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At the time I’m writing this it’s mid-February. Winter is beginning to wind down for many of us and as the warmer weather arrives, our attention turns to spring. Very soon, we’ll start to see the annual “spring cleaning” craze return.
It will be mentioned in blogs, store promotions, and if you’re into cleaning motivation videos on YouTube, you’ll see them popping up everywhere. So, why all the fuss? What does spring cleaning mean and why should I care?
What Is Spring Cleaning?
The term “spring cleaning” is used in all industries. It’s used to reference everything from home cleaning to finances. In general, we use the concept to refer to maintenance and upkeep in different areas of our lives.
Particularly, those that only need to be addressed once each year.
For your files, this may include a paper purge of old statements, junk mail, flyers, and other documents that are piled up.
For your finances, a popular spring cleaning topic is to address your subscription services.
The aim is to reduce waste and stop paying for unnecessary things. Do you have Hulu but never watch it? Is your Blue Apron subscription bleeding you dry even though it claims to save you money? Things like that.
Most often, however, it refers to the deep cleaning and decluttering of your home. And, that’s what we’ll talk about in this post.
What’s Involved In Spring Cleaning?
The type of deep cleaning that is involved in spring cleaning can be overwhelming. If you google “spring cleaning checklist” and peruse some of the image results, you might pass out at the sight of them. Frankly, I don’t know how some people are able to complete these lists each year.
Of course, your list will vary depending upon your home-type and family structure.
If you live in an apartment you’ll have a smaller spring cleaning to-do list than if you’re in a detached single-family home. If you’re in a condo, you’ll likely fall somewhere in the middle.
That being said, there are some commonalities that all lists share. These include things like cleaning windows, weeding flower beds, changing up your bedding, flipping mattresses, and cleaning out closets.
When To Start
The best time to start spring cleaning is late February or early March. Also, before I continue, I want to throw in an important note.
DO NOT attempt to complete all of your spring cleaning in one day. Even one weekend is pushing it.
Even a short, simplified list like the one I’ll share in a minute takes a lot of time and energy if you’re rolling solo.
My recommendation is to pace yourself and spread it out over a week or two. If you prefer to just get things done and you have a distraction-free environment then you could pull it off in a small space.
If you have a larger home with kids and a dog and you need to cook meals, read stories, do the laundry, and clean up everyday messes; a one-day cleaning is super unrealistic.
My best advice is to keep that saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” in the back of your mind. Just do a bit each day and if it takes you a week or two, that’s fine.
Why Do It? – Pros and Cons
The result of spring cleaning is a fresh space and a clear mind. We all know that our living environment can impact our lives in a big way.
Deep cleaning your home will help sanitize it after cold and flu season (see: Healthy Home Tips for Cold and Flu Season). It will also help you remove dust and allergens from your home.
Decluttering and organizing not only makes space for the things you have, but it also makes them easier to access. This means you’re likely to get more use out of the things you already own.
Spring cleaning is also, very much so, about maintenance. Maintaining the appearance and the function of your home is important for many reasons.
Most of all, it will save you money in the long run. Doing things like, cleaning your tile grout and spot cleaning your furniture will prevent you from having to pay professionals to restore it later down the road.
The only real downside to deep cleaning is the time it takes.
Because it is intended to be a thorough process it will take longer to complete than your average tidying up. That being said, it’s well worth the time and effort in my opinion.
Easy Spring Cleaning Checklist
A moment ago, I said that I believe the process of spring cleaning is worth the time and effort. I whole-heartedly believe this. However, you can definitely go overboard.
Frankly, I think most people do. Or, they attempt to complete a huge chore list by themselves and get worn out and quit. I’ve done this many times.
So, over the years I’ve learned to pair down the list into a more reasonable undertaking.
I focus only on the high impact tasks. These are the things that will instantly make my home look and feel better.
Below I’ll break down my easy 10 item spring cleaning checklist.
#1 – Windows
Clean your window glass inside and out. The outside is super important because this is the dirtiest part of the window.
If you’ve never washed your windows, you’re in for the surprise of a lifetime. The difference it makes is incredible. You’ll be shocked by how much more light is let into your home and how sparkly and clear the views become from inside.
You don’t need any fancy tools to do this. Skip the pressure washer or professional service (unless you’re tackling the upper floor). Simply get a mop and bucket of soapy water.
You should be able to reach all of your lower windows with a standard mop handle. I focus my attention on the mobile window portion. That is the part that opens and closes with the screen.
Now, I do have double-height windows in my living room, but I don’t bother with trying to clean the top of them. Sure it would let even more light in but my main focus is the parts that I would look through standing inside, and that’s the mobile window.
#2 – Faucets & Fixtures
Polish and clean your faucets and shower valves. I find vinegar and baking soda scrub really good for this. I use Mrs. Meyers Baking Soda Cream Cleanser, but you could also use good old fashioned Comet powder or mix your own.
Don’t forget to take a small scrub brush or cleaning toothbrush to get around the base of your fixtures where they meet the countertop. The grout there gets really grimy looking over time.
