It’s hard to believe, but springtime is just around the corner. This time of year, many of us enjoy clearing out our homes, getting rid of clutter and dusting off the remnants of winter. While this ritual can feel freeing and fun, it can also get overwhelming—especially with a family. That’s why we’ve put together these five super simple tips for spring cleaning. Your home will be in tiptop shape in no time! 

Follow This Simple Rule

Last year, people were really talking about Marie Kondo’s decluttering techniques. Inspired by her minimalist lifestyle, many attempted the Konmari method, while others felt it was too cutthroat (people freaked out over her limitations on books, for example). 

The one thing you can take from the Konmari method that works for almost anyone’s cleaning efforts is this guiding principle—keep only the things that “spark joy.” By this, Kondo means that we shouldn’t hold onto items that we don’t really enjoy or avoid using. This can apply to clothing, kitchen utensils, pens, and basically everything in our homes. Many of us have shirts that aren’t flattering and we don’t wear them … so why hold onto them?

Donate What You Can

Removing clutter from our homes can feel wonderful, but avoid throwing everything away. Carefully sort your items so that you’ll know exactly what to do with the things you no longer need. We’ve found that separating things into “donate,” “repair,” and “trash” piles is pretty effective. 

Make an effort to donate what you can. Remember that even if you’ve outgrown something, it could be valuable to someone else. As the old saying goes, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!”

It’s a Family Affair

Got kids who want to help with spring cleaning? No problem! When everyone gets involved, it might take a little more planning (and patience), but it will be worth it in the end. After all, teamwork makes the dream work! Here are a few things to tame the madness:

  • Give kids age-specific tasks that are easy to follow and will keep them busy. They can sort through stuffed animals, clothing, and more. 
  • Use music to keep things lighthearted. You might be even more motivated to get through it all with the right soundtrack!
  • Make cleaning up a game, and even consider offering rewards when kids complete certain tasks.
  • Have a backup activity for younger kids to do if they start getting bored.
  • Avoiding making this a one-day, all-day event. Instead, spread it out over a weekend, if possible. Do a couple of hours of prep work on Friday night, a couple of hours on Satuday morning, and then again on Saturday afternoon. Then, dedicate Sunday morning to finishing up and hauling garbage and donations away.

Have reasonable expectations and give yourselves plenty of time to hit your goals. That way, you won’t feel as frustrated or stressed when kids slow you down. 

Respect Others’ Limits

You might be ready to clear out your closets and go minimalist, but others in your home might not feel similarly—and that’s okay, right? When we get excited about making changes in our lives or living spaces, it’s important to respect the limits of others. 

Without pressuring anyone, have a real conversation about how they are feeling. Ask them to share their thoughts and listen intently to what they have to say. Not only will you make them feel validated, but you may also discover opportunities for a compromise. 

Celebrate Your Success

You’ve sorted through every room. You’ve lived through some tense moments. Maybe, you’ve even had an argument (or two). Now, you’re at the end of it all and your home looks amazing. All of your hard work has paid off, so why not celebrate a little?

Order pizza (or your favorite quick meal), have a movie night, and enjoy a few laughs. Confronting clutter can be emotionally and physically exhausting, which is why it’s even more important to pull together and blow off some steam. Reflect on the experience and make note of what went well, and where you can improve … you know, so you’re ready to do it all over again next year. Happy cleaning!