Goodbye Spring Cleaning, Hello Year Long Harmony!
For my very first blog post I want to start with the bare bones of organization. Spring is in the air and that means flowers are blooming, ducklings are hatching and thunderstorms roll in in the evenings. As winter blows away, many people begin to spend more time outside and we begin to see promotions and sales under the terms "spring cleaning". Now, my area of expertise is organization not necessarily cleaning, however I have found that the two ideas are often married to each other when they should really just be friends...maybe with benefits.
After a quick Google search I found that the origin of spring cleaning is a little different depending on the region you're from, but what each place has in common is this idea that we open our homes to the warming days and clear out the cobwebs and musk that comes with being cooped up all winter. I love the idea of starting fresh and clean every year and there's nothing like opening your windows and letting a spring breeze air out your home. However cleaning, and I mean like real deep cleaning, can only be accomplished if your home is well organized.
Marie Kondo, I'm sure you guys have heard of her, has a lovely book called Spark Joy and in some of the first chapters she really separates out the idea of cleaning versus the idea behind organization. She says, "The words tidying and cleaning are often used synonymously, but they are two completely different things." She goes on to describe tidying as "confronting yourself" and cleaning as "confronting nature". I cannot begin to describe how much I love these definitions and I really think separating them out and confronting them differently is the best recipe for success.
Let's start with cleaning. I can hear the universal groan as I type this out but I actually enjoy cleaning. I like to see what I've accomplished and it helps me keep a positive head space. That being said, I'm still a mom of two little boys and a pet parent to two dogs and a cat. My home is not white glove clean by any means. However, I believe my positive attitude towards cleaning comes from three main components.
1. My home is organized underneath nature's regular wear and tear. This is obviously the most important thing I want to convey to you but it's not the only piece to the puzzle. Regular cleaning becomes so much easier if things have dedicated space including all of your cleaning products!
2. I stick to a schedule. This isn't me bragging, I have simply found that the best way for me to keep my home clean is with a weekly schedule. We are born into this world and almost immediately put on some kind of schedule or routine so it really makes sense that extending that structure into our adult lives set us up for success. Write it out, use an app, whatever medium works best but get into the habit and it may even help to have consequences for not sticking to it.
3. I absorb tips and tricks like a sponge. Yes I chose this analogy because it's funny but also because it's true. I've met plenty of adults over the years that are ashamed to talk about their cleaning habits. They're embarrassed and as someone who is pretty easily embarrassed myself I completely understand. But, one of the greatest things I've learned in life is that not asking out of embarrassment is always worse than potentially looking foolish. So, chat with people about their habits and ask around for advice. I bet you'll find that you have a tip or trick to share as well.
Cleaning is natural, it comes with owning your own space. Don't let nature get the better of you, embrace the routine and I promise you'll begin to see your home in a completely different way.
Now, let's talk organization.
Organization must come first. Let me say it again, organization must come before cleaning. Here's another thing, it will probably be harder to do. Now that I have you all geared up for it let me explain why it is so important. You wake up on a beautiful Saturday morning, open the windows and decide to get started on your weekly cleaning schedule and welcome the new season. Only, you haven't organized anything yet so your cleaning products are scattered, your clean laundry doesn't fit in your drawers and you can't find your favorite spring decorations. Two things usually happen here, either you spend extra time looking for the things you need which eats up all of your beautiful day or you give up the cleaning process all together. Parsing down and dedicating your spaces can dramatically increase your clean home potential.
Now, let's talk about why this process can be difficult. Marie Kondo called it "confronting yourself" and I cannot think of a more accurate description. Unlike cleaning, organization doesn't combat nature and therefore natural causes. Dirt, dust and grime accumulate without the help of people, though the argument can be made that we help the process a bit, but clutter and disorganization are completely man-made. One of the biggest concerns I've heard from clients is that my process will force them to throw away all of their stuff. That's not what this is about. Sentimental items should be celebrated, not hidden under piles of less important things. My hope with every client is that they will gain not only an organized space but the head space to keep it that way. Confronting your reasons for keeping things is key to the process and that can be hard, but the outcome is so rewarding.
So, this spring get ahead of the cleaning game and start with an organized home. Regain those beautiful Saturdays with purpose and look forward to a year of harmony in your home!