Is Spring Cleaning Really Necessary?

The Case Against Spring Cleaning

They say March comes in like a lamb and out like a lion. Those springtime breezes bring in more than just the blooming crocuses; they blow in countless reminders that it’s time for spring cleaning.

If spring cleaning is your thing, go for it! But if you never quite get that urge to scrub your home from top to bottom in one go, you can take solace in this article: A case against spring cleaning.

Historically, spring cleaning was a necessary response to being literally shut in for the winter. Coal and wood burning furnaces sprayed soot and ash all over your home, making a thorough scrub-down imperative once the weather warmed up. Today’s forced air furnaces and better filtration systems all but eliminate the winter build-up.

So without the soot to contend with, is spring cleaning still necessary? The answer is probably no. Which is fortunate, since goodness knows that with today’s busy lives, most of us would probably never find the time.  Instead of setting aside two weeks out of our schedules to spring clean, what we we really need to do is:

(1) Devise (and stick to) a good, regular cleaning schedule, and

(2) Create a plan for tackling the heavy-duty house cleaning tasks

If you are feeling overwhelmed about the cleaning schedule, check out last month’s newsletter, in which we covered the basics of Speed Cleaning. Once you realize that your basic weekly housecleaning can take half the amount of time — or less — than you currently spend, it suddenly won’t seem so overwhelming.

Next up is creating a plan for the heavy-duty tasks. With regular cleaning, many of these tasks will be eliminated, or at the very least minimized. There are still some jobs, though, that need to be tackled more often than, say, never!

But instead of saving up all these jobs for the spring, we suggest tackling them on a semi-annual basis, as they require attention. You can accomplish this in one of two ways. Those of you who thrive on formal routines can set up a semi-annual schedule, in which you integrate the seasonal chores into your weekly cleaning routine.

Those free-spirits out there, however, might find this formal plan a little too restrictive (and besides, you probably don’t have a weekly cleaning routine to begin with.) If sticking to a schedule makes you sick, just remember this simple mantra: Do it when it needs doing.

If your windows are caked with dirt, it’s (probably past) time to clean them. If your air conditioner is not cooling as fast as it used to, it’s time to clean the filters. Some chores may lag a bit this way, but rest assured: With a little mindful attention to your home, they will all get done. Even without sacrificing two weeks of your springtime.

To help you get on track, whichever plan of attack you choose, here is a look at the Clean Team’s top ten recommendations for do them when necessary cleaning chores. For a more detailed explanation of these chores, be sure to check out Jeff’s book, Spring Cleaning. (Just don’t be confused by the title; we figured it was catchier than “The Heavy-Duty Seasonal Tasks That Can Be Accomplished Simply By Doing Them When They Need Doing.”)

The Clean Team’s Top Ten List of Essential Seasonal Chores

1. Clean and/or replace air filters
2. Wash windows and window frames and sills
To learn the most efficient window washing techniques, refer to our September 2009 newsletter on Washing Windows the Easy Way
3. Wash walls & ceilings
4. Strip, wax and seal floors, if necessary; clean carpets
5. Deep clean couches and other upholstered furniture
6. Polish silver and other precious metals
7. Clean chandeliers and other light fixtures
8. Declutter and wipe down kitchen cupboards, drawers and pantries
9. Defrost freezer, if necessary, and vacuum refrigerator coils
10. Declutter and wipe down closets and bathroom cupboards

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