Spring is the season for renewal, and for a lot of people, that means getting their homes in tip-top shape. Whether you’re looking to do a thorough clean or simply organize your stuff, we’ve got spring cleaning tips to make your work easier.
Make a Plan
Spring cleaning seldom gets done in a day, so create a schedule for getting them done. Walk around your home with a notebook or voice recorder and note all of the tasks you want to accomplish. Once you have a list, decide how you want to tackle it. Many people focus on one room at a time, but others prefer to start with jobs that apply to all rooms. Either way, schedule each spring cleaning task and check it off your list as you complete it.
Declutter Your Home
Cluttered rooms are like nails on a chalkboard for some people. But even if you’ve learned to tolerate your messy living room, leaving it that way makes it difficult to clean. Set aside time to rid your home of clutter, and make sure you toss out or donate items you have multiples of or that you haven’t used in a year.
Organize Your Stuff
After you declutter, you still need to organize the belongings you keep. Put these items back in their appropriate location. And if things don’t have their own place, start looking at organization solutions﹘but be careful! You don’t want to buy more storage containers without a plan for where they will go and what you’ll put into them.
Download an App
Technology hasn’t fully conquered housekeeping chores, but there are several apps that make spring cleaning a breeze. Some apps. like Decluttr, Poshmark, and NextDoor, can all save you from the headache of a yard pile once you have a pile of used items to sell. Another app, Centriq, helps you organize routine household chores by scheduling maintenance reminders and storing appliance manuals.
Check for Water Intrusion
Speaking of routine maintenance, spring is a great time to find pesky water intrusion. Look around under your kitchen and bathroom sinks to see if there is any moisture accumulation, and inspect your water heater for leaks and rust. You should also walk the length of any walls with pipes inside to look for signs of moisture and mold. While your home insurance typically covers sudden, accidental water damage, you’re better off avoiding trouble in the first place.
Clear Out Drawers
We all have one﹘that dreaded junk drawer filled with anything and everything that doesn’t have a home. Most of the stuff saved in your junk drawer are things you thought you’d need or hated to throw out. Either way, spring is the time to rethink that choice. Take some time to go through your junk drawer (or drawers, as the case may be) and dump all of the useless odds and ends you find.
Clean Out Your Pantry and Refrigerator
Does the food in your fridge remind you of an eighth-grade science fair project? Are some of your products in your pantry older than your oldest child? If so, then it’s time to clean both out. First, toss expired products. Then wipe down shelves and the spouts of condiment bottles. As you go through your pantry, set aside unexpired items that you don’t think you’ll use and donate them to a food bank.
Start at the Top
When you’re ready to tackle a room, your best bet is to clean from the top to the bottom. Start the highest fixtures, like ceiling fans, crown molding, and shelves, then work your way down to tables and chairs, and end with the floor. That way, all the dust and debris falls to the ground and you only have to vacuum or sweep one time.
Wash Your Windows
Most of us clean our floors regularly, but spring’s warmer weather means it’s a good time to wash your window. The first step is to mix two gallons of warm water with a teaspoon of dish soap. Next, head outside a long handled microfiber mop or squeegee. Remove your window screens, dip your mop or squeegee in your cleaning mixture, and scrub your windows clean. Finally, spray them with a streak-free glass cleaner and wipe them with a microfiber cloth.
The steps are pretty much the same for your window interiors, except you’ll first want to remove window coverings, sweep up any dirt or dust, and wipe down your window frames. While you’re at it, you might want to toss your drapes in the laundry and dust your blinds.
Clean with Steam
Steam cleaners use water vapor at high temperatures to clean and disinfect, so they eliminate the need for harsh chemicals and cleaners. You can use steam to clean floors and counters in both the bathroom and kitchen, assuming the surfaces are sealed. Some people even use them on stainless steel appliances and the inside of refrigerators.
There are some situations, however, where steam cleaners aren’t the right tool for the job. For example, you probably shouldn’t try to steam clean:
- Unsealed surfaces, like natural stone or hardwood floors
- Porous surfaces, like bamboo.
- Surfaces finished with water-based paint.
If you opt for a steam cleaner, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions first.
Consider a High-Efficiency Particulate Air Vacuum
High-efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuums catch tiny, airborne particles that other vacuum cleaners miss, such as pet dander, dust mites and dust. This makes them a huge boon to anyone who suffers from allergies. Be sure to look for HEPA vacuum where the motor and the bag are both completely sealed with rubber gaskets to keep allergens from escaping.
Replace Your Air Filters
Did you know that the typical house needs new air filters once every three months? Add a pet, and you need to change your air filter every two months. Replacing your air filters is a simple home maintenance task that helps keep your home and the air you breathe clean, so add it to your spring cleaning to-do list. And when you look for a replacement filter, be sure to check its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). The higher the fitler’s MERV rating, the better job it does of trapping particles.
Scrub Your Bathrooms
Bathroom’s get cleaned regularly, but spring cleaning is a chance to give yours a major scrub down. Key spring cleaning tips for your bathroom include:
- Work from top to bottom, but also from one end of the room to another so you don’t have to do any cleaning twice.
- Use a mixture of warm water and dish soap to wipe down your bathroom walls, backsplash, cabinets, and countertops.
- Wash your shower curtain in your laundry machine on the gentle cycle, then let it air dry. (If it’s plastic, throw in a few towels to protect it.)
- Soak your showerhead in vinegar overnight and scrub it with a toothbrush to get rid of hard water buildup. (Brass-, nickel-, and gold-coated fixtures should only soak for 30 minutes.
- Discard old medicines, makeup, and hair products.
Clean the Microwave
Microwaves are famous for having food spatters that can be challenging to clean, but you can make this task easier by filling a bowl with:
- One cup of water.
- A chopped-up lemon.
- Three tablespoons of vinegar.
Place this in your microwave on high for three minutes. Remove the bowl﹘it’s hot, so use gloves!﹘and then wipe down the walls and turntable with a damp cloth. The grime should come right off.
Wash Your Reusable Grocery Bags
Reusable grocery bags are great for the environment, but they can get grimy over time. You can throw most canvas bags in the washing machine, but heavy-duty plastic bags need to be cleaned by hand. Use a gentle cleaning solution on both the inside and outside.