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Use Labor Day Weekend to Get a Cleaner, Happier Home—Here’s How

by Rick Anderson

Labor Day weekend isn’t necessarily the time you will (or should) say to yourself “Oh, this is the perfect time for housework!” But between BBQs and general leisure, devoting some of the extra time afforded by a three-day weekend to your home can give you the gift of a cleaner, happier home just in time for the coming busy fall season.

Here’s a plan for doing a few strategic tasks a day so you can make some significant progress without sacrificing your entire weekend.

Friday afternoon:

Set yourself up for success with a quick pick-up

Getting a head start by jumping into your home care plan on day one of the Labor Day weekend will motivate you to follow through with each day’s task. On Friday, start with a general pick-up so you can “see clearly” for the rest of the weekend.

Consider using the laundry basket method for a quick and incisive way to pick up anything and everything that isn’t where it belongs. Set a timer for a reasonable but almost too-short amount of time to help you move along as quickly as possible. Then, set a second timer to give yourself time to put everything away; the last thing you need is extra piles that need to be put away weighing you down. Go room by room to keep the putting-away portion from feeling like too much of a drag.

Saturday:

Do a deep decluttering of your closet

Without losing an entire day to housework, Saturday’s task aims to make a dent in a decluttering project that will make a difference you can feel every day: Going through your clothes —yes, all of them.

To make the project bite-size, go by smaller categories: underwear and socks, dress clothes, pants, blouses, t-shirts, coats, etc. Pull out everything in one category and go through each item ruthlessly and without allowing yourself to mull too much. Have donate , toss , and keep piles. Fold every keeper and place back in drawers or on hangers.

If this sounds overwhelming, take heart. You should be able to complete the seemingly monumental task of going through all your clothes in a couple of razor-focused hours. Try to do it in the morning.

Not only will a clothing purge show you what wardrobe staples you may need to shop for, but your un-stuffed, cleaned-out closet and drawers will be a breath of fresh air every morning.

Sunday:

Pick two places in your home to deep clean

Sunday is the day to dig in on a really thorough cleaning. We’re limiting it to two tasks so as to not take over the whole day. This can mean zeroing in two rooms or two categories of things, such as a couple of the following:

Bathrooms

Kitchen

Bedrooms

Window ledges and tracks

Upholstered furniture (spot clean, remove cushions, and clean under and between them, vacuum)

Appliances (oven, toaster oven, stand mixer, washer & dryer)

Front door and porch

Screens

Baseboards throughout the house

Curtains

Anything else you can think of!

Monday:

Finish lingering tasks and add some finishing touches

Before you unwind to recharge for the week ahead, finish up any things that you were unable to finish on prior days. Load donations in your car, get to that last category of clothes, or finish any deep cleaning task you didn’t quite complete (or sneak in one more while you’re on a roll).

Finally, do something to your home that makes you happy. This could be something like mopping the floors, getting a diffuser and some scented oils, or adding a couple new plants, fresh flowers, or throw pillows to your home scene.

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