I have a confession to make. Want to know what it is…?

I. Don’t. Like. Cleaning.

There. I said it. (And it definitely feels better to get that out in the open!) If you think that around here it’s domestic bliss 100% of the time…well, think again.

While I LOVE to organize, unfortunately, these feelings don’t extend to the act of cleaning. The lines between organizing and cleaning often get blurred. “Clean out your closet,” for example, usually actually refers to organizing and decluttering your closet. But, organizing and cleaning are very different and there are straightforward reasons why I prefer one over the other.

natural cleaning supplies bucket

With an organizing project, the results are tangible. You can see dramatic changes when you’re finished. This is why so many of us love to sneak ongoing peeks at our finished projects for days after an organizing event takes place. Additionally, many organizing projects actually make life easier, not just for a few days, but on an ongoing basis.

Cleaning is a completely different story. Sure, there are visible results (especially if you let a lot of time pass between cleaning sessions). But the results are less tangible and often, shorter-lived than with an organizing project.

But with all of this said, a clean space feels more organized than an unclean space. Plus, there are health benefits and personal pride at stake as well. So, as much as I don’t enjoy the process…I do still clean.

Once a week my family and I run through our basic cleaning checklist. (We’re back to a full-family team cleaning plan at the Garvey households, in case you’re following along at home.) This weekly, family cleaning works really well. But this time of year, I get the itch, or more accurately, the inclination that I *should* spring clean. Clean a little deeper. Spiffy up spots that don’t get a glance during the rest of the year. I love the idea of having the spring cleaning done. (I truly love a super clean house). It’s the getting motivated to actually do it where I run into trouble.

One of the ideas I share in my online classes is that the more you dislike doing something, the more often you should do it. Stated differently, if you don’t like spinach (but you have to eat it) take smaller bites of spinach more frequently, instead of eating it all in one big bite. This year, I thought I’d give this small-bite philosophy a try for my spring cleaning. Instead of clearing the calendar for single, long, painfully boring spring cleaning session, I’m finding ways to fit the tasks into the nooks and crannies of my schedule…allowing me to tackle this distasteful project one small bite at a time. Here’s the plan.

find time for spring cleaning via simplify101.com

1. Start with a basic checklist, then bite-size it.

This is the basic spring cleaning checklist I use. If you’re looking for something more in-depth, check out The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist I put together for Better Homes & Gardens. Once you have your basic list, bite size it. For example, instead of thinking about cleaning your kitchen cabinets and drawers as one task, a smaller bite would be “clean the silverware drawer.” This task, cleaning the silverware drawer fits in a much smaller slice of time than cleaning all of the kitchen cabinets and drawers. This makes it an easier task get done (and smaller bite to swallow.)

2. Look for and allocate small pockets of time to take one small bite.

Write your tiny task on your daily to-do list or calendar and be specific. Instead of saying “spring clean for 15 minutes” write down “clean utensil drawer” or “wash light fixture in kitchen.” Deciding what you will do ahead of time will take the guesswork out and increase the likelihood that you’ll follow through on your plans.

3. Do a little extra during your weekly cleaning.

I did that this week. I looked at my spring cleaning list, and decided to scrub the baseboards in the kitchen while I was already in cleaning mode. One more spring cleaning item checked off the list!

4. Mix in some fun tasks.

For me that would look like squeezing in a more rewarding, small organizing project in with the less rewarding scrubbing and scouring. For you it might look like spending some time doing something completely relaxing like knitting or chatting with a friend. Pick a fun incentive that works for you.

While this approach may cause spring cleaning to extend throughout the spring, I’m feeling pretty pumped about it! Little bits of progress mean more endorphin rushes as I check tiny tasks of my to-do list! Plus, fitting my spring cleaning into the nooks and crannies means little disruption to my regularly scheduled life. I think that is the best part of all.

I’d love to hear from you! How do you fit spring cleaning into your schedule? Are you a get-it-all-done-in-one-go kinda gal? Or have you found ways to fit your spring cleaning into smaller pockets of time? I’d love to hear what works for you!

Happy spring!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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