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January 10, 2015

4 Steps To Jump Start Your Spring Cleaning

By John Rose, Bounce Energy

The months of holiday festivities have finally come to a close, so it’s time to get your house clean! Inevitably, after all the parties, holidays, and guests, you’re going to be left with far more than what you began with, not to mention dust bunnies hopping in places you rarely see, so let’s get cracking with some ideas on how to best handle the post-holiday cleanup!

1) Put Away the Decorations

Before we can get to the sweeping and the scrubbing, we first have to deal with the obvious aftermath of the season. First things first, the Christmas decorations have to be packed away. By now, you have probably taken the tree down – unless, like my family, you are usually the last house on the block proudly lighting the tree every night. It is very tempting to shove everything haphazardly into the Christmas box, put it in the attic and forget about it. But fast forward 11 months, and you will be distinctly unimpressed with yourself when ornaments are broken, light cables are all twisted, and you discover all the forgotten beautiful cards you bought in the post-Christmas sales, right after purchasing more at full price. Put everything away carefully and make an inventory of supplies such as wrapping paper, Christmas cards, and gift bags that you have remaining to save yourself more money and wastage next Christmas.

2) Take Out the Trash

Unwrapping presents is a messy affair. While cleaning up after boxes, wrapping paper, endless instruction sheets, and Styrofoam may seem obvious, have a look around and see what bits are still lurking, I’ll bet there are more than a few random scraps of paper, bits of cardboard, and the odd decoration that you missed lying around the house (I see a few just from this spot on the sofa). Make a concerted effort to a proper cleanup so that you can give yourself a good head start on the rest of your new year’s revitalization.

3) Remove the Clutter

New Years is a time to purge, so get with the season and get rid of some “stuff.” First throw away, donate, or sell items that recent gifts have made redundant. Don’t keep the old chipped mug when your mother bought you a new exquisite bone china one. Encourage children to get rid of toys they no longer play with to make room for the ones they were given at Christmas. Everyone in the house should have something that can go, so make it a competition!

Next comes a hard one – look at the gifts you were given. Resist the temptation to shove the unwanted items into a drawer, never to see the light again. Pass these on, return them, sell them: just don’t let them fill up your home. We all have enough stuff we want, and adding more that we don’t can get stifling.

If all this organizing has inspired you to take things further, I would suggest you take on the “30 Bags Challenge.” Remove 30 bags from your house (you pick the size, you pick the destination – goodwill, trash, a friend) in 30 days to get your house in order and get out the stuff you don’t really need.

4) Wipe Away the Dirt

Now that the tree is gone, decorations are down, and all the excess is purges, you are left with only the dust and refuse. Break your house down into small areas and set achievable goals for yourself. We may say “I shall clean the house today,” but most of us will give up halfway through and watch a reality show instead. Instead, set tasks that are realistic and clearly defined. For example, “I will clean the bathroom floors, sink, and shower before lunchtime,” is more likely to be finished and more likely to inspire you to continue.

Here are some of my top tips to get off the couch and start cleaning.

Make a pact to clean during all the advertisements of a show you love.

My wife belongs to an active moms group on Facebook. They frequently set a 15-minute cleaning goal and post before and after pictures as inspiration and accountability. It is amazing what you can do in 15 minutes and what the motivation of having to post an “after” shot can do for your productivity.

Operate on a reward system. Nothing gets my kitchen clean like the promise of a cold beer at the end of a job well done.

I will end this with something a good friend of mine posted this week as their phrase for 2015. I found it quite inspiring: “Do the next thing.” It truly is that simple. Just do the next thing, and your house will be sparkling in no time – which means your 2015 will sparkle along with it.

Source: Bounce Energy Blog 

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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