Storage Spaces: Kickstart Your Cleaning

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Welcome to your storage and other spaces cleaning video. Feel free to play this and listen to my voice while you clean, listen and pause as you work through your tasks, or watch this video through and then clean. Whatever suits you best!

When I say storage spaces, I am referring to laundry rooms, cold cellars, mud rooms, walk-in pantries, basements, garages or sheds – general utility spaces that we don’t really spend leisure time in, but we still need to clean every now and then. I don’t think these need tons of regular attention, but every so often they’ll require bigger cleanings to keep dust, dirt and other scary things at bay. Plus, major appliances will require maintenance, items will need to be sorted through and categorized, anything expired or old being removed and clutter or items in deep storage will need to be dusted off and checked occasionally, too. These might not be the most exciting places to clean, but a little effort goes a long way – these cleanings tend to stretch out over long periods of time and are certainly worth the efforts!

I find the MIAs in these spaces for me are the ceiling corners, work surfaces, floors and appliances. In the laundry room, detergent and dust can get everywhere, as can stray laundry, so cleaning this on the regular is very important to me, or else that crusty build up appears and looks less than appealing. I also notice that, over time, cobwebs form in the corners and that makes the space feel creepy and unwelcoming, so I try to stay on top of those, too. Storage spaces, whether finished or unfinished can get cluttered up over time if they aren’t pruned, so I do like to pay special attention to these areas every now and then. While I find these spaces not the most enjoyable to clean due to the ick factor, the benefits are vast so I get over myself and do it and resolve to feel good about the work. The results definitely pay off and I end up feeling very proud of myself for investing the time in doing the work.

Now there are several spaces like this in the average home, so pick one to start. You don’t have to do all of them today, unless you want to. Head over to the space you want to start with now, in this video I’m doing my laundry room. Have a look around and think about your MIAs or most important areas in here. What makes you annoyed, stressed out, frustrated or irritated in terms of the mess? The MIA quiz on page 7 will help you focus in on what is most important to you, or your MIAs. While storage spaces in particular might feel a little overwhelming, I discuss how to chunk these spaces down so they feel less scary on page 211. OK, now that you’ve done it, consider your plan of action for this first space: What are you going to focus on? What are the products, tools, and techniques you need to use in this space? Think about those specialty jobs. What are you going to schedule for another time, perhaps for an annual cleaning task – or maybe, ask another family member to help you out with? Planning ahead like this is a total timesaver, and it’s the best way to approach a cleaning. You’ll work faster and more effectively.

Take a moment now to set your intention for the cleaning by visualizing your clean space. Just spend a moment and envision what you want this space to look like – we’re just picking one of these rooms at a time, so don’t worry about all of the storage spaces in your home. As you do this you are helping yourself achieve these results. Go stand in your chosen space and close your eyes just for a moment. Imagine what your space would look like ideally, if it were cleaned to your liking. Imagine the room – in your mind’s eye – very clearly – exactly how you want it to look. Having a clear picture of what your space looks like – only as clean as you want it to be – is half the work. How do you want your appliances, shelves, floors, baseboards and ceiling corners to look? Look up, around the ceiling and corners, vent, light fixture, down the stairs, all the way down to the floors and baseboards. Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Great. You’ve set your goal, and that’s what you’re going to work toward.

Now we’ll move onto the second step of the Maker Method, PTTs, or products, tools and techniques. Not only is there high dusting to take care of, there are appliances to clean, dusty corners to take care of, stored items to look through and built up clutter. Do you need to get any special tools for cleaning? I discuss how to deal with a moldy windowsill on page 212. How about dusting walls? Yeah, that’s a thing. That’s on page 213. If you are planning to clean your appliances or iron, I’ve got information on that as well on pages 222 to 225. I strongly suggest reviewing the chapter before you get started to get yourself primed and prepared for the cleaning. It’ll make a big difference. You can find it starting on page 207.

To get yourself in the mood, consider playing music or a podcast. Light a candle or diffuse an essential oil, or even just give one a long sniff before working. That helps too! Make sure you’re dressed comfortably, have used the washroom, have a drink prepared and have everything distracting turned off. Right before you begin, look at these passageways and just remind yourself that in about 20-30 minutes, depending on how much work you’re going to put in, this room that you are working on is going to look significantly better and feel much more functional.

Head over to your starting point, wherever that is, and begin your cleaning. Focus on wave 1, and get rid of clutter as well as tidy these spaces, move the clutter or items to a location that has not been cleaned yet. Sotr through items, organize and declutter as you go – that’s fine to do while you’re here. Perhaps you’ll end up with a big pile of trash or donations, which would be a total bonus! Are there any items that need laundering or deep cleaning, like rugs or appliances? Spend time doing this if so. When doing wave 2, think about the dusting, the cobwebs and even wall fixtures, which I go over on page 221. If you need to clean those walls, I talk about protective gear and the right tools in the book and this should be reviewed carefully before working. While this might feel unsavory, the work is totally worth it – the less clutter, the less dust, the better the space feels and functions.

As you’re working, pause for a moment, and just remind yourself how proud you are for dedicating this time to cleaning these not-so-loved spaces. This time and effort will make the space shine, and even if you’re the only one who sees it, it’ll all be worth it. It feels great to have these spaces clean!

As you wind down cleaning these spaces, remove the items you’ve used to clean, replace any items you’ve removed and put the final finishes on your space. The floors are the last to be done, and you can either vacuum, or vacuum then mop. Smile, ear-to-ear, pat yourself on the back, let out a little spirited cheer, or do a quick dance. Whatever you need to do, you deserve to congratulate yourself and ride the feel-good vibes of your efforts. Your office is ready for you to get to work in!

These storage spaces barely require regular cleaning outside of a quick wipe and floor cleaning. That said, they will require more love on a less frequent basis, so be wise and mindful when it comes to scheduling. The third step of the Maker Method is scheduling and routines, so considering the tasks that need to be done on the regular and building that in to your more frequent cleans, as well as the other tasks that need less doing, which can be peppered in throughout the year. To do this have a look at your scheduling chart on page 274 to see what you want to include in your monthly, quarterly and annual cleaning schedule for these areas. Scheduling and routines is the third step of the Maker Method – what gets scheduled gets done.

You’ve done it! You’ve finished these storage spaces, and you know what? Now, you’ve worked your way through your entire space. This is AMAZING! I am so proud of you for getting through this program – you’ve learned a lot, you’ve cleaned a lot, and I am sure you feel better inside and out. You’ve spent time building this life skill, and your investment in time will pay you back in dividends.

Please share your journey with me by using #KickstartCMS and tagging me on Instagram and Twitter using @CleanMySpace and @MelissaMaker, share your photos on Facebook, or send me an email to info {@} cleanmyspace.com . I’d love to know how this is helping you!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

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