From House to Home:

Tornado Season

I grew up in Idaho: we don't have tornados. But you'd think one hit the house every March or April. It was time for the annual Spring Cleaning. My mom would take an entire weeks vacation from work and whip herself up into cleaning frenzy!

Personally, I look forward to spring cleaning, but like most, I can't spend an entire week on the project.

Over the years I have learned not to try to do too much all at once. Here's how I go about it: my system is to break down the tasks into smaller tasks.

I take a day to clean and reorganize each drawer in the house. I start by setting up some boxes marked toss or donate. I'll go from room to room to sort, reorganize and clean each drawer.

I take the items that are no longer needed or wanted and toss them into the right boxes. I finish my day with a trip to the Goodwill.

When I have another day I do closets, then onto cupboards (including the pantry) and so on. Again, I have my boxes in tow and finish with a trip to Goodwill. I call this cleaning from the inside out.

I look forward to spring cleaning, but I can't spend an entire week on the project.

After about three days of cleaning and sorting throughout the month I move on to other tasks like wiping walls and woodwork, which usually takes a day. Next up: vacuuming furniture, drapes or blinds, and having the rugs and carpets cleaned. I'll take one day and thoroughly clean all of the bathrooms and another day to get down and dirty in the kitchen.

Finally I clear out winter blankets and bedding, wash everything and store for the summer.

And, you know what I discovered? By tackling my cleaning in this way I found I really enjoyed it! It wasn't so much of a 'big' chore as it was a series of smaller chores done over a month or so.

So, throw open the windows and doors and let the fresh air and sunshine in while you work. Take joy in the ritual – just do it a little at a time.

This article originally appeared in That's Neat! Blog on March 15, 2010

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