Let’s be honest, deep cleaning your home is a lot like exercising. You know you’ll be thrilled you did it when it’s over, but right now, the entire concept just sounds overwhelming, exhausting, and frankly, a bit intimidating.

But, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be laborious—we promise. A little planning before starting to clean will eliminate many headaches down the road.

With the help of some of our favorite cleaning experts, we’ve narrowed down the best things to do before you start your spring cleaning. With these steps ticked off the list, you’ll be in the best shape to begin your spring tidying.

Don’t Start Until You Declutter

There’s one thing you must do before you can clean: rid yourself of excess.

Before deep cleaning a home, you should first declutter each room. There’s no sense in cleaning around items you no longer need or want. This is a good opportunity to free up some space—and it will make cleaning these rooms easier.

Before deep cleaning, reorganize and prep for a big clean. A plan of action begins by going through old clothing, housewares, and toys and after determining what stays and what goes, run to your local donation center to donate items you are no longer using.

But even if you’re not tossing or donating unwanted items, this is still a critical step, as decluttering can also just be putting things away and clearing surfaces.

Do Your Laundry

Along with decluttering, do laundry before tackling a deep clean. Washing hand towels, curtains, furniture covers, and any other household items is a great first step to getting things tidy.

Make a Gameplan

As you declutter, it’s a good idea to assess your space and start brainstorming your approach and write it down.

Come up with a plan for deep cleaning before you begin. If you like to knock it all out at once, a checklist might be better suited. That way, you can move around your home and check off items as you go.

On the other hand, if a one-and-done approach isn’t your style, you can ditch the to-do list––in this case, a schedule might be better.

If you prefer to deep clean room-by-room or do a little each day until it’s finished, then make a calendar or schedule with what you will tackle each day. No matter which method you go with, a checklist or schedule ensures that nothing is missed.

If you’re still not sure where to start, prioritize your high-traffic areas.

Start in your most used and lived-in spaces, such as the kitchen or bathrooms. These are where messes are most noticeable because you are in them frequently. Tackle these first, while your motivation is high, and then things will get easier as you go.