Spring Cleaning Guide for the Time Poor

In the southern hemisphere spring has sprung!  Our tulip, daffodil and iris bulbs are blooming, and everything is looking bright and cheery.  It’s also the time of year for a quick clean out to get everything looking and feeling fresh again!  Here’s my guide for what really needs cleaning out and decluttering in our house for those that have no time or energy.  Just do one bit at a time, over a few days or weeks and stick to each area until its done- don’t get distracted like me and end up with 5 things half done.

When spring cleaning hits I try to make a list of the places that I think need the biggest tidy up, that way I know where I am up to when I am half way through and don’t feel as overwhelmed by it all.  Take all the time you need to get started, I generally wait until the school holidays to clean out the kids toys as I like them to at least pretend to be involved in cleaning up! Here are the spaces that are at the top of my list.


1. Clothes

The change of seasons is the perfect time to go through everyone’s drawers and closets and work out what hasn’t been worn in a while, what is too small or worn out.  I try to do this when the family is out of the house or asleep.

When I declutter and tidy my clothes, I pull everything out of my closet and drawers and lay it on the bed or floor in groups (shirts, shorts, dresses etc)  I then go through and try to be a bit brutal- if I haven’t worn it in the last year it doesn’t get put back.

All my off season clothes (at the moment that’s heavy winter gear) gets put in my under bed storage boxes or at the back of my closet.  Before I put everything back away I give my drawers etc a vacuum and wipe out so it’s fresh and clean.  My clothes that I am culling get put in piles like ‘rag’, ‘give away’ or ‘donation’ and bagged up or put in my rag box for use when I clean.  I do this with my husbands and the kids clothes too.

It generally takes me 45 min to 1 hour to do each persons clothes and I find it easiest to do it all in one weekend, but have spaced it out over a week before.


2. Linen

Spring cleaning is the perfect time to clean out your towels and sheets.  Pull it out and sort and fold as you go.  If everything is still pretty tidy I just pull each group of stuff out and wipe the shelves down without messing everything up (it depends if my husband or kids have been in there!)  Get rid of anything you don’t use or need.

I have 2 sets of sheets per bed plus one set of winter sheets per bed, two mattress protectors per bed, one blanket each, one comforter or quilt each, plus 2 spare quilts that can get used if we need.  I also have 2 towels per person and a beach towel each, plus 2 guest sets, and a large pile of bath mats, face washers and hand towels as they are so handy.  I keep my spare curtains in the bottom of the linen closet and a packing blanket from when we last moved, a few table clothes and my rag box and our spare throw that we put on the couch.

I try to do a big cull once every few years and give away the sheets and blankets we don’t use- that can take about 2 hours but if I’m just spring cleaning it takes about 45 min.


3. Pantry

I do this shelf by shelf unless its a total mess.  Pull everything off the shelf, wipe it down, wipe the shelf down and as you put everything back check it’s still in date.  Anything about to go off gets put at the front so you see it and use it soon.

I try to keep everything grouped with like items- savory, sweet, baking, tins etc all stay together so I know what I have.  I also make sure things like flour are in containers otherwise bugs get into it- I check that I don’t need more containers or labels as I go.  This generally takes 1.5 hours.



4. Plastics cupboard

Most of us are guilty of just chucking something into our plastics cupboard at some stage! I try to keep everything tidy but it’s hard to always find a spot for that odd shaped lid or bowl.  I actually have 3 cupboards for all our plastics and so I do them one at a time.


I make sure each container has a matching lid and I get rid of the bits that are broken or have lost parts. I wipe down the cupboard shelves and check the containers are all clean too.  If things stack together they get stacked and if I have random containers that don’t fit with everything else and don’t get used I try to donate them, use them for another purpose or give them to the kids for them to use in their sandpit.  This takes about 30min per cupboard (1.5 hours all up)


5. Handbag or purse

I carry around a massive tote bag when I don’t have my nappy bag with me, it has so much stuff in it- but the sad thing is I use it all!!  I clean my handbag out at least twice a year, otherwise it gets annoying, and one of those times is spring.

As per usual- pull everything out, if you can wash your bag do it, otherwise get a baby wipe or a damp cloth and give the outside a clean- use disinfectant (not an alcohol based or spray one though) to wipe the handles and bottom of the bag.  Turn it upside down (outside or over the sink) and give it a really good shake to get the dust and little bits and pieces out.

I like to lay everything out on my dining room table so I know what I have and what I can probably take out of my bag. I try to only take the essentials, but with 3 kids out and about all day, it’s the things you don’t have that you end up needing!



6. Junk Drawer(s)

I’m not sure if it’s normal, but I have way more than one junk drawer, and by this time of year they are generally so full of random things I find it hard to open and close them!


I try to be really tough with myself when I do these drawers, and I always make sure nobody is in the house when I do them- because at least 3/4 of what’s in those drawers hasn’t been seen for 6 months plus and should probably been thrown out.

I go drawer by drawer- I neatly place tip everything onto a big tray and sort through it.  If it has a home somewhere else then it gets put away immediately, if it is an important item that needs to live in that drawer it gets put aside and if it’s something random, broken or annoying (that whistle my 6 yr old got given at a party) it gets chucked in the bin.

This takes me about 20 minutes per drawer, I try to be fast and decisive with the things in these drawers- most of it has other homes or can be thrown out.  Once I’ve done these drawers (I try to do them last so everything can be put away without having to touch it when I clean out the place it should live in) I feel so much better- like life has order again!


What’s the one place you need to clean out at the moment?



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