The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide


Isabela Contreras, Staff Writer

When I stepped outside the other day and immediately broke into a sneezing fit, I knew spring was here. 

I’m practically allergic to the season. As beautiful as it may be, flowers blossoming and grass transforming into a gorgeous emerald shade of green has meant nothing but itchy eyes and runny noses for my whole life. The gentle breeze in the air carries pollen from plant to plant, enriching nature all around us, and causing my face to swell up. It’s not even just the physical season itself that I find myself avoiding; it’s everything else that comes along with it. Spring quarter, spring fever, spring color palettes (pastels are just not my shade), and the worst of all: spring cleaning. 

Me personally? I’ve never been good at cleaning. I’ve always been a rather messy person. Not intentionally, just naturally. Especially as a teenager, my mentality was as long as I could see my bedroom floor and if there were still clean socks in my drawer, it was alright. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve improved at cleaning, though it still never ends up being a top priority of mine. But spring is upon us. My mother has been reminding me constantly of how I should do a “spring cleaning” before classes start, or else I’ll never get around to it. 

I assured her I’d do it before spring break, so I could relax during my week off. Then I told her I’d do it during spring break, since I’d have a lot of free time to do so. Then I said I’d make sure to include it in my Week 1 schedule, since classes would just be going over the syllabus and simple introductory assignments. 

But Week 1 is over. As I stare into the face of the rest of the quarter, that impending sense of doom settles in the back of my mind, scaring me out of doing anything productive. I’ve realized that spring cleaning isn’t just about cleaning your room or apartment: it’s about getting rid of all the emotional junk you’ve been hoarding. 

I’ve never been good at getting rid of my emotional junk. I’ve never been good at letting go. But for the first time in a long time, I’m sick of holding on to things and people that don’t matter anymore. 

So this weekend, I mustered up the courage and motivation to begin spring cleaning. I’ve put together the ultimate list of what spring cleaning you should do if you’re someone like me who, quite frankly, hates to clean. 

  1. Make Your Bed

First things first: get out of bed. How else are you going to make it? My dad likes to tell me that making my bed in the morning is the first step to having a good day. In a way, I guess he’s right. Why shouldn’t I take time to make my room, my safest space, look put together and nice? Even if I don’t feel put together and nice, it does make me feel like I’ve accomplished at least one thing that day. 

  1. Clean Your Kitchen

When you’ve invested a lot of time into relationships, and they end up not working out, it leaves behind a pretty big mess. Much like when you’re learning to cook new foods, the whole kitchen somehow ends up getting dirty. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal as you’re cooking, especially if you think you’re going to have someone help you clean afterwards. But when the meal comes to an end and you’re left to deal with a giant mess all by yourself, it can seem pretty daunting. It feels impossible to start, I know, but it isn’t worth dwelling in the wreckage. Clean your kitchen. Enjoy the process, and be excited for all the new meals you’ll learn to cook. Or you could order takeout. (There’s nothing wrong with avoiding another mess for right now!)

  1. Dye Your Hair 

This one I mean literally. I think a lot of people unjustly get made fun of for dyeing their hair when something in their life changes. It’s not a bad thing to do! It’s a reminder that if you don’t like something in your life, you have the complete ability to change it. So why the hell not? Try something different! Hair grows back anyway. 

  1. Get Rid of Old Clothes 

Going through my closet is always a complicated task for me. I have a lot of clothes. I don’t like getting rid of them. Even if I’ve had them in my closet for years, they don’t fit me anymore, or I just don’t like them anymore, I never want to let go of them on the off chance that I’ll randomly love them again one day like how I initially did. But I’m learning now that it’s a lot like letting go of friends. Even if you’ve known them for years, outgrown them as a person, or just don’t like them anymore, it can be hard to let go. You were close with them once, right? So couldn’t that happen again? I guess I’ve realized that it’s not always worth keeping them around. That shirt doesn’t fit anymore. There’s no need to keep it in your closet. And that’s okay.  

