How to Make Spring Cleaning a Success

A To-Do List You Can’t Clean Without: How to Make Spring Cleaning a Success

Whether you love winter or you try to stay indoors between the months of November and February, those first few days of spring always seem to signify a new start. Making use of those feelings of newness and motivation to clean and re-organize your home can help you start off the summer with a great attitude and a great place to entertain. However, spring cleaning can quickly get overwhelming if you don’t have an easy-to-follow strategy–a strategy that starts with a to-do list. Although a to-do list may be only your first step to a spring cleaning success, taking the time to write it well can help you keep on track and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Get Comfortable

If you’re like most, looking at a messy house can get you frustrated faster than several feet of snow. And starting a cleaning job frustrated usually just makes you more frustrated by the time it’s over, which doesn’t typically lend to good work. The first step to writing a good cleaning to-do list, then, is to get comfortable and to get into a good frame of mind . If you need to, leave your house, or go to the place that always makes you feel most comfortable in your home.

Write a “Rough Draft”

Your to-do list isn’t a senior thesis, but you can gain a lot from writing a rough draft, or a first copy on which you list everything you want to do–from refinishing the basement to dusting behind the fridge. Don’t worry about listing things in a particular order, but just write everything you think of as it comes to mind. You’ll have to narrow this down eventually, but it can be cathartic for you to get it all out on paper. It can also help you to organize your tasks and make reasonable goals for projects that you want to do immediately and those you need would like to do in the long run.


There are some tasks that you need to do right away–the ones that threaten the safety of those living in the home and those that potentially put the home at risk. For instance, if you have a very messy home and you have small children, figuring out how you can clean and organize it is necessary, as your children might trip otherwise. Similarly, if you are having a new baby or will be asking an elderly relative to move into your home, you should probably take care of the cleaning and organizing tasks that need to be done before these events happen before you tackle less necessary chores, like reorganizing your kitchen cupboards.

Determine Prerequisites

In some cases, you won’t be able to complete some of the tasks on your list until you get some other work done. For instance, if you want to organize or clean an unfinished basement, you probably need the carpentry finished first. Similarly, if you’re planning on installing new floors, in your bathroom and kitchen, you’ll need to do this before you change the layout of these rooms, as you’ll have to move many of your appliances and decorative items anyway to do the flooring. It’s a good idea to reach this stage in your planning well before you actual want to start spring cleaning, so you can take the time to call the right professional and work out viable deadlines so that the professional can have the prerequisite work done before you want to get started on your spring cleaning.

Set Reasonable Goals

After you’ve determined the prerequisites, it’s time to begin to determine what you actually want to get done and when you want to get it done. Consider establishing time categories before you do this. For instance, you might label categories “spring cleaning,” “summer,” and “before Christmas.” Then, you can organize jobs into these categories. Label categories in a way that’s meaningful to you. If you have an event coming up, like a wedding, you might want pre and post event categories. Next, be sure you assign tasks to categories in a reasonable way. Don’t put huge projects in categories with closely approaching deadlines. If you try to be too ambitious, and you don’t meet your deadlines , you’ll just feel disappointed and unmotivated to continue.

Spring cleaning can be a great way to get you in the “everything’s new” mindset, but spring cleaning without proper planning can be just as frustrating as living in a messy house. To give yourself the best chance at being able to clean, organize, and spruce up your house for summer, you need a to-do list that’s really going to motivate you and help you get organized. Following the guidelines above can help you get that to-do list in order, and getting started quickly on your goals can help you achieve them. Good luck!