Does the term “Spring cleaning” create a spark of dread or excitement for you? For me, cleaning presents an opportunity to accomplish something, even if it’s not a task I naturally enjoy. The more I’ve practiced cleaning with a good attitude, the more I’ve come to embrace cleaning.
I’m all about keeping surfaces clear of clutter and trying to put laundry away as fast as possible — but mention washing windows and scrubbing baseboards and you’ll probably see a look of panic on my face. I’m a “tidy-er.” If you were to pop by my house unannounced, you’d probably think I have a very clean home. Just don’t look too close…
Can you relate? I would love to be the kind of gal who views mopping floors as a fun activity (like Monica from “Friends”), but that’s just not me. I don’t have the financial ability to hire a cleaning service, though, so here are my options as I head into spring and, inevitably, spring cleaning tasks:
- Ignore spring cleaning completely and tell myself I’ll do better next year
- Begrudgingly clean and let everyone know how much I don’t like it, therefore making the lives of everyone around me miserable
- Put my head down and get to it, knowing the end result will be worth the work
Which option are you most likely to choose? Up until a year or so ago, I would have most certainly chosen option one or two. I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of space I have to clean and annoyed by how often I have to vacuum my hardwood floors (thanks to my sweet, shedding pup). At some point my own crummy attitude got on my nerves and I decided to adopt a better perspective towards caring for my home.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not always thrilled to be cleaning! The trick is, I chose to stop hating it. I realized I didn’t want to spend energy grumbling and whining when I knew the result of a clean home would ultimately make me proud and gratified. Take last week, for example. My sister was coming for an overnight stay, and my house was a mess. (I’m not exaggerating.) My usual light-cleaning-to-maintain routine had been thrown off by travel and illness, which meant I had to do some serious deep cleaning to get the house sparkling again. I knew my sister would appreciate having a clean bed to sleep in and a clean bathroom to wash up in. Simply put, I knew the work needed to be done. I got on my hands and knees to mop dirty pawprints from my wood floors, scrubbed the microwave clean of splatters and attacked the toilets with a critical eye. I was sweaty and thirsty and tired by the end of the day, but I also felt a rush of pleasure. My home looked radiant!
My new attitude towards cleaning didn’t happen overnight. I still rarely get excited to do the actual work of cleaning — but I feel a rush of anticipation knowing the result will be worth the effort. I employ the following “tricks” to help make the process more enjoyable:
Create an arsenal of your favorite cleaning products and keep them together. I can do nearly all of my cleaning with a sponge and a few rags instead of using dozens of cleaning wipes or paper towels.
Listen to a riveting podcast or book on tape, or put on catchy tunes (my go-to’s are Hillsong United, Disney tunes and Broadway musical soundtracks)
View cleaning as a workout and throw some elbow grease into your tasks
Use a timer to help stay on task (this will also provide proof that cleaning doesn’t take as long as you think it will)
Set up a reward to motivate you to finish your work (such as reading outside, watching an episode of TV or getting a favorite drink from Starbucks)
Another important step in getting over the cleaning blues is having a plan. Spring cleaning in particular can involve a lot of tasks, and I know I’m not the only one who feels tired just thinking about it! My personal plan for this year’s spring clean is to focus on tasks that I view as most important, and let go of the concept of doing it all.My top priority is purging our storage areas (closets, pantry, laundry room, etc.) and finally having the yard sale that I’ve been talking about for ages.
Ultimately, spending hours getting spring cleaning ideas from Pinterest isn’t going to clean your house. Create a basic plan that is do-able for you, and don’t stress about the tasks that you don’t have time or energy for. Instead, focus on the attitude behind your work and view caring for your home as a way to care for a blessing God has provided you.
Laura Rennie lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband and constantly shedding dog. She loves reading, writing and playing word games. Her greatest desire is to share Jesus through her words and actions as she learns how to be a better wife, daughter, sister and friend. She recently started her own interior decorating business, Laura Rennie Interiors.