Spring cleaning: tips & techniques

junk drawer
Photo courtesy of Real Simple

The Spring Cleaning Party starts this Monday, and I hope you’re all as ready as I am to start the spring cleaning process in your home!  Decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your living space will not only freshen up your home, it will lift your spirits and get you motivated to live more simply and fully.

Here’s the general process of how this will work:

1. I will post my work I’m doing in my own home every day for the next two weeks.  Next Monday, May 4 will be Day 1; Tuesday, May 5 will be Day 2, and so on.  I’m actually working a few days ahead of the Party, so that I can post each day’s task for you and encourage you in your work for the day.

2.  Mandi at Organizing Your Way will be posting each day as well, sharing her own unique angle and perspective on this spring cleaning process.  Her blog is all about helping home managers find their unique organizing style, so she’ll be great at tweaking my process and making it her own.

3.  Keep your camera with you, and take before and after shots of your work.  I’m doing this as well – it really helps to have this visual mile marker of your progress.

4. When you’re done for the day, post your before and after shots on your own blog, along with a short paragraph or two of what you worked on and how you’re doing.

5. Come back over here, and share your blog post’s link on the corresponding Simple Mom post.  That way, readers can follow your progress on each day’s tasks.

6. If you have a Flickr account, share your before and after photos in the Simple Mom Flickr Pool.  I’d love to get some great shots to include in the upcoming book!  If you’d like to be included and have your photo published, be sure to include your photo here.

7. As you finish your work for the day, hop on to Simple Mom and check out the work of your fellow readers, and don’t forget to comment on each other’s work.  This is where the Party part takes place!  And it will be the fuel to keep you going.

simple mom spring cleaning party

Here are a few tips to get you prepared for Monday, and for the next two weeks:

1.  Prepare to work.

I wish I could tell you this will be a breeze, but you’re probably going to sweat.  You may even get dirty.  We’ll make it as fun as possible by sharing before and after pics, and by visiting each other’s sites and high-fiving our accomplishments, but don’t expect the Spring Cleaning Party to be hours of entertainment.

2.  Prepare your family.

Get your kids as involved as possible. If they’re at home, have them work with you – or at least keep you company.  Explain what you’re doing and why.  This is about decluttering and cleaning, sure, but this type of spring cleaning is also a crucial first step towards living more simply.  If you want your kids to embrace this idea, their parents need to be simple living’s biggest cheerleader.

And it would be great if both spouses were on board.  Sure, you need to work around work schedules, and maybe one of you does the dirty work while the other one encourages.  But do what you can to work as a team.

3.  Clear the calendar.

This guide to spring cleaning in 10 days is meant to work with real life – so you don’t need to cancel Little League practice or order take out every night.  But do what you can to keep your commitments to a minimum. Don’t host a last-minute dinner party next weekend.

4.  Get your gear ahead of time.

The e-book clearly lists all the supplies you’ll need for each day, and Appendix A has ten recipes for homemade, eco-friendly, frugal household cleaners.  Don’t waste time on Monday gathering supplies. Do it over the weekend, so that you can wake up that morning, ready to go.

5.  Don’t jump ahead.

I can understand the temptation on this one, especially on those days where the work isn’t too heavy.  But enjoy those lighter days, and use it to rest up for the other days where the work load is much larger.  Even though the Spring Cleaing Party lasts two weeks, it ideally should take you only a few hours for ten days.

6.  Customize it to fit your needs.

For some of you, this might need to take three weeks, if your house is larger or if your schedule is already packed.  Or if you’re single and live in a smaller place, this process might only take you a week.  Don’t stress over following the guide verbatim – make it work for you.

Likewise, tweak the room assignments as needed.  If you have a room that really needs attention, and I don’t have it listed in the e-book, either tack it on to your to-do list, or substitute that room for one of the guide’s days.

Head over to Organizing Your Way for inspiration in this area – Mandi will share ideas and tips for making this spring cleaning process work for you.  Today, her post is about choosing your cleaning supplies.

7.  Spread the word.

You may have already written about the Party on your blog, but if you’d like some real-life accountability and encouragement, tell your friends, your family, and your neighbors.  Work together, and call each other throughout the day to stay encouraged! Make it as fun as possible.

Let me know if you have any questions or ideas to incorporate in to the Spring Cleaning Party!  Don’t forget to download your e-book copy,  if you haven’t yet.

Are you joining the party?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I already did my Spring Cleaning! Your e-book was a great help! I look forward to seeing how you progress and join in on areas I forgot or that have already gotten less than spring clean.

    Marci@OvercomingBusy´s last blog post…Keeping the kitchen organized

  2. Oh man my house is in such scary condition, my photos might scare the other readers! We just moved into a new place in the midst of finals, so things are pure chaos. I could definitely use some extra encouragement! Great idea!

