With the Charleston weather warming up (off and on, that is) and pollen falling everywhere, it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning. Spring signifies a renewal in nature and makes everything feel fresh and new, so we love giving our homes a little boost to help them feel fresh and new too. Here’s how to get started.

Get Motivated

Take a walk around your house and take note of what needs to be done. Make a list of projects both big and small. Imagine how you want things to look. Visualization is a great motivator, so sit down and browse Pinterest or flip through catalogs for ideas. Remember to be realistic with your goals. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself before you even get started!

Enlist the Family’s Help

Get the whole family involved. If you have small children, give them little jobs like putting toys away. You might be surprised at how much the little ones are actually eager to help clean. If your kids are older, give them some incentive for helping. One good idea is to make a chore chart that lists monetary values for each chore—amounts are totally up to you. The kids can choose what they want to do and earn a little pocket money. Make a new tradition of taking the kids’ gently used clothes and toys to an orphanage or women’s shelter and instilling great values early on. As a treat for letting go of all of that stuff, maybe allow everyone to choose a new toy or item of clothing.

Do a Purge

Grab a box or a large trash bag and do a sweep of each room. Get rid of any items that you don’t use or love anymore. Toss old paperwork, expired coupons, and junk mail. Go through the fridge and pantry and throw away any foods that are past their prime. Use this time to purge only; don’t get sidetracked with organizing just yet. If you have more than one box or bag’s worth of stuff to purge, set out multiple boxes in each room and mark them with labels like “donate,” “trash,” and “put away.”

Clean First

Once everything’s purged and put away, it’s time to start cleaning. Gather your cleaning supplies and then follow the “top to bottom” rule. Dust ceiling fans and trimwork, clear any cobwebs from corners and ceilings. Move on to the “middle” of the space by vacuuming and polishing furniture, washing windows, wiping down counters and cabinets, etc. Finally, clean the baseboards and then vacuum the rugs and sweep and mop the floors.

Start Organizing

Now that everything’s sparkly clean, it’ll be much easier to put things back where they belong. If you’re still motivated from cleaning day, you can start this right after, or you can take a rest and save organizing for another day. Just don’t forget to get back to it! It doesn’t have to be done all at once. Tackle one room or storage bin at a time if you feel overwhelmed.

Treat Yourself!

Every time you finish a task, reward yourself with a little treat. Take a bath, eat a piece of chocolate, have a coffee break, or just sit down and read for a bit. Designate a bigger reward for when everything is done (a spa day, a shopping trip, or maybe even a nice spring break vacay), and you’ll have something to look forward to as you work.

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