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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Spring Cleaning: Getting Started and Staying on Task by Fran Joyce

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You either love it or you hate it, but spring cleaning time is here. If you are one of the lucky ones who cleans every day and doesn’t have a junk drawer or a clutter pile anywhere congratulations, and we hate you.

For everyone else, I feel your pain, and I have a few ideas about how to do the big clean. First, there is no one way to clean – do what works for you, but be smart and give it some thought to help you stay organized. Spoiler alert: most years I don’t get to everything on my list - life gets in the way, so give yourself a break if you can’t do it all.

How much time can you commit, what is your budget and what are your priorities? Knowing the answer to these questions can save you hours of work and major disappointment. “Budget?” You ask. “Aren’t we just doing some vacuuming and a little washing up?” Yes, it always starts out that way, but I guarantee you will find a few things that need replaced or repaired.  Also, if you allocate money for spring cleaning from your home maintenance budget for this expense, you may be able to afford to hire someone to do part or all of your spring cleaning.

Think about the exterior and the interior of your house. Have outside and inside goals – take advantage of good weather to tackle the outside. Unless you have help and can divide inside and outside tasks up, plan to spend more than one weekend spring cleaning. It’s okay to take several weekends if you have limited time or are easily overwhelmed. Do what works for you.

These are the things on my list:

Yard clean up

  • Sticks, leftover leaves, any trash that might have blown in the yard.

  • Clean up and add mulch to flower beds

  • Plant spring flowers

  • Sweep and edge around driveway, sidewalks and paths – do you need to seal/repair your driveway?

  • House Exterior

  • Power wash if needed

  • Replace any damaged trim or railings

  • Wash windows.

  • Front porch and deck/patio - touch up paint or stain the deck if needed – add potted flowers for color.

  • Make sure your house numbers are visible.

  • Make sure your mailbox is in good repair – does it need repainted? Do this Saturday after the mail arrives or on Sunday.

  • Trim hedges and dead tree branches – be safe hire a professional to trim mature trees.

  • Wash/replace your garbage cans and recycling bins.

  • Clean garage – I put this with the exterior cleaning because you will have tools out – why put them back only to take them out again to clean the garage.

  • Wash your car – what the heck it's out of the garage.

House Interior: 

Decide if you will completely clean one room at a time or do each cleaning task for every room before moving to the next task. Decide which order you want to do each task in and who will do it if you are lucky enough to have help.

  • Declutter surfaces, drawers, cabinets, bookcases and closets – if you have knick knacks or Chachkies/Tchotckes do not put them back until your whole house is finished – look at the clean space and see if you really miss the clutter. Also, look up the definition of chachkies in the Urban Dictionary and ask yourself if it really belongs in your home. Be brutal – keep, sell, donate or toss.

  • Remove as much furniture from the room as possible to make cleaning the floor easier – before you put it back - do you really need it in the space? Can you swap out pieces between rooms to freshen up the space without spending money?

  • Wash baseboards, trim, light fixtures, ceiling fans and walls if needed.

  • Wash Curtains/drapes or clean by using dry cleaning sheets in your dryer if professional dry cleaning is not in the budget or timeline.

  • Wash or dust/vacuum blinds.

  • Vacuum/spot clean/ dust furniture.

  • Vacuum carpet or rugs – spot clean or have professionally cleaned as needed.

  • Mop floors

When you are finished, take a deep breath and appreciate what you have accomplished. Reward yourself and your family with a special pizza/movie night, dinner out, or family outing. Live with your changes for a while before you run out and buy new stuff.                  

What's for Dinner? Ask Linda

Going Green when you Clean by Fran Joyce