Spring into cleaning

Kat shares her top tips and tricks to get it done.



YouAlberta is written by students for students.

Kat (she/her) is a 2nd-year History of Art, Design and Visual Culture major. Passionate about the arts, her community and harm reduction, Kat’s goal is to open an Arts Cooperative that would encourage local artists to flourish. She enjoys painting, crafting, designing outfits, attending music festivals, dancing out her stress, and hanging out with friends.

Spring has finally sprung, and now with the sun's invigorating energy, it's the perfect time for us students to start fresh and get organized. After months of cold, dark and dreary winter weather, it's easy to let your living spaces become messy and cluttered. However, with the increase in energy that comes from beautiful sunshine and the anticipation of warm weather, spring is the time to harness our newfound energy and make a positive difference in our spaces. 

A tidy living space is highly beneficial for our mental health. A cluttered and messy space can lead to stress, anxiety and a lack of focus. Seeing our own mess every day can be disheartening and cause us to feel ashamed and helpless. It's important not to beat ourselves up and understand that being a human is a messy business. 

It's okay to be unable to maintain our spaces sometimes, particularly with projects, exams and assignments weighing on us. However, a clean and organized space can lead to a more peaceful and productive environment, and it's important to tackle our homes when we have the energy available to do so. After tidying, you are sure to feel satisfied and be able to approach the last few weeks of the semester with newfound focus and peace. With that in mind, here are some tips to make spring cleaning a breeze: 

Shoes stay on:

When you get home, it can be tempting to immediately remove your shoes and relax. However, this can lead to a lack of motivation to clean and organize your space. Once you get cozy and relaxed, it becomes more difficult to motivate yourself to leave your comfy state and get to work. As Isaac Newton said, "a body at rest will remain at rest." The same is certainly true for us students. Instead, try keeping your shoes on and getting started on your cleaning tasks right away. This will help you stay motivated and focused on the work at hand. Don't worry; you can always mop when you are done.  

Pump up the volume:  

Playing music while cleaning can be a great way to get energized and stay focused. Music has a positive effect on mood and motivation. By choosing upbeat and energetic music, you can create a more positive and productive atmosphere while you clean. Music can also help to drown out distractions and create a sense of rhythm and pace, making it easier to maintain focus and stay on task. Whether you prefer EDM or upbeat pop, find a playlist that motivates and energizes you and use it to power through spring cleaning. 

A no-phone home: 

Minimizing distractions, such as your phone, is essential to staying focused and productive while completing any task. Getting lost doom-scrolling TikTok or Instagram is a surefire way to spend hours procrastinating. Select your music and then set your phone to silent or put it in another room while you clean. This will help you stay focused and present in the moment, allowing you to complete your cleaning more efficiently and effectively. 

Divide and conquer: 

It's easy to become overwhelmed when faced with the task of cleaning and organizing your living space. A great way to tackle this is to break it down into smaller, more manageable parts. Divide your space into sections, such as your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, and tackle one section at a time. This way, you can focus on each area without feeling overwhelmed. Creating a task list for each space is a helpful way to stay organized and motivated. As you complete each task, check it off your list. When we complete a task or achieve a goal, our brain releases dopamine, which gives us a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. By checking off tasks on a to-do list, we create a visual representation of progress, which boosts our dopamine levels even more and increases our motivation to keep going. Remember, you don't have to do everything at once. You can focus on one section of your home a day and spread it out over the week so it feels more manageable. 

Treat yourself:

Cleaning and organizing your living space can be a boring task, so it's important to give yourself small rewards along the way. Treat yourself to something you enjoy after completing each task on your list. This could be something as simple as enjoying a favourite snack, taking a break to watch an episode of your favourite show or going for a walk in the sunshine to recharge. This would be a good time to check your phone if you need to. Just don't get lost in it.  

Involve friends: 

Cleaning and organizing can be more enjoyable when you have friends to help you. Invite a few friends over and give them easy tasks or areas to work on. Throw on some tunes and provide snacks to make an event of it. Alternatively, if putting your friends to work feels uncomfortable, just having another person around can make a huge difference in your ability to get things done. Invite a friend over to work on their own projects while you tidy. When you have someone working on a task beside you, you are less likely to get distracted or procrastinate, and so this arrangement is mutually beneficial. This technique is called body doubling, and by using it, you and your friend can provide each other with the support and motivation needed to tackle your tasks.  

Downsize and donate: 

Downsizing and decluttering can be a great way to make your living space more organized and functional. Take some time to explore your space and identify items that you no longer need or use. This can be a fun process as you might rediscover long-forgotten artifacts in your home, making it a productive trip down memory lane. Afterwards, consider donating your unused items to charities like the Mustard Seed, Youth Emergency Center or the Bissell Center. Not only will this help you clear out your space, but it can also provide a sense of satisfaction and joy as you give new life to items that were once cluttering your space. You can also walk away knowing you did something meaningful by helping your community.  

I hope these tips prove to be helpful in tackling the ever-present chore of cleaning up and setting you up for a satisfying stress-free summer. Although cleaning up can feel overwhelming, it's important to remember that, in many cases, good is good enough. Your environment doesn't have to be perfect and spotless all the time. Be realistic and go at your own pace. Good Luck!