The Daily Buzz’s “Home and Lifestyle” expert, Laura Dellutri, is the author of four books (Speed Cleaning 101, White Couch, With Kids?!, The Overworked Mom’s Stress Free Homekeeping, and Quick Clean Your Home!), has appeared on a multitude of radio and television shows (i.e., The View and The Montel Williams Show), and has been featured on a variety of magazines (i.e., Real Simple and Redbook). The savvy mother and organization guru provided an insider’s view of her expertise on efficient and effective cleaning methods for this spring season.
Zaday Sanchez: Since initiation is typically the most difficult aspect of any laborious project, what would you recommend to ease the transition into spring cleaning?
Laura Dellutri: TIP#1 START WITH A LIST! Spring chores are best started by writing them down just like Christmas or grocery shopping. Having a list will help you get into the spring cleaning mindset, putting a to-do list together helps make it a reality. To make Spring Cleaning not such a daunting task, put two columns on your list: "DIY" and "CONRACT OUT."
There are some jobs most people don't have time to do, like getting the carpets or windows cleaned and deep cleaning outside (specifically with your gutters, sidewalks and driveways). Make the choice this year to take the stress out of spring cleaning and call in the professionals to do the heavy lifting. Take advantage of a great Valpak offer in your local area to save money, time and some of your sanity this spring. In order to save time and money with spring cleaning, I start with www.valpak.com and put my zip code in to get all the deals when it comes to the heavy duty "Spring Cleaning Chores" that I can’t do. Valpak also has a great mobile app for deals on the go. Scoring a great money saving coupon on Valpak not only gives me bragging rights but takes away the occasional guilt of using outside help. Then I can start on the tasks on my "To Do" list that I have delegated to myself or others.
ZS: What are some important tasks that people should not forget to complete this spring cleaning season?
LD: TIP#2 GET THE DIRT OUT! 85 percent of the dirt that comes into the home enters on the bottom of our shoes. Add in pets, messy kids and you have a dirt traffic pattern on various locations on the carpet in your home. I suggest getting a pro to come in if you have high traffic dirt patterns, they know how to spot clean and get the carpets looking like new in no time. It's also important to spray carpet protector on your carpets at least once a year. How do you know if your carpets need carpet protector? Pour a few drops of water on your carpet. If it beads up and does not soak into the carpet pad you have protection. If it soaks right into the carpet it's time to apply. You don’t have a Carpet Cleaner to apply? It's a DIY job if you purchase a gallon of Carpet Protector, place in a sprayer and apply to each room. It is something you want to do as soon as the carpets have been cleaned.
ZS: What are your recommendations for involving the entire family in spring cleaning?
LD: TIP#3 MAKE SPRING CLEANING A FAMILY RITUAL. First, it's best to just make Spring Cleaning an annual ritual with everyone in the family involved. When the family knows it is a ritual they all partake in, it stops a lot of moans and groans. Second, give the family a ‘date night out’ after all the work is done. Most families have a work hard, play hard mantra and it comes in handy when everyone lends a helping hand. The ‘date night out’, gives everyone something to look forward to, a big reward for a job well done! It's easy to plan a ‘family date night’ even if you are on a budget. Valpak.com has great ‘family date night’ ideas with money saving coupons! From bowling to pizza, to putt putt golf, there are plenty of options to reward the family with a well-earned night out.
ZS: What are your recommendations for tackling a highly cluttered area?
LD: TIP#4 CLEAR THE CLUTTER AND FIND A HOME FOR IT
Clutter is typically homeless, displaced items that get shoved in a drawer or on a shelf. If your items have a home they can live in (ie.,shelving, drawers, cabinets, closets) they tend to stay organized and clutter free. Where do you start in your cluttered area? Empty the cluttered area. Everything. YES, everything. If it's a shelf, take everything off. If it is a closet, remove everything. If there is anything you have not used and admired in the last year it is time to give to a friend, donate it or throw it away. In order to give all of your "stuff" a home where it belongs, you may need to add shelving, throw out unwanted space thieves, and get tubs, drawers, or storage cabinets to accommodate your goods. The best way to reduce clutter is, "don't put it down, and instead put it away in its own home."
ZS: How would you advise our readers to maintain their homes tidy after spring cleaning?
LD: Once the home is Spring Cleaned, it's up to you to stay on top of the dirt, grime and organized areas. Give yourself and your family a rule, " Don't put it down, put it away, and if it doesn't have a home, we make one." If you spruce up and clean your home twice a month and attack the problem areas on a rotating basis, the Spring Cleaning jobs will stay intact.