Nothing says spring like a long, deep, and thorough cleaning of your house or apartment. Spring cleaning is all about getting ready for a season full of out-door activities without worrying about that overflowing closet or that weird smell in the corner of the bathroom.
There are many theories on the origin of spring cleaning, but regardless of where it came from (and sometimes even regardless of when you do it), it’s a great time not just to clean, but also to purge some things that have been holding you down with clutter and wasted space.
Before you can begin spring cleaning, you have to come up with a plan of action. Nothing is more frustrating then starting your cleaning and then running out of gas half way through-sometimes even leaving a bigger mess than when you started!
Many people spring clean on a room by room basis. This can be an especially helpful plan if you’ve got helpers. Each spouse and child can be assigned his or her own room to be in charge of. Even if it’s just you, room by room sets an easy organizational plan of where to go.
One thing that is incredibly important with spring cleaning is giving yourself the time to do it. For most of us, cleaning the entire house top to bottom is not a one day activity. Give yourself plenty of time whether that’s one room a day or a few rooms a week don’t overload yourself or you’ll end up with very little done.
The order you go in generally depends on the time you have. Have the whole afternoon to devote to cleaning? The kitchen, bedroom (including closets), or a larger bathroom might be the way to go. Just an hour before bed? Maybe try the dining room, living room, or other less-trafficked areas in your home. Once you’ve come up with a plan, it’s time to clean! But what does spring cleaning entail? Here’s a room by room checklist, followed by links to other checklists. Pick one that best suits your needs, your home, and your cleaning style. Then get ready for your abode to be spic-and-span!
*Wash all bedding.
*Clean UNDER the bed.
*Flip the mattress. Some newer mattresses boast technology where flipping is no longer necessary to distribute weight evenly. Homewizard.com suggests flipping your mattress every 6 months, and rotating it every 6 as well (on a different schedule). If your mattress can’t be flipped (it is not double-sided), settle for a mattress rotation to get rid of some of those spots we’ve slept our way into.
*Go through all closets, drawers, and bookcases and make sure everything is in order.
*Vacuum and dust every crevice. (Don’t forget ceiling fans, lamps, or pictures).
*Dust/Wash blinds/curtains & wash windows.
*Go through closets & drawers and purge any items that you no longer wear/use.
The basic rule of thumb for any bedroom is to leave no stone (drawer or corner) unturned!
-Throw pillows in the dryer for a few minutes with a dryer sheet to get them feeling clean and smell fresh.
-Wait to vacuum until you’ve done everything, including dusting.
-Donate clothes you no longer wear to a nonprofit organization like Goodwill.
Special Considerations: Kids
*Toys: Especially if you have young children it’s a good idea to wash plastic toys with soap and water and fabric toys in the washing machine periodically. Spring cleaning is an excellent time to get this chore done and then make sure each toy has a specific receptacle to go to when it is clean.
*Clothes: If you have or know of younger children, you may consider keeping any clothes that your child has grown out of and “hand them down.” This can help you or a friend/family member save some money and time when it comes to clothing their youngster.
* Go through any closets, drawers or cabinets and follow the rule that if you haven’t used it, you get rid of it.
*Clean all sink, toilet, and shower surfaces.
*Clean the trashcan with disinfectant.
*Wash all towels/bathmats/shower curtains.
*Dust any decorations.
*Sweep & mop
-Use a multi-purpose bathroom cleaner like Scrubbing Bubbles All-Purpose Cleaner that can effectively be used on any bathroom surface except the mirror.
-Don’t forget the mirror, Windex works fine.
-You can also use Windex to shine up the fixtures in your bathroom.
-Before you wash the bathmat make sure they are machine washable AND make sure to let them air dry.
-Always save the sweep and mop for last.
TV Room/ Living Room/ Family Room:
*Make sure everything has a place. If it doesn’t, find a spot or get rid of it.
*Vacuum out couches, chairs, etc…
*Dust and polish all wood surfaces.
*Dust pictures/TVs/ceiling fan/light fixtures/knick knacks
*Wash any blankets, or throws.
*Vacuum Carpet/Mop Hard surfaces
Living Room Tips:
*The biggest thing is to make sure everything has a place and not to leave your living room too cluttered.