  1. Wash Your Car

It can get really easy to forget to take care of things, yourself and your car included. When life gets busy or relationships get complicated, self-care is often one of the first things you lose your grip on. I get it. So many things are happening all the time; so many deadlines are already starting to sneak up on you that eating consistently or doing your skincare seems like it can be put on the back-burner. Like, even though you drive all the time and you objectively know that using it every day is taking a toll on your car, going out of your way to wash it seems like it doesn’t have to be a priority. But you shouldn’t not take care of something that takes care of you. So be nice to your car. Take it to Soapy Joe’s, give it a wax. And be nice to yourself.

  1. Clean That Toilet 

S— happens. Sometimes when you’ve had too much Chipotle, it’s explosive. Or when you haven’t had enough fiber, it can be hard to get out. It’s like when you feel too much of one emotion too many times, it can get pretty ugly. Or when you’ve bottled everything up so much that you can’t even express how you feel, it’s like you’re stuck. Unfortunately, your toilet is the one who has to deal with the build up of all the different types of shit that happens. But similarly, you end up taking on the burden of all your fermented feelings. So just, let it all out. Process everything. Then, when you’ve finally finished, clean the toilet. You don’t want that shit following you around, or leaving streaks. 

  1. Vacuum Your Room

My roommate told me that when she was little, the vacuum used to scare her. Hey, I don’t blame her. It’s loud and obnoxious, and genuinely I would be terrified of that sound too if I didn’t know what it was. And while it isn’t a process I enjoy doing, seeing all the dust and dirt it picks up makes me wish I had done it sooner. You just don’t realize how much dirt from outside you’re tracking back into your room day after day. I mean, with everything that’s going on, it’s easy to forget to leave stuff that happens on the outside, outside. So what if it’s loud, annoying, and (let’s be honest) scary?

You don’t want dust collecting on the carpet you end up sprawling on after a long day. 

  1. Take Out The Trash 

Taking out the trash is the one thing I genuinely will try to consistently do. And trash can be anything: stale snacks, pictures of old friends, an unhealthy plethora of Sprite cans, things your ex left when they did, or cardboard boxes you haven’t had the chance to take down to recycling yet. It can be easy, ignoring these things and allowing them to continue to take up space (in your kitchen, in your room, on your iCloud account). So please, get rid of it all. You know you don’t need it. You know it just makes things smell worse when you keep it around. You know eventually your storage will actually run out of space, and that camera button won’t work anymore. So press delete. Take out the trash. You’ll probably have more soon enough anyway. 

  1. Take an Everything Shower

Everything showers may not be good for the environment or for your water bill, but my goodness are they good for you. Obviously, you shouldn’t be taking everything showers so often to a point where it has a large impact on the environment or your water bill. Once in a while, like once you’ve finished all your spring cleaning, is sufficient enough, and it’ll make you feel much better afterwards. Put it this way: you’ve spent a good few hours or even a day getting all your spring cleaning done, so why not give yourself the same type of treatment. Let the water get hot, use your favorite products, wash your  hair, or even use a hair mask. Regardless of what makes up your everything shower routine, allow yourself the time to relax. Wash away your worries. Step out fresh, clean, and good. (Just like spring.)

  1. Lastly, Wipe Down the Mirrors

I almost forgot! Mirrors get dirty a lot quicker than we notice, even if we use them all the time. While looking in the mirror isn’t always our favorite thing to do, it’s important to face what you see looking back at you. But when mirrors get dirty or cloudy, it can be hard to see an accurate image of what’s being reflected back at us. Thinking the worst of yourself or falling back into the cycle of self loathing is easy to do if you’re looking at yourself in a bad light, or through a dirty mirror. But if you take a step back, wipe it down, and trust that you’re doing the best you can, that mirror won’t be so dirty. You might be able to see yourself clearly for the first time. You might even be able to start liking what you see. Or at least, learning to tolerate it for now. 

Much like how I do with spring. The sneezing and itching makes it miserable, but in retrospect, there’s a lot to look forward to. Like summer! And the school year coming to an end! And Peeps marshmallows! And the flowers blossoming and the grass becoming a gorgeous shade of emerald green! And, of course, the feeling of achievement and hopefulness of what’s to come after a whole weekend of spring cleaning.

Photo Courtesy of Félix Prado on Unsplash