While we're all secretly celebrating the fact that it'll be months before we see another big snow storm (fingers crossed), there's one thing that makes spring kind of a downer: spring cleaning. While this annual tradition makes it seem like humans only make a point of cleaning up their belongings once per year, it's important to view it more as an "out with the old and in with the new" experience rather than a "why is this refrigerator door sticky? I hate my life!" moment. Although, I won't lie. It's probably good to clean that stuff up too, while you're motivated and moving. Nobody wants a jammy fridge.
Motivation is seriously the key factor here, especially if you live with a roommate or spouse who might enable messiness. I mean, I'm sure we've all been in that situation where it's late, and dishes are piling up, and instead of actually putting them in the dishwasher, you have an "If Todd can't do it, neither will I!" attitude that seems really empowering at the time, but ends up turning you into a lazy individual who's too embarrassed to have company over. Bringing on additional help will not only make these chores more fun, but you'll be less tempted to feel tension and resentment after everything is thoroughly cleaned.
Since all of this is much easier said than done, here are a few more tips to help you feel motivated, and perhaps make this daunting "holiday" slightly more fun.
1. Make a playlist
Make a mix that is fun, not a mix that'll showcase your in-depth knowledge of folk rock. Feel no shame adding some Britney and some Christina on there. I know you have some 'N Sync buried deep in your iTunes library, and this is the time for "Bye Bye Bye" to make a reunion with your ears. Spring cleaning will go by so much faster if you feel inspired to dance while doing it.
2. Don't be afraid to introduce your old clothes to a Hefty bag
One of my biggest messy-points is my closet. In my head, I reason I'll wear certain clothing items again someday. The reality is, they're too tight and too dated. There is no shame in throwing out a few of your old faded black t-shirts that you got on sale a decade ago, especially when you spend more time staring at them than wearing them.
As an act of goodwill, think about how much your old wardrobe might help out someone else, and consider donating the pieces that aren't totally disgusting. At the end of the day, you'll have a cleared closet and a clear conscience. For a job well done, consider purchasing a new piece or two to freshen things up a bit.
3. Make dusting a game
So, "dusting" is nothing like "spending time playing The Sims 4," but both have their strong points. Invest in a Swiffer duster (mine literally changed my life), and try to find all of those dusty places that you might not notice on a daily basis, but might be making your allergies slightly worse these days. Have a ceiling fan? Check those blades. See a strange layer forming on the top of your fridge? Eradicate it, and see how much that fridge will shine.
While being a dust detective might not sound like the best way to spend a weekend, you'll feel so much better once everything looks presentable. As a fun bonus, consider buying a dust mask from the store to help with breathing. It will make you feel like you're part of the Hoarders cleaning crew.
4. Get inspired
Buy that home decor magazine that taunts you in the store. Then, get rid of that "my living space will never look like that" attitude, because it can. Sure, you might not financially be able to buy the expensive furniture, but it'll give you a lot of ideas to maximize your space and decorate it in a way that truly fits your personality. Giving your house or apartment a mini-makeover won't just lift your spirits, but it'll make you feel a lot more invested in your own habitat. People who are invested in their own habitat are people who make sure to vacuum under the coffee table. It's a scientific fact! (OK, fine. It's not.)
5. Don't overdo it on day one
Try to schedule your time appropriately. If your friend is playing a show at that DIY venue across town, don't let spring cleaning get in your way — but don't also use it as an excuse to not get started. The best way to be productive is to have an end goal that makes you satisfied. Tell yourself that if you focus on cleaning up for three solid hours, your reward can be a night full of socialization and music. Even if you just make a dent in the big project, it's way better than spending that time watching a marathon of Teen Mom 2 while feeling sorry for yourself.
Let's get real here: If you don't have realistic goals as to what you can do, you'll end up giving up on the entire project pretty quickly.
6. Consider buying a Jawbone, a FitBit, or downloading a free step counting program on your phone
Cleaning up is actually a pretty amazing source of exercise, so consider having a secondary goal that's happening simultaneously as your first goal. After you see how many steps you've taken while vacuuming, you'll feel like a workout champion. What's better than being a workout champion? Being a workout champion with carpets that don't have pet hair embedded inside.
7. Plan a party
Remember when I talked about end goals? A great end goal is to have all of your friends over to see your shiny new home. Make sure to set a date before cleaning even begins, and it'll help you accomplish your mission. When you know that other people will be able to see your unswept floors, it's a huge motivation to get to work. Try to make your place look like a place that'd impress you if it wasn't your own.
8. Marathon a show while cleaning
I know that I ragged on Teen Mom 2 earlier, but it's actually a pretty good show to clean to. In general, any show that doesn't require a ton of thought is perfect to use as background noise. Hoarders (also mentioned above) will make you feel way better about your own situation, while those with a Hulu Plus account will be able to access some nostalgic shows like Clarissa Explains It All and Hey Arnold!
The shows you want to avoid? Crime shows, shows that require a lot of visuals to get the jokes (like, now would be a bad time to start up with Arrested Development, unless you've seen it before), and Breaking Bad. You simply can't look away from Breaking Bad. It's just that good.
9. Think about the future
You probably don't want to start thinking about spring cleaning next year, but make some mental notes to make yourself feel better about the process. For example, if you make a point to clean out your fridge on a monthly basis, you won't have to deal with the horror show that you've faced this year. In fact, spring cleaning might actually be a breeze next year. If you choose this year as your cleaning rock bottom, you'll be happy to know that the worst of it is all over.
Next year you might just refer to the daunting task of "spring cleaning" simply as "Yeah, I need to spend an hour tidying up this weekend." How freaking great will that be?