Original ideas for spring cleaning

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If spring cleaning seems like too much of a task, it might be time to adopt some new strategies for the annual ritual:

* Right before you jump in the shower, take 5-10 minutes to clean a part of your house or apartment. Never clean when you are clean, always before taking a shower.

* Divide and conquer. Rather than trying to do your whole house in a day or a weekend, focus on one room. A few days later, when you feel up to it, focus on another room.

* Choose a number. If you manage 5-7 small cleaning tasks, over the days, you have much less to do due to your ongoing campaign.

* Measure your time against your money. The more you earn, the more important it is to hire someone to clean your house. If you make more than $35/hr, or $70,000 per year, it makes sense to hire a cleaning helper.

* Like the Japanese, take off your shoes when entering your home and ask guests to do the same. They may be puzzled at first, but logic sets in quickly. Most of the dirt in your home comes from you and others stepping on your shoes.

* Play a cleaning game. Suppose you only have six minutes, challenge yourself to see how much you can do. Another time you might have three minutes, and another time you might have eight.

* Be gentle with yourself. No matter what disorganized, dirty, or cluttered issues you’re facing, it didn’t all happen yesterday and you won’t be able to fix them all by tomorrow.

Clutter the clutter

Establish a one-year rule. If your closets are overflowing, take out any clothes you haven’t worn in a while and put them in a box. Write down the date you put them away and leave a note for yourself somewhere on your calendar or schedule that you’ll be reviewing the contents of that box in a year.

When you open the box, whatever you want to keep, put it back in your closet. Donate the rest to a good cause like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

An incremental approach

When you take a phased approach to keeping your home clean, the very term spring cleaning represents a poor allocation of time. Why clean in the spring, when the weather is nice outside?

Clean in the cold winter months when you’re less likely to want to be outdoors. Rainy days are another great time to clean up. The height of summer, when it’s swelteringly hot and you want to stay indoors in the air conditioning, is another great time to clean up.

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