New Years’ Cleaning Do’s & Don’ts

I don’t know about you, but I’m always way more motivated to clean my house in January than I am in the spring. Sure, we still have a couple months of winter to weather, but the clean slate of the New Year pairs well with a clean house. Doing a deep clean in January also helps me remember to tackle some of those often overlooked tasks that can sneakily make your house feel dirty, like cleaning ceiling fans and baseboards. Today I’m sharing some do’s and don’ts I’ve learned over the years. Here’s to a fresh start and fresh bed linens!

DO start slow. Any big cleaning project can get overwhelming fast. The quickest way to ensure burnout is by biting off more than you can chew. Be gracious with yourself and realistic about what you can tackle in a given time frame. Prioritize cleaning first, worry about organizing later. I’m gonna repeat that for all my fellow Type A overachievers–You can organize later. Start by cleaning what you have. Make a list of what you’d like to get done in each room, then take one room at a time. Make a note of possible organizing projects, storage solutions, and household needs as you go. As long as you’re intentional, it will get done. Set a goal to have the house deep cleaned and organized by the end of January, not by the end of the day January 1st.

DON’T try to clean and organize your entire house at once. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you are not going to get your entire house clean during nap time. I tend to get spurts of energy, convince myself I’m going to take on the world, then get burnt out after an hour and crash hard. Be strategic, take baby steps, and know that it might get worse before it gets better.

DO purge what doesn’t serve you. Once you’ve scrubbed away the holiday stress (and ornament glitter) from every surface, you can start purging. Take a pass through the kids’ toys now that you’ve added Christmas presents into the mix. Give everyone’s wardrobe a glance. Any clothes that don’t fit your quarantine bod should be donated or stored away. Same goes for anything the kids have outgrown. Any space that is bursting at the seams needs to be evaluated. Any items you just can’t seem to find a place for should be addressed. Don’t over-complicate it. Is it actively serving a need or adding to your quality of life? If not, it’s clutter and it’s adding to your stress level. Make like Elsa and let it go.

DON’T get rid of everything you own, only to have to re-buy it later. This is hard to type out loud, but admitting is the first step. I…am an over-purger. I tend to get in fits where I feel almost claustrophobic and want as few things in my house as possible. I’ve learned the hard way that some things you just have to hang on to until you can afford to replace them well. (My husband is triggered by the term “throw pillow.”) I’ve learned that you should never get rid of clothes during your child-bearing years, because your size will change so frequently. As long as you’re using something or may legitimately have a need for it in the future, you can keep it. Just don’t let your definition of “need” get so broad that you keep everything.

DO get the tools you need to get started. Before you start, make sure you have all your household cleaners, sponges, brushes, mop refills, etc. There’s nothing more discouraging than getting some momentum going only to realize you can’t complete your to-do list with what you have on hand. Make it a point to include any cleaning products you’re out of or running low on in your next grocery run.

DON’T spend one bazillion dollars on organizing bins because you watched a Netflix show about Khloe Kardashian’s garage. Before you tackle any organizing projects in your house, step back and strategize. What do you need to store in this area? What pain points are you hoping to address? Think about it in a problem/solution format instead of just thinking about how you want it to look. You may have to shop around and compare prices before committing to containers. Keep receipts and price tags in case you need to return products that didn’t end up working. The price of home organization products has risen with the popularity of shows like The Home Edit and Tidying Up. You can very quickly end up spending an amount of money that doesn’t make sense for your needs. As eager as you are to have it done, take your time. Pin photo inspiration, measure your space, and make a plan before you shop.

Now that you’re armed with those tips, go forth and clean! I’m cheering you on, and remember, you have all year to accomplish your resolutions.

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