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…Michelle Obama and the intersection of racism and sexism

  3. Wish I could, but I’m gone for one of the weeks you’re doing this. I think I shall order your ebook and start after the fact. Thanks for the encouragement.

    jill´s last blog post…Pirates! Robots! Ravens! Oh My!

  4. I can’t wait Tsh! As I look around I’m getting antsy 🙂 Looking forward to getting started.

  5. I am totally in. I’ve been slowly plugging away at a major organize, resituate, and PURGE process over here. I took before photos and may not get done in 10 days, but I’m definitely going to be following along and participating.

    Mal´s last blog post…What to do: Kill your darlings

  6. I’m totally in! My house is in DESPERATE need of this. Can’t wait!

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post…Simply Thrilled

  7. Gladys says:

    Oh my! I’m so exited
    I just got you e-book and could not resist it!
    I start ahed with the kitchen counter and it look great. I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but I can wait to clean next week.

  8. Looking forward to it! 🙂

    Angie @ The Creative Mama´s last blog post…Taking the focus off of fear.

  9. I am 29 weeks pregnant so I don’t know how much I will be able to do. I wish I would have done my spring cleaning sooner before I got so big. I’m IN. I want to start with organizing my summer clothes /closets and getting the heavy sweaters and jackets out of the way.

    Tracy-Lynne@IndianMeridian´s last blog post…TGIF the coundown is on

  10. This looks like a lot of fun. I’ve actually gotten started with mine this week. I’m blogging it too…”Baby Steps Out of the Chaos” and including fun craft and sewing projects and tutorials for each room as I go.

    The 6 O’Clock Stitch´s last blog post…Potholder Makeover Tutorial

  11. Great advice! Monday would be a great time for me to start, too. It will be done before summer break starts.

    Lisa´s last blog post…A Few Notes

  12. I will try to do this and I’m sure my pictures will prove worthy of a big need to clean. We just moved into a new house after a house fire last year, still havnt unpacked from the fire and from 3 moves ago and I’d LOVE to get into those bins/boxes and see the things I forgot that I owned. GREAT IDEA! If only I could get the DH to join in and clean HIS areas (basement/garage) and help keep MY areas clean (kitchen/living/bath/laundry/bedrooms) for more than an hour. Gotta love him!

  13. I’m going to quietly join in in the party. Only because I don’t have time to blog about it. I have a date in mind for a yard sale so little by little I am going to prepare!

    Great post, as always 🙂

    Happy Weekend!

    sandy´s last blog post…Did you get your May Day Kiss?

  14. We don’t usually do Spring cleaning… actually in Puerto Rico is not a tradition anyway, but I do remember as a child when my mom cleaned all the windows and in the garage (that had stone floor) she dropped a LOT of dish washing soap and we used to slip all over the garage floor! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! Of course we ended up all scratched in the bellies, but we loved it! That way we were entertained while my mom cleaned all windows around the house! 🙂

    lvlc @ From Mom To Mom´s last blog post…The last day of last month passed and the first day of the month arrived: the Budgeting for the month headache!

  15. I am really looking forward to the cleaning party!! Who couldn’t use a little extra motivation?!?

    Jenn @ Beautiful Calling´s last blog post…Downsizing: What’s in Your Cleaning Cupboard?

  16. We’re starting tomorrow because we have more rooms to cover than in your book, and because my birthday is the 11th and I probably will want to take the day off! I’m really looking forward to it, although my husband isn’t as excited as I am 🙂

    Megan´s last blog post…Menu Plan Mondays – April 27

  17. Rebekah says:

    Woo-hoo!!! Count me in!
    I’m EXCITED!!!
    Thank you!

  18. I’m IN! I’ve been doing this all week so it will be nice to have others “cheering” me on! I am de-crapifying my house and reclaiming my once beautiful office. I’ll take pics! Today it;s off to the recycling center (paper to be shredded in bulk) and donation center for 3 bags of clothes. We are a family of four living in under 1100 square feet so I’ve gotten creative on keeping the chaos under control.

  19. I am nervously/excitedly looking forward to this! In all the eight years I’ve been married – I’ve never done cleaning to this extent. I have just a couple more things to pick up this weekend, and I’m going for it!

    I downloaded your book, and can I just tell you that your brain seems to function the same way mine does? 🙂

    Anyway, I’m planning on taking 12-14 days, instead of ten, because I have four kids ages 6, 4, 3 and 1, and because I have a lot of decluttering to do.

    Thanks for hosting this party!

    Tiff @ The Faery Inn´s last blog post…Weekend Links

  20. I bought your ebook and was waiting till my husband finished a reno but……he may not finish till next spring so I will hop on board!
    Wish me luck! Two wee BUSY people in my life don’t like me too distracted!

