It is almost the end of the year, a time when many people prepare to do some major cleaning in their homes. They are ready not only to vacuum and dust, but to go through their closets, drawers, and other storage spaces and decide what they want to keep, what they want to toss, and what they want to reorganize.
They also make a mental inventory to help them decide what purchases they will want to make during the new year. However, this kind of in-depth cleaning which is only done once or twice a year can be a daunting, time-consuming, and stressful undertaking. If you are nodding your head in agreement, take heart! What follows are some tried and true tips to make this big task a little bit more manageable. Don’t forget that many hands make light work!
Invite your family to join in. You might divide the house into rooms with each person assigned a different area to work in. Or you may all pitch in together, which can often be fun as you discover items you squirreled away months ago and subsequently forgot about. If your family is hesitant to help, remind them that you all live in the house together! Unless you live alone, every member of the family should be involved to some extent. Giving family members a choice about what they want to do can make them more likely to help cheerfully. Perhaps someone wants to wash the windows or organize the garage.
Maybe someone would prefer to clean up the kitchen or sweep the floors. Whatever it is, giving options is likely to increase the level of your family’s participation in the process. Not only will the work go faster, but your family will feel a spirit of togetherness and unity when joining together for the common good of all. Even young children can be involved in some way in this work. Can your little one do some dusting? Help organize her room? Assist you in weeding the garden? Children are often eager to be a part of the real work of adults. Assigning chores to your children not only benefits you, but it also is good for them.
Teaching them how to accept and follow through with responsibilities is an invaluable life lesson. Everything from feeding pets to sorting the laundry and folding clothes, or matching socks while others are doing more intensive cleaning, are valuable contributions to the work of the family that children can do. Does your child have his or her own room? Cleaning up the room, putting toys away, or taking out the trash are just some of the ways your child can become involved. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin with this big cleaning job.
A good rule of thumb is to start at the top of your house and work your way down. Not only is it a good idea to start at the top of the house, but you will also want to start at the top of each room. This means you clean the ceiling, walls, and windows before doing the furniture or floors. Cleaning in this way will allow dust that falls from the upper areas to collect below before you vacuum the lower parts of the room, including any furniture. If many people are helping you in one room, just remember to do a final vacuum of the furniture and floors when everyone is finished. It’s tempting to be a scavenger and hold onto everything you find.
Don’t do it! If you have not used something for more than a year, it is unlikely you are going to find a use for it now or in the future. Those clothes in your closet that have dust on them because it has been so long since you wore them need to be given away. Bite the bullet and get rid of them. Many people are reluctant to throw away things because they are sure that at some point down the road they will find a use for those items. However, unless you are able to device some kind of accounting or tracking system in which you itemize each of those knick-knacks and other objects of interest, chances are you won’t remember that you have them.
Make a pile of those things and have a yard sale. You will make some spending money, and someone else who might have a use for those things now will reap the benefits. Divide and conquer: planning out a strategy for achieving your goals over a period of time will help you accomplish things in a timely manner. Remember you won’t finish this monumental task in one day, even if you have an army of helpers.
Make a realistic schedule for each day which includes what cleaning will be done. Within a week, depending on the size of your house and how many people you have helping you, you will have finished your work. Then you can sit back, look around at your fresh, clean, organized house, and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.