Tips to help you organize your spring cleaning

By Judy Schmidt University of Illinois Extension Services

Dividing chores among family members helps to make the cleaning process go quicker and makes it less overwhelming.

Even though it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet, the faintest hint of warm weather makes me anxious to open my windows and doors to let the fresh air in. It also makes me itch to start going through closets, cleaning out the garage and sprucing up the outdoors.

But with so many tasks and often little time, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are three great strategies to help you get started organizing your home:

Reduce clutter

Commit to reducing the clutter in your home. Clear the Clutter, a University of Illinois Extension resource, shares a great strategy for sorting out things you want to keep or not. Start in one space (think closet, spare room, garage stall) and commit to sorting out the items in that space into four boxes — garbage, recycling, donate (or sell), and keep.

Be sure to set a time limit and work quickly — this is not the time to nostalgically go through your photo albums or children’s art, as that can take up your whole time.

Start with the kitchen

I know my kitchen is a gathering space for many things beyond cooking; it is a place where homework is done, games are played, and objects from the day are left behind (homework, school lunches, water bottles, etc.).

The pantry also collects many things such as snacks, cans of food, and baking supplies, which often go unused or become expired.

Getting your kitchen cleaned out can be a big win in the cleaning game as it is often a space we are in every day. Our colleagues from Michigan State University share some tips at  on how to clean out and organize your kitchen.

Get everyone involved

The first cleaning job I remember as a child was dusting the baseboards of the house (I think that might have been chosen based on my proximity to the ground). My own kids loved sweeping or using the hand-hand vacuum. Regardless of which task is assigned, getting the whole family on board with cleaning has benefits for everyone.

Research from the University of Minnesota found that young people who began chores early in life were more likely to have good relationships, to achieve academically, and to be more self-sufficient, as compared with those who didn’t have chores or who started doing chores as teens.

Not sure what your child can do at what age? Check out this age-appropriate chore list from the University of Arkansas.