An Idiot's Guide to Spring Cleaning
You’re not an idiot. Let’s start there.
This is a spring cleaning guide for very smart, very driven people. The fact that you’ve even found yourself in a position to consider doing your spring cleaning means you’re already a step ahead.
So kudos for making it this far (and you haven’t even read that much yet). What follows is a guide to tidying up the most important places in your life—your home, your workspace, your closet, and your car.
Spring cleaning is meant to bring some order to the chaos of life and, dare we say it, maybe even spark a little joy. So, let’s begin. Grab a trash bag and don’t be afraid to fill that sucker up.
Where does spring cleaning come from?
You may not care about this at all. That’s fine. Feel free to keep scrolling. But for the history nerds among us (you’re safe here), here’s an interesting little tidbit.
The origins of spring cleaning date back to 3,000 years ago where Persian cultures celebrated an annual tradition called khaneh tekani, which literally translates to “shaking the house.” They believed that removing clutter from one’s home and life would ward off bad luck in the upcoming year.
We agree. Feel free to use that fun fact at your next cocktail party, but for now, let’s get into the mess of things.
Phase One: Spring cleaning your home
Where to begin. The home is, after all, the largest most lived-in space that requires your attention. But as friend-of-the-brand Mark Twain once said, “If you have to eat a live frog, do it first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.”
Spring cleaning your house is the live frog of these tasks, so start there. We recommend breaking the house into even smaller sections—closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, living spaces, kitchen, etc.
For spring cleaning your closet, we obviously have a few thoughts. Throw out anything you haven’t worn in six months. Pack away any out of season items (smell ya later, jackets). And hey, if you need to brighten it up, snag a few new spring essentials.
Tackle the bathrooms with a heavy duty brush and a yellow hazmat suit a la Breaking Bad. Get into the nooks and crannies and comfort yourself with the knowledge that you won’t have to do this again for another year.
You’ll be amazed at what a simple vacuum and dusting treatment will do to bedrooms and living spaces, so aside from your normal spring cleaning tidy up, go ahead and go the extra mile.
And for the kitchen, don’t be afraid of your junk drawer. Clean the cupboards and the counters, of course, but it’s not really spring cleaning if you avoid the hard stuff. Go ahead and untangle all those wires, throw out those paperclips, and enjoy the random cash money you might find.
Consider that an early reward and motivation to enter phase two.
Phase Two: Spring cleaning your workspace
We spend eight hours a day at our office (unless you’re cutting out early to play golf, which we both respect and encourage). That’s a lot of time.
You deserve to sit at a clean desk. For this phase of spring cleaning, we recommend some Clorox wipes and, of course, another trash bag.
Give the desk a good ol’ wipe down until you can see your reflection in it. Make sure you get the dust off those untouched corners and if you’re feeling brave, try to wipe under the desk too. Then, it’s time to tackle your drawers.
You don’t need all those notecards and sticky notes. You just don’t. Return them to the office supply closet where they belong and instead fill that free space with something useful (like folders full of memos or whatever).
Now the hard part. If you’re the type of person who has so many knick knacks on your desk that it can be hard to find your keyboard most mornings, then it’s time to purge. That golf ball doesn’t need to be there. Neither do those three coffee mugs. And you have enough notebooks already. And a lanyard? Who uses lanyards?
The heart of spring cleaning is all about decluttering. That doesn’t mean moving things off your desk and into a drawer. Time to get rid of the things you don’t need for real. Your future self will thank you, we promise.
Phase Three: Spring cleaning your car.
If you’re like us, your car is not just your automobile. It also functions as a workplace, a restaurant, a sporting goods store, and a mobile wardrobe. But it doesn’t have to.
Cleaning your car may call to mind soap and suds, but the tool you really need for this aspect of spring cleaning? You guessed it—a trash bag.
Now, a lot of things in your car don’t need to get thrown away (you’ll need that baseball glove eventually). But they do need to get moved to their rightful place. Whether that’s a specific closet in your house or the garage, clean until you can actually see the floor of your backseat.
Your friends won’t tell you, but the reason they always offer to drive is because they don’t have anywhere to put their legs in your car. Clean it up and then be a good friend and offer to drive for once.
The reward for spring cleaning will arrive in their surprised and delighted faces when they see your spotless interior.
A smart person’s guide to spring cleaning
Would an idiot have read an entire article about spring cleaning? Nope. That’s why you’re a smart person. Now, finish your spring cleaning and enjoy some rest in the now spotless locale of your choice.