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a bucket of cleaning supplies

This is the time of year that we think about spring cleaning.

Spring is a season when the world seems to come back to life. It seems a perfect time to release anything holding us back and reorganize and freshen our homes.

When we talk about spring cleaning, we think about deeper cleaning than our normal maintenance cleaning routine.  For example, we regularly clean our bed linens but during a spring-cleaning session we also clean any blankets and the bedspread or duvet. We clean the mattress pad, wash or replace pillows, and flip the mattress. And while we have that mattress off the bed, we clean the frame underneath.

The spring-cleaning process

How you go about the process of spring cleaning is up to you.  How much time you devote to this task will depend on the size of your home and the number of possessions that you own. No matter which method of spring cleaning you employ, declutter first. The less stuff you have to clean, the easier it will be.

Before you begin your spring-cleaning sessions, gather all of the supplies you need for the day. Once you start cleaning you don’t want to interrupt your flow looking for a sweeper attachment or running to the store for more cleaning supplies.

Set goals for each day. Determine how much you can reasonably expect to do and decide when you will do it. Plan on doing the more difficult or distasteful tasks first while you are still fresh. Take time during the day to replenish and rehydrate yourself.

Marathon cleaning

Marathon cleaning is usually done in one or two days. During this time, you are working on your entire home. One way of working this plan is to group like tasks. You might go through your home and clean all windows and blinds. You might do all tasks that require a ladder like cleaning ceiling fans or light fixtures. This way you are using the same supplies or equipment for each task and then can put those away while working on the next task.

Working over month or two

Spreading your spring cleaning out over a month or two allows you to work on your days off – usually on the weekends. You are more likely to work room by room with this plan. One weekend you might deep clean your bathrooms. Another weekend you might work in your kitchen and pantries.  Each day you will want to set your goals and prioritize your tasks.

Zone Plan

The Zone Plan is my personal favorite. This means spreading your “spring cleaning” out over a whole year. You divide your home into 10 or 12 zones and each month you work in that one zone. Personally, I do not schedule a zone for July although I work on outdoor space then or in December when I concentrate on the holidays. I schedule my zones so that in the springtime I am working on my living room and my main bedroom. During each month I divide the designated zone into four sections and work one section a week. By the end of the month the zone is complete and will only need maintenance for the remainder of the year.

Delegating to a professional cleaner

You can also delegate the spring-cleaning chores to a professional cleaner. Many professional cleaners allocate two to three days for a deep cleaning. You could also combine delegating to a professional cleaner along with one of the other plans and have the professional cleaners do selected tasks while you do the remainder.

As you are working in your home also do a safety check. Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Ensure that your fire extinguishers are functional.

Don’t forget the outdoor areas when developing your spring-cleaning plan. Spring is a time that you want to enjoy the outdoors when possible. Schedule time to clean your porches, decks, or patios. Clean up your outdoor furniture and your grill. Tend to your potted plants and garden beds.

Spring cleaning is much more than just tidying up. It’s about resetting your home so that you have a fresh and inviting refuge that uplifts your spirit.

If you are ready to develop a plan for spring cleaning or would like to organize and  tame any part of your home, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group. The group will offer ideas, support, and gentle accountability for working on developing plans or projects.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.




  • Seana Turner says:

    I lean toward the Zone plan myself. There are so many tasks to be performed in spring. I’m not sure that I actually do a “deep clean” of every area, but I do address specific tasks that I ignore at other times of year. If I think about everything that needs to get done, I can feel overwhelmed. So, I try and break it down into smaller projects that I tackle throughout the spring. I guess it is really a hybrid of the zone plan and the “over a month or two” option.

    I think it’s important to remember that progress is progress. When we make consistent efforts, we will see results, which can be satisfying. I love the “smell” of clean that moves through my house at this time of year… not only the scent of cleaning products, but also the visual “freshness” of clearing out!

  • I love spring! And one of my favorite cleaning ‘events’ this season is cleaning the windows. It’s my favorite day when our window cleaner arrives. We have A LOT of windows with beautiful views of the woods. I have him come twice a year- in the fall and spring. It’s almost time to schedule with him, and I can’t wait! It feels as good as cleaning my eyeglasses. You wear them and don’t realize how dirty they are until you clean them. Once you do, your ‘view’ is so radically improved.

  • What a refreshingly clear and concise approach to spring cleaning! I like the ZONE approach, as you can spread it out over time which makes the whole process less overwhelming. And we know if it seems too overwhelming, the odds are good that it won’t get done…

  • Julie Bestry says:

    How motivating! As I’m an apartment dweller, I don’t have a lot of spaces (or any outdoor spaces), so my spring cleaning doesn’t look any different from any other type of cleaning. But for people with houses or larger spaces, and especially for those with families, this is definitely an important issue. I suspect that if I had a whole house, in addition to needing a cleaning support person, I’d be more inclined to tackle spring cleaning over a month or so of springtime. I love your approach to Zone organizing, and can see it working for many clients, particularly those who are daunted by trying to tackle too much at once. Anything that allows you to see how your baby steps forward equal success will be empowering!

  • Jill Katz says:

    I love how you broke this down into several approaches. I think I blend many of your approaches. I like to outsource some of my spring cleaning to my housekeeper. Some of it I do across March – May which is your Zone Approach. These are items like spot cleaning walls and areas that get “touched” more frequently. I do a marathon clean for Passover where over 1-2 days the kitchen gets a deep clean and furniture gets cleaned for crumbs (also with the help of my housekeeper). Throughout the year, my house gets love through annual checkups that I have scheduled in my calendar (HVAC, Carpet/rug cleaning, plumbing checkups), outdoor fall/spring cleanups. I love the idea that Linda had in the comments of outsourcing the window cleaning. It is now my husband’s job and it is not getting done!

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