when you are cleaning, so make sure to pay attention to how you are feeling and take frequent breaks.
4. Like the Pros
When I was cleaning homes, we had a set times for each of our jobs and our goal was to meet our standard of clean in or under that time. To do this, we had to be efficient and use some time saving methods. One of the best ways to save on time is to have all of your supplies on hand. To this day, I use a cleaning caddy stocked with all the cleaners and scrub brushes I need, and a bag of rags that I take from room to room. In addition to that, I have my vacuum, mop, broom and de-cobwebbing brush in a closet where I can access them easily while cleaning.
Another time-saver was working left to right and top to bottom. What I mean by this is, in each room I start to the left of the entrance and clean everything that is up high first (cobwebs, cleaning fans, lights, etc.) and then I work my way around the room and finish with the floors. It’s efficient and pretty much guarantees you won’t forget to clean anything. My last pro tip is, start with the hardest room first. In most homes, the kitchen is going to be the most time consuming room to deep clean, thanks to all those lovely appliances. If you start out in there while you are fresh and full of energy, everything else will seem like a breeze.
5. Reward yourself
Let’s be honest, we all work a little harder when there’s an incentive. Though it can be anything, I recommend choosing something time sensitive, so you have a set date when everything has to be done. Personally, I also like to choose something that rewards my body for all it’s hard work, like a massage (yep, shameless self-promotion). Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that is going to give you that extra push when want to give up and leave the job half done.
No matter how you go about getting your spring cleaning done, I hope these tips helped you start thinking about a game plan of how to get that freshly cleaned home without hurting your body (or having a mental breakdown).