Another part of my faucets and fixtures routine is light switches and power outlets. I go around with a dry toothbrush to clean the crevices of switch plates and outlet jacks. You’d be surprised how much dust settles in them.
Then I carefully take a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe and wipe them down to sanitize.
#3 – Baseboards & Doors
Generally, throughout the year I will use my mop or the small brush attachment on my vacuum to tackle dust collecting on baseboards. But, this does not clean them as thoroughly as a pass with a soapy sponge.
So, as a part of my spring cleaning, I recommend wiping down your baseboards by hand. Get a sponge and some warm soapy water and wipe them down starting in one corner of the room and work your way around.
I also wipe down my doors and door frames as well. This is by far, the most time-consuming task. It will likely be the only thing I do on one day of cleaning.
#4 – Kitchen Sink
To polish my sink and really lift up any hard water stains I scrub it thoroughly with Comet. Using a cleaning toothbrush I get around the drain and garbage disposal opening. I follow up with a good rinse.
This step is important because if you don’t rinse off this particular cleaner completely, you’ll see the residue left behind when it dries. Once it’s rinsed, I dry it with a microfiber cloth then follow up with Pledge or Endust. Buffing this into your stainless steel with make it sparkle beautifully.
#5 – Vacuum Mattresses & Furniture Cushions
To clean and deodorize my mattress I add a few drops of my favorite essential oil to a cup of baking soda. I then use a sifter to distribute the baking soda over the entire mattress. After an hour or two I come back and vacuum the mattress slowly with the upholstery brush attachment on my vacuum.
If you think your mattress isn’t dirty, try this method and you’ll be shocked to find how much end up inside the dust bin. Use the same method for your chair and sofa cushions. Also, don’t forget to pull the cushions completely out and vacuum the base of your sofa. Take this time to clean underneath the sofas and beds in your home as well.
#6 – Dusting – Blinds, Window Sills, Fan Blades, Air Intake Vents
There are a lot of different types of dusters to tackle blinds, but I find the fastest method is to first open tilt them all the way up and use a microfiber duster in an upward motion to knock the dust off of the sides facing the glass.
Then I tilt them all the way down again and us a downward motion to sweep the dust off of the front. If your blinds are heavily soiled you might need to take a damp cloth to clean them row by row. After that, just maintain using the method mentioned above.
Once you’ve completed dusting the blinds, go back and wipe down the window sills and ledges. This includes the bottom of the window frames that are exposed when you open your windows. Throughout the year mud accumulates because dirt and rain pass through the screen and settle between the screen and the glass.
#7 – Flower Beds
Whether you have a regular lawn care service provider or you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, cleaning our your flower beds is something you should do in the spring. One reason you should do this is that lawn care service tends to be suspended during the winter months.
This means leaves and weeds have likely gone unchecked for a couple of months. To tidy up the curb appeal of your home, clean these areas, then maintain them with regular lawn care throughout the rest of the year. Another reason to weed by hand is that it will keep your beds cleaner longer.
In my experience, lawn services merely cut down weeds from beds and mow over them in the grass. This does not address the roots, so they’ll just keep growing back week after week.
If you pull them from the root instead, it will be more effective at preventing regrowth.
Doing this during spring cleaning is perfect because the weeds will have grown out to a point where you can actually grab them and rip out the roots. If you have lawn service every week or two, the growth will likely be too minimal to grab a hold and fully remove them from the soil beneath.
#8 – Closets & Under the Sink
Spring cleaning your clothing closets is all about purging unused clothing and accessories. If you haven’t worn something in over a year and it isn’t a special occasion dress or suit, donate it. This goes for shoes, handbags, hats, scarves, and other accessories.
For more on how to declutter check out the post “A Clean Sweep: How to Declutter Your Home Quickly“. Do the same for linen closets and under-sink areas holding cleaning supplies, hair care products, styling tools, and other goodies.
#9 – Pantry
The best way to tackle a pantry is to take everything out. When it comes to spring cleaning my pantry I look for expired canned goods, dry goods, and expired spices. I wipe down all of the shelves from top to bottom, then sweep and wash the pantry floor.
This is also a good time to have an honest talk with yourself about whether or not you’re ever really going to use some of those canned goods you found way in the back. Specialty things that you purchased for a recipe you wanted to try out and haven’t looked at since can go. Donate unopened food to a shelter, church, or food bank.
#10 – Floors
Last but not least, tackle the floors. Much like the baseboards, this is a good time to really deep clean your floors. There’s only one time each year that I will scrub a floor on my hands and knees and it’s during spring cleaning.
If you have wood floors and routinely use a Swiffer or Bona on them, take the time to actually polish them. If you have grouted tile, this is the time to give that area a detailed clean.
You can do these in any order, but I do recommend doing the floors last.
If you have a spring cleaning routine, what’s the one thing you never miss each year? I’m really curious to hear from others on this topic. Please let me know in the comments below.
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