Time to wave goodbye to the remnants of winter.

Spring is here! This season is fun for many reasons: new life, balmy weather, thunderstorms and longer days. 

On top of appreciating the wonders of nature that spring brings, it’s also a great time to freshen up your home and get some much needed cleaning done. 

Spring cleaning may seem like a somewhat arbitrary practice, but according to Live&Learn, “In the early 1800s, general cleaning in spring was a necessity because homes were covered in soot from the sources of heating they used during winter.”

Homes were heated by lamps that used kerosene or whale oil along with wood or coal-burning fireplaces that left homes covered in dust and soot at the end of a dreary winter season. In other words, spring cleaning was essential. 

Spring cleaning is still essential today, even if you live in a warmer climate. After being inside all winter long, dust has likely accumulated in our homes, and let’s be real — we all have a few extra clothing items and knickknacks we could get rid of.

With that said, here are three steps to help you go about this year’s spring cleaning!

  1. Make a plan

My first tip is to open your calendar and figure out a day or two to dedicate to hours of cleaning.  A free weekend is perfect because  homework and other weekly priorities won’t distract you.

While you could break up your cleaning into several days, designating a specific day to get a lot done will make spring cleaning more eventful and more fun. Also, if you schedule your spring cleaning for one day, you’ll get it over with much quicker.

After choosing a day or weekend, figure out what you want to accomplish and prioritize. Maybe even make a playlist to dance along to while you work! 

Not sure what kind of cleaning to do? Keep reading.

  1. Declutter and donate

Before you start the actual cleaning process, take some time to declutter. This will make it easier to dust and clean because there will be less lying around your home. 

You can start by sorting through your clothing. Begin by packing away your winter wardrobe and bring back your summer clothing as the weather starts getting warmer. As you do this, you can reevaluate each item and choose whether or not you want to keep it. 

If you are undecided on whether you wear something enough to justify keeping it, remember one of Marie Kondo’s most crucial, and most popular, tips: ask yourself if it sparks joy. Sometimes our evaluation of how much we wear an item leads to overthinking. When this happens, try letting your feelings guide your decision.

Then, go through your desk drawers, nightstand and anywhere else there might be trinkets lying around. 

If letting go of items is difficult for you, consider asking yourself if you would buy the item again. Alessandra Malito states in an article from Market Watch, “Sometimes people keep stuff because they’re worried they’ll need it ‘later,’ … If you could replace the item in 20 minutes for $20 or less, it’s safe to let go.”

Once you have chosen what to get rid of, take the items that are in good shape and donate them. You can search for a location near you to donate. 

When it comes to more sentimental items, find a way to consolidate them. If old pictures, birthday cards, movie stubs and concert tickets are crowding your space, try putting them in a box or folder for safekeeping.

  1. Clean!

After you’ve planned, decluttered and spend some time bopping to your favorite songs while doing it, it’s time to bring out the cleaning supplies, vacuums and dusters.

Speaking of supplies, Sarah Aguirre — who has over 20 years of experience in the cleaning industry — recommends keeping the cleaning products to a minimum. In an article from The Spruce, she states, “Myriad cleaning supplies can create unnecessary clutter, and you probably don’t need all of them to keep your home fresh and clean. Opt for a good all-purpose cleaner and microfiber cloths. Those items will cover the majority of surfaces in your home.”

All-purpose cleaners are typically inexpensive and easy to find. Whether you want something standard or a bit more natural, a store like Target or Walmart will likely have what you’re looking for.

When it comes to a quality microfiber cloth, I recommend a brand like Norwex. While these cloths may lean on the expensive side, they will last you for years and decrease the amount of paper towels and cleaning supplies you need.

Once you have gathered all your supplies, only the question of what to clean remains.

Watch the spots you would normally neglect. Molly Maid gives a comprehensive list of areas for you to clean that may not cross your mind very often, such as dusting ceiling fans, dusting blinds, wiping down window seals, washing the outside of windows and more. 

Of course, you do not have to dust and wipe every little nook and crevice in your home, but figure out the areas that are in need of the most attention and go from there.

As spring continues to unfold, let’s freshen up our spaces and brighten our surroundings. The time, energy and elbow grease will be well worth it.