Every year, January through April, it seems like the whole country is on a mission to organize and clean their house and surroundings. Those of us who grew up with early year organizing and a Spring Cleaning week know that this is a natural response to the revelry and clutter of Thanksgiving, Christmas, other holidays and the comfortable clutter of winter.

Once the sun starts peeking through the heavily shaded winter windows of my home, I want more of it. And the warmth of the sun spurs me on to cleaning. Not to mention the fact that the sunlight makes the dust and smears show up more vividly. (Look, there’s Traci’s signature from her visit here in October!)
I have found over the years of housekeeping I’ve done ( several at home with my Mother and 26 here with my own home) that beginning early in the year, and working at my own pace is best for me. I can go with someone else’s cleaning schedule, especially if I’m behind or need motivation, but I work best at my own pace, with my own set of goals.

The first thing I do is make my list of goals. I start with BIG jobs like painting or repairing things. Then I move to Whole Room Decluttering. Finally, I list what needs to be done in the way of general deep cleaning and organizing in each room. I also make a Honey-Do List for my Hubby. He likes a list that he can work from and check off when he’s finished. Since I am here all day long without him, he realizes that I am more up to speed on what the house, yard and garden needs. So we sit together and make his list for Spring.
Armed with my own list, I start delegating. Oh you didn’t think I cleaned this whole house by myself did you? I have an 8 year old, an 11 year old and a strapping 15 year old girl who all do their part in keeping the family manse clean and organized. They live here, they take responsibility for their personal space and whatever else needs to be done in the house side by side with me.
I learned long ago that allowing children to take part in cleaning and organizing is the best thing all around, but I did have to lower some of my standards for what it means to be organized. Cleaning jobs are sometimes done over and over until they are done correctly, that’s part of learning. The towels in the linen closet are not perfectly straight very often, the cds and videos are not always perfectly aligned on their shelves. However, the children learn how to clean and organize, they like the feeling of a clean organized house and eventually they learn how to do the work as well as I can do it. If its something I want done in a way I know they cannot succeed in well enough to please me, I do it myself, often with a child by my side, learning the ropes.

I’ll be making my spring time lists this month. By February, I’ll be working on closets, cabinets and shelves. Then in March I will start on decluttering whole rooms. April is usually the time I get around to the more typical Spring Cleaning jobs like carpet cleaning, wall washing and window cleaning. I normally wait for the best opportunities to do the BIG jobs when I have money budgeted and time to spend on them.

Since I started working on Spring Cleaning and Organizing about 15 years ago, I have noticed a yearly improvement in my house and a proportional improvement in how easy it is to get my house into shape. I certainly hope it doesn’t take you that long! But with homeschooling and new babies every few years, it has taken me a while to get my act together. Finally though, after much effort and determination, I have a home that is easy to clean and whip back into shape after winter holidays.

© 2007 Sylvia Britton