With fresh spring air right around the corner, it’s time to start planning for the day when you can throw open the windows, air out your home, and get to spring cleaning! While emerging from winter ready to clean and tidy up isn’t for everyone, having a fresh home is a great way to mentally and physically reset for the year ahead.

This season, don’t let the idea of spring cleaning intimidate or overwhelm you; with the right tools, realistic goals, and some family fun, your spring cleaning routine will be anything but tedious. Here are the best tips for tackling the mess without all of the headaches!

Reduce, Reduce, Reduce

The best thing you can do to make your spring cleaning easier? Declutter and reduce your stuff. Organizing the closet is going to be a lot harder if it’s overflowing with clothes. Think of this decluttering as the first (and most important) step to spring cleaning. Give yourself 7-10 days to complete this part, knowing that you’ll feel very accomplished after it’s done.

There are two straightforward approaches that will make this process go smoothly: declutter room by room or category by category. If you like the Marie Kondo approach (even if it’s Kondo-lite!), then make a calendar task for yourself to go through a problematic category each day for the next 10 (books, clothes, linens, toys, kitchen gadgets, DVD’s, etc.). If you like the idea of only having one room in disarray at a time, however, then declutter room by room. In either case, have two bags: one for donations and one for trash/recycle. Make it a challenge to see how many you can fill by week’s end, and remember that this isn’t all-or-nothing – some decluttering is better than none!

Use Double-Duty Cleaners

With so many specialty cleaning products on the market, it can be overwhelming to amass a full cleaning caddy in time for your annual scrub. Fortunately, many cleaning products can work double or triple duty, not only making your spring cleaning more cost-effective but cutting down the complication factor by quite a bit. A spray-bottle solution of blue Dawn and vinegar is a great all-purpose kitchen and bathroom cleaner – it also works wonders on baseboards and blinds! A paste made from powdered Tide detergent is a multipurpose cleaning powerhouse; try it on hard water stains, rust, grease, and carpet stains! By using simple but effective tools, you can streamline your spring cleaning and accomplish more each day!

Overnight: You Sleep, Things Soak

Cleaning while you’re sleeping? Sounds suspiciously easy, but it really does exist! Many items around your house need a good soak and scrub during spring cleaning, so use the overnight time wisely for a big impact. One night, fill your bathtub with water and detergent (dishwasher tabs work well!) and let your oven racks, stove hood filter, stove grates, etc. all soak (tip: put an old towel in the tub first if you’re worried about scratches) before a morning scrub. Another night, soak all of your linens and towels in a borax solution to strip them before a hot wash the next day.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Deep-cleaning your entire house can feel overwhelming (to say the least), but it’s important to remember that a little bit of progress each day can have a BIG impact. The easiest place to see this in action? Your kitchen. Here’s a sample seven-day cleaning plan that only takes 30 minutes each day – by the end of the week, you’ll have a sparkling space!

Day One: Declutter drawers

Day Two: Declutter cabinets and counters

Day Three: Deep-clean stovetop and microwave – soak oven racks and spray oven cleaner overnight

Day Four: Scrub soaked items – repeat or spot-treat as needed

Day Five: Clean and organize the refrigerator

Day Six: Wash windows and any glass cabinetry – organize pantry

Day Seven: Scrub countertops, sink, and wipe down miscellaneous appliances

By staying focused in small increments, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed before the task is done. Try this approach in bedrooms and the garage, too!

Get the Kids (or a Partner!) Involved

Everything is more fun when you have some company. Enlist the help of your partner or kids, and put on some music to ramp up the excitement. A great way to get kids involved is through some friendly competition – while you clean the bathroom mirrors, ask them to wipe the baseboards with a damp cloth; whoever finishes first chooses the next song. Working cooperatively has the biggest impact when everyone is in the same room/area – you’ll get to enjoy each other’s company as you chat, and that one room will look stunning after everyone’s done!

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be overwhelming. When you follow these tips, your cleaning spree will be complete before you know it!