  21. I am excited to do some spring cleaning around here. I’ll most definitely be joining the party! 😉

    Olivia´s last blog post…Cupcake Birthday Party!

  22. I did a little bit yesterday before I knew this was going on. I knew I should’ve taken some pics! Maybe i has some in the archives some where when it looks really bad. But I will be sure to take ones of the new and improved girls rooms and play room!

  23. Maybe if I linked back to my blog and spelled correctly it would be a better idea. Whoops. Nicole.

    Nicole´s last blog post…Wordless Wednesday

  24. I am ready! I just finished reading the first 17 pages of your book and can’t wait for Day 1 to start. Mom-In-Law got me some boxes from the produce section at her store and I am picking them up tonight. Tomorrow I will round up all the cleaners I need for the next two weeks and take my SCARY before photos. Hubs is excited for less clutter and is my one man cheering section. This is really going to help me get out of the house for the spring & summer camping trips we have planned. I am so EXCITED! Good luck ladies.

    Liz´s last blog post…A list anyone?

  25. I’m so ready I’ve been working on my checklist and getting my supplies together this weekend. My house is one giant dust bunny.

    Rana´s last blog post…Basic Training Week 1

  26. Ok, I think I’m in. I’m going to get my husband to pitch in on the Day One activities tomorrow, even though it’s a day early. That way he can make decisions on his stuff as well. And, I start a new job on Monday so I wouldn’t have all day to do it like I thought I would. But, I’m looking forward to it. I’m loving the eBook!

    Chris Clark´s last blog post…So much to say, so little time

  27. Stacey says:

    I am having trouble downloading your e-book, can you please help?

    I am looking forward to get everything ship shape!!

  28. Eeeeeeeeee… How dare you wake me from my comfort zone slumber????
    Ok, ok… if I must.
    I am a creative-type. This is much like torture to gals like me. But I know some sorts of suffering are necessary and, ugh, good.
    🙂 🙁 :/

    Freedom´s last blog post…Scary new Project… Spring… (what?) Cleaning.

  29. PS: what do you do with your kids? 3 yrs. and 7 mos? THAT takes all my energy right there!

    Freedom´s last blog post…Scary new Project… Spring… (what?) Cleaning.

  30. NERVOUS!

    My house is a dump! Taking a deep breath, getting ready to go…

    Heather @ alis grave nil´s last blog post…Birthday Party for an Introvert

  31. I just learned about the Party today on Life As Mom. But, I plan on doing what I can. I started doing some organizing last week. We moved into our home last Fall, so it’s really not too terribly bad, but it can definately use some work.
    Thanks for hosting the Party!

    Liz@HoosierHomemade´s last blog post…Walgreens, CVS and Freebies

  32. Caroline says:

    I have put things off for so long now. I need some help! I finally decided to take care of the kitchen and since we have really put a lot into going natural (due to son’s allergies and Eczema) I thought I would give baking soda and vinegar a try on my floors. It worked so well! Normally, when I clean the floors with anything else, they end up sticky and dull. This time, they shined and nothing sticky!! The kids even played right there without me having to worry about chemicals. Love the Vidazorb and now, am on a road of natural products that are healthy and they work! Can’t wait to follow you 🙂 Caroline

  33. Hi, I came over from a friend’s blog, to see what the buzz was about. WOW – This is great information! Love your site – I’m going to add you to my favorites, and put your link on my site. Will you add my blog link to yours, too please?

    Today’s entry at MaidenShade Matters called “Thursday’s Child” offers a great Chicken Casserole recipe, after all of that cleaning you all are going to need some of this well-earned comfort food! It’s easy and you can make it ahead to enjoy after a hard, day’s work.

    Thanks for sharing your talents with us all, xJ

    Jennifer Swan-Hopkins´s last blog post…Thursday’s Child

  34. I am grateful for the information that has been shared here.
    I recently did a TV segment on Purging BEFORE you Spring Clean. The final step was to Organize the things you decide to keep. If any of your readers would like to watch the segment, copy and paste this URL address: http://www.organize-utah.com/press-media/
    Thanks again for touching on a necessary household need!

  35. I read this post too late for the spring cleaning but I’m using it to get ready for the start of the school year. I think you should make another one for back-to-school organization.
    .-= Imene´s last blog ..Ikea here I come =-.

  36. Just found this while scanning through the archives – is there any way I could purchase the ebook still? It coming up as not available for sale any longer. Thanks!

    • Hi Lissa – Actually no, the ebook is no longer for sale once my hard copy book was released. Sorry about that! However. my book is available on Kindle, and the second half of the book used my ebook as a basic skeleton for content. So for $3 more, you’ll be getting TONS more info.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Thanks! I just bought your book but hadn’t gotten to that part yet – great that it’s in there! Thanks again for all you do – you inspire me daily!

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