Choose Your Own Spring Cleaning Adventure
Rather than trying to do everything and getting nowhere, try choosing a single cleaning approach that will work for you right now.
When you have a busy life, getting through a long list of tasks can be unrealistic. This may sound counterintuitive, but the key to successful spring cleaning is to not try to do it all. Instead, choose one of the following cleaning themes and focus your energy.
1. Tackle Dust & Clutter
This is a plan that can yield high satisfaction because when finished, your home will be noticeably cleaner and more open. To begin, focus on clearing out clutter so that you have less in your way when dusting. Do not consider the decluttering finished until the items you no longer want are actually removed from your home; otherwise, they may work themselves back into your life. If you expect to have a large amount of things piled up to donate, see if a local charity is accepting items and willing to do a pickup. As a bonus, having a pickup scheduled can be a good motivator to get the work done. Other options include trying to sell the items, giving them away to individuals, or putting them into storage for the time being.
To ensure your clutter-clearing mission is a success, it’s a good idea to get the other members of your household to participate. See if you can get each person to be responsible for decluttering their own belongings. If not, at the very least try to get some support for your efforts and encourage others to lend a hand as they are able. In each space you tackle, whether it be a room, closet or cupboard, follow these three steps:
- Empty it out.
- Wipe down or vacuum the empty space.
- Put back only those items you want to keep.
2. Kitchen Cleanup
For those that love to cook or are interested in cooking more often, making the effort to give the kitchen and pantry an in-depth cleaning can be well worth it. Start by purging old food and spices, and washing out the interior of your food cupboards and refrigerator. Then clean any forgotten spots, like the dish drainer, or the inside of the oven, toaster oven, and microwave. To finish, wipe down the windows and walls — which can get dirtier than you realize.
If you happen to have more time, consider giving your dining area or breakfast nook a quick cleaning. Wipe down chairs and table legs (especially if you have kids), and remove dust from the corners of the room. Finish by putting something pretty in the middle of the table.
3. Refresh Textiles
If you haven’t cleaned your rugs or upholstery in a while, this plan might be the right one for you. Begin by laundering any small washable items, like slipcovers, cotton rugs and shower curtains. Tip: Try putting freshly laundered slipcovers back on while they’re still a tiny bit damp for a better fit.
For larger area rugs and removable pillow covers, take them to be professionally cleaned. Wall-to-wall carpeting can also be professionally cleaned, or you can do it yourself by renting a carpet cleaner. Drapery and upholstery that isn’t cleanable by any other method can usually be steam-cleaned safely by using a real steam cleaner designed to be safe for textiles — not a steam cleaner for hard-flooring or a carpet shampooer. Be sure to always check for care directions and test a spot before steaming the entire piece.
4. Clean and Green
Could your home use a healthy, eco-friendly makeover? Consider incorporating one or more of these changes when spring cleaning:
- Use natural cleansers for cleaning projects like mopping, wiping down furniture and scrubbing countertops. Baking soda and white vinegar is an excellent eco-friendly option.
- Replace paper towels with cleaning rags made from cut-up old T-shirts.
- Switch out any disposables with reusable items, such as stainless steel straws, glass water bottles, cloth napkins and cloth shopping bags.
To clean the air in your home, an air purifier is a great idea. But don’t forget that there are simpler methods available as well, like keeping healthy houseplants and opening windows for fresh air.
5. Deeper Cleaning
Let’s face it — there never seems to be a good time to get to those deeper cleaning projects that need to be done. We put them off because they oftentimes are difficult, time consuming, or downright gross. Why not just dedicate a day to get them all done and out of the way? (And don’t forget to plan a nice reward for yourself when you’re done!)
Here is a list of deep-cleaning tasks to consider:
- Wash the blinds.
- Dust all light fixtures.
- Wash out the garbage cans and recycling bins.
- Scrub the grout (kitchen and bathroom).
- Vacuum inside the dryer lint trap and clean out the hose.
- Clean behind the refrigerator and vacuum the coils.
- Vacuum or sweep all of the hard-to-reach spots you typically skip over, like behind furniture and under the beds.
6. Exterior Scrub
If staying inside cleaning when the weather outside is starting to get nice sounds like a bad idea to you, consider making your spring cleaning plan all about the exterior of your home. Stain the deck, wash the windows, pressure wash the siding, clean out the gutters and downspouts. If you want to keep going, head to the garden and clean your tools, mulch the flowerbeds, and edge the lawn.