What’s more refreshing than springtime?
The air smells clean, the weather starts warming up and things start turning green with life. It’s a time of new beginnings.
So it makes sense that spring is the season many of us choose to do some deep cleaning. If the rest of the world is getting a fresh start, why shouldn’t your home?
Even if you’re not a clean-freak, spending a day getting your house nice and clean can feel amazing. Here are some tips to make sure you do it efficiently and frugally.
Start with a Spring Cleaning Plan
A full spring cleaning can be a big job – even a bit overwhelming. Start by breaking it down into chunks and splitting up tasks or certain rooms over the course of a few days.
If you’re involving the whole family, and giving out marching orders, assign a clear list of duties to each member. Don’t just bark out demands randomly. You’ll get frustrated and everyone else will hate you. Be a coach – not a slave driver.
It’s best to use a “top-down strategy” when cleaning. Start with things like ceiling fans and blinds, then wipe the walls clean, work your way down to furniture and then finally the floors. This will end up being a great time-saver and will keep you focused on the next step.
Use Dish Soap Instead of Name-Brand Cleaners
We’ve all been led to believe that we need a different kind of cleaner for just about every room, appliance, piece of furniture and fixture in the house.
The fact is – some mild dish soap and some warm water will go a long way in many cases. Sorry Mr. Clean – it’s true. Avoiding expensive (and often toxic) cleaning products is the best way to be frugal when you clean.
Dish soap and water are the perfect thing for wiping down counter tops and other surfaces. It’s also the best thing to use on your walls. That’s because the chemicals in many other cleaners can soften the paint and cause damage.
Ditch the Paper Towels & Swiffer Sweeper for Reusable Rags
Yes, it seems convenient to rip off another sheet of paper toweling whenever the one you were using gets dirty and wet. But it’s also wasteful – and you can go through a lot of paper towels during an intense spring cleaning.
Reusable rags will save you money in the long run because you can throw them in the wash. Not to mention – they’re more durable than any paper towel.
You don’t even need to buy rags. Old towels and torn t-shirts make the perfect rags. Most t-shirt material works especially well on windows and mirrors.
As for the fancy-shmancy Swiffer Sweeper, if you like using one, that’s cool. However, just be aware that Procter & Gamble has convinced you to keep buying those disposable sheets for the rest of your life. There’s really nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned mop.
Use the Power of Everyday Household Items
Certain things you will find in just about every home can also be very hand cleaners.
Baking soda can take the place of a product like Comet. Olive Oil can work as a polisher for wood and stainless steel. Club Soda can be used to clean windows or remove stains, and it seems like vinegar can be used to clean just about everything – from dirty microwaves to soap-crusted dishwashers.
Dejunk, Organize and Make Some Extra Cash
As you go through the spring cleaning process, you will start finding things you can get rid of. Do it!
While some frugally-focused people are all about simplifying things, others tend to hang on to items too long because they think the stuff might be of some value down the road. However, the trash may be the best place for things like old magazines, broken toys and almost-empty paint cans in the garage.
This is also a good time to deal with that dreadful junk drawer before it gets out of control, toss the Tupperware containers that no longer have tops and say so long to some of those VHS tapes. Are you really going to watch Weekend at Bernie’s 2 ever again?
You may also find some treasures as you clean the house. If you really can think of creative ways to upcycle items you uncover in the attic – go for it!
Of course, you can also make some money when you’re de-junking. Collect items for a garage sale. There are plenty of garage-sale-junkies who have been waiting for spring and are ready to sniff out a deal.
Read our article on Garage Sale Tips for Sellers to get some great ideas on how to set up your yard sale.
If that seems like too much work, you can always find items to put up for sale on Craigslist or eBay. Otherwise, Goodwill is always looking for donations. So go through that closet and find the clothes you never wear.
What’s Your Advice?
Now you should be ready to open some windows to get fresh air in the house, crank your favorite tunes and get busy with the spring cleaning.
Do you have any tips to share? Let us know how you make spring cleaning frugal, how you make it fast, or how you make it fun!
Image Credit : derpunk via Flickr