It’s March, and classically that means that Spring Cleaning is just around the corner. Where does the term “spring cleaning” come from, and why is it always springtime when we clean? In the days before central heating, there was a tradition of going around the house in the early springtime to clean it after the winter’s fires. After all, if you have a wood burning stove, as most did back then, and you kept the windows closed against the cold, the soot would find its way everywhere in the house.
So, come springtime, once the windows could be opened, you would wash all the linens, beat any rugs, dust, sweep and mop all surfaces and floors, and clean out cupboards before storing those freshly cleaned linens again. Now, we don’t have the soot issue, and “spring cleaning” is just a traditional time to get rid of clutter and get your house out of “winter” mode.
There are plenty of things in common between cleaning up and getting ready to move. You can think forward to a time when you may be moving as an inspiration to reduce clutter or clear out storage space. Or perhaps you’ll be moving soon, and want to clean and de-clutter in preparation for putting the property on the market. No matter what your motivation, here are a few tips for cleaning up – before or during a move.
Evaluate Your Linens and Their Storage
Most people have at least one set of sheets, towels, and blankets to suit each person in their living space. It can be an easy thing to lose control of the linen closet when you collect more than a single set of anything, especially in a large family situation. Before you move, or to really deep clean that closet, take everything out of the closet and put it into a pile. Sort everything into categories: sheet sets, blankets, towels, and miscellaneous. If you find you have more sheets than you use in the year, or have some that you are less fond of, perhaps you could consider donating those items to charity. The same principle applies to towels.
Once you go through your piles, look to the closet (or whatever storage space). Clean the shelves off, and make sure to dust any tall corners. A sachet of lavender can help a musty smelling closet, and cedar is a natural moth repellent. Both can be found online, or you can make them yourself. They can help keep your linens fresh scented and bug free when you go to store them. If you’re about to put your house up for sale, consider boxing up all but one set of bedding and towels per person. You’ll be better prepared for showings in the future!
Clean Out The Kitchen Pantry
One place that doesn’t see as much cleaning as others is the pantry. Sometimes we can go years without seeing a can or jar at the back of the cupboard, only to pull it out years out of date and throw it away. One way to stop that waste is to do a yearly, or preferably a bi-annual inspection of the contents of your pantry, spice cabinet, and refrigerator. Throw away any food that is out of date, obviously rotten, or anything in question. Those snack cakes from 1982 might not have a sell-by date, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be good for you.
Taking everything out of the cupboard, checking the date, and tossing anything bad is a step in the right direction. Just like the linen cupboard, clean off the shelves before replacing items. If you’re particularly inclined, you can sort your items by type of food (grains, cans, jars) or perhaps by color. It’s always a good idea to place items which are older in the front, and have the newer items towards the back. However you like it, make sure it’s useable!
For those who may be moving, this is another place where you can edit the contents of both the pantry and the kitchen in order to prepare for the move and the sale. By packing away unnecessary dishes and pantry items, you can make your final round of packing easier.
Tackle That Miscellaneous Closet/Drawer/Garage
Some of the hardest areas to clean up can be those we use as “catch-all” places. Junk drawers, coat closets, and corners of the garage all have ways of filling up and never emptying. Set aside an hour to work on the area (or more, if you have more and need it). Take 30 minutes to pull out as much as you can. After those thirty minutes, or when you get to the end, sort through the items. Discard any obvious trash, anything expired (like old ketchup packets), and think about having your coats cleaned if you’re in that closet. For a garage, remember to set aside e-waste items and hazardous waste items – like old fans and half-full paint cans – to be disposed of properly.
You can put things back into the catch-all area, of course, but take this opportunity to edit those items. If you’re moving, pack away what you can without disrupting your life entirely. If you’re just cleaning, consider what you want to keep, and whether you want to keep it. Sometimes it can take several pass-throughs before you get through all the catch-all stuff, but with each pass, you make it a little easier later on.
Most Importantly: Enjoy Your Space
The most important thing to remember is that this is your space, and you should enjoy it! However you choose to store your belongings, and however you choose to do your cleaning, we hope that you love your place in the world. If not, connect with The Hall Team to talk about your next dream home!