*If you like to seasonally decorate or change things up every now and again, spring cleaning is a great time to make those changes. Box up the old and put it in storage (or if it’s a permanent change, get rid of it).
*ZORB Powder is a cleaning powder for carpets that works with all Dyson carpets and is available on both Target.com and Walmart.com. If you have a handheld carpet appliances like the Shark (also available at Target.com), spring cleaning is a great time to get those carpets freshly cleaned-especially if you have pets or someone with allergies in your home.
*Dust pictures, light fixtures, etc.
*Dust and polish curio cabinets and the contents. Make sure any cabinet is organized and only holds what it is supposed to.
*Wash any linens.
*Dust/Wash curtains or blinds
*Wash and polish table (follow care instructions for different types).
*Sweep/Mop or Vacuum
Dining Room Tips:
*For many, the dining room isn’t overly trafficked and is only used on special occasions so the cleaning involved isn’t as lengthy. Save this for a day when you don’t have as much time to devote to cleaning.
*Since the dining room is often underused, dust is its biggest enemy. Use a product like Lemon Pledge Aerosol Furniture Polish that repels dust. Available at most stores like Wal-Mart.
*Clean the fridge/freezer (inside and out)
*Clean out pantry
*Clean oven and stovetop
*Organize dishes, pots/pans, Tupperware, etc…
*Clean light fixtures
*Dust tops of cabinets
*Clean cabinets (inside and out)
*Wash/Beat out rugs
*Wash off any wall stains
-If you have canned food that’s been around since LAST year’s spring cleaning, you may consider donating it to a charity.
-When cleaning the refrigerator, it’s often a good time to switch out your Baking Soda of you use that to absorb odors.
-If you’re like me, you’ve got a cabinet full of random plastic containers with no organization whatsoever. Now is the time to get rid of containers that are missing lids and to find a reasonable way of organization. Such as this Target three piece set: http://www.target.com/Kitchen-Storage-3-pc-Set/dp/B0009H2JYY/qid=1200689110/ref=br_1_14/601-5550947-0124906?ie=UTF8&node=1192090&frombrowse=1&pricerange=&index=tgt-mf-mv&field-browse=1192090&rank=pmrank&rh=&page=3
-Kitchens often obtain wall stains and discoloring. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers or Target brand wall cleaners are great products that can get rid of most stains without leaving residue.
*Get rid of unneeded items
*Have a place for everything
-Don’t forget the corners and floors.
-Those Magic Erasers can also be used for scuffmarks in the closets and so on.
-Clean up any detergent spills
-Go through any items, cabinets, closets or other organizers
-Clean the dryer lint
-Sweep/Mop (depending on your flooring).
Laundry Room Tips:
-This room is often overlooked since many people have their machines in the basement. Still it’s one of those areas that collect clutter all the while being neglected. If clutter has been collected, make sure to go through it and get rid of what is not used or has no place.
-Clean off any outside furniture.
-Put out any cushions or other “spring” materials brought in over the winter.
Based on your house, needs, and area some other possibilities are power washing, cleaning out gutters, weeding or raking. Depending on the weather, tidy up what you can so that the house is just as bright and clean as the inside.
*Clean out clutter & utilize or develop an organizational system.
*Clean out trashcans/recycling bins
*Don’t forget cleaning your car!
-Everybody’s garage is completely different. Everyone stores different things, so you have to figure out what you need to do with yours.
-Take this time to also clean out what goes in your garage-your car!
Overall, the end result should be a breath of relief. A nice fresh start to months outdoors, friends over, and a clean, clutter-free life… until that cold weather sneaks back up on us!
Cleaning is actually a very personal process and for those of us who dread cleaning, it’s all about finding a process that works best for you. Play around with different products or different approaches-just make sure in the end you have a clean, clutter-free home on your hands, inside and out.
Other Spring Cleaning Checklists:
http://housekeeping.about.com/cs/cleaning101/a/springclnngguid.htm– this checklist also offers some tips on how to keep up with spring cleaning once you have that sparkling home.
http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/package/0,21861,1020723-1020725,00.html– Real Simple’s “Streamlined” spring cleaning is a more time-saving, surface approach to the old adage.
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/easy-spring-cleaning-may05– This Good Housekeeping List is more general than your typical checklist, but it’s good if you have a very unique home that doesn’t fit the usual definitions of cleaning.