A City Girl’s Guide to Loving Suburbia – Chapter 9: Spring into Spring Cleaning 

Cleaning windows is a time-honored spring-cleaning chore – or just book a pro to do it. Photo: Austrian National Library on Unsplash

Back in the “good old days,” when I lived in Manhattan, as March changed to April, I would be getting ready for the Big Spring Changeover. This would entail dragging bins out from under my bed, looking for a key to the cage in my building’s basement, and renting a car to head to my storage cube in the boroughs. Ah, good times!

One of my favorite parts of being in the ‘burbs is the little shell game I play on the first warm day, as I move my pile of short-sleeved T-shirts to the front of my built-ins, and my long-sleeved ones to the back. Done and done! Well, almost …

As with most things in life, there are trade-offs. Although I can make the winter-to-summer transition quite easily in my closet, there’s now a whole house to change over. I’m the last one to tell you how to spring clean, but here are some things to consider as the forsythia start to bloom and the crocuses raise their heads.

FINE-TUNE YOUR HOME
To find a bright side to our current situation, most of us now have extra time at home to start things off right, and fine-tune our homes in a way we may not have thought to!

In the city, one of the early signs of the new season was the window cleaner dangling outside my window on a makeshift balcony.

I didn’t realize what a treat it was to have the freshness of clean windows bestowed upon me by each year by the landlord until the third or fourth year in my house. That’s when it occurred to me that no one was coming, and that these windows weren’t going to clean themselves. Good to get on the pros’ calendars early before they book up. Or, better yet, grab a bucket, an expandable squeegee and, on a sunny day, get to work. In no time, your windows will be sparkling and your whole house will look cleaner.

The next activity is for a rainy day. Between now and then, collect some supplies — extra-large garbage bags, boxes from your wine deliveries, and grocery bags. Pick a really gloomy day — the kind of day you easily could spend under a blanket on the couch.

FOUR-PILE PLAN
Start with a sock drawer, work your way up to a closet, duck under your sinks, and then, as the coup de grace, hit the pantry.

The plan is the same for each: Make four piles — donate, keep, sell, or chuck — and then organize. This will make your home more comfortable to live in, easier to keep clean, and less overwhelming when the day comes that you decide to move again. (Never say never!)

My rule of thumb is that if you’re tempted to store it in the attic, it should most likely leave. Each kid can have one plastic bin for memory boxes; otherwise, create a digital archive and accept the fact that, whatever it is, it won’t be so cute in 10 years.

Consider organizing a neighborhood tag sale— it’ll be a great way to get reunited with your neighbors or meet new ones, get first dibs on their “treasures” and unload yours.

Stay tuned for next month’s edition of A City Girl’s Guide, when I’ll cover preparing Your Great Outdoors for the Summer. Please stay healthy and stay inside. Virtual hugs to you all.

I’d love to hear about how you might be welcoming spring a little differently this year. Feel free to share the struggles that you’ve had adjusting and know that you’re not alone.

Hillary Landau is a city girl-turned-suburban mama and a social worker-turned-realtor who focuses on the transition over the transaction. As a top producer with Hillary’s Homes at Houlihan Lawrence, she has clearly embraced life in the suburbs. You can find her on Facebook at HillarysHomes or on Instagram at HillarysHomes914. 

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About the Author: Hillary Landau