Spring has sprung, and this means spring cleaning! It may feel overwhelming, especially if you have a nice big house, but read on for some room-by-room tips to break it all down. You will feel so much better in a cleaner, brighter home!
The kitchen is the hub and the heart of the home, so it needs to be in prime condition. Start by cleaning out your pantry. If there’s anything in there that is way past its expiration date, toss it in the trash or set it outside to feed birds and squirrels. On the other hand, if it’s still good but you realize that you will probably never use it, donate it. Times are tough, and good food should never go to waste anyhow. Either way, you’ll have an organized pantry, which will help you stay on top of inventory.
Wash down cabinet doors. Kitchens get super grimy from food grease, spatter, and steam, so it looks and feels great to wipe down all the doors and handles. Because this is the kind of grime that builds up gradually, we often don’t realize how much they need a wash until we do it!
Deep clean the stove and oven. You can use chemical oven cleaners, and those do a fantastic job, but if you’d prefer something a little less harsh and chemical, put a big pan of lemon water in the oven on low heat for a few hours (make sure it doesn’t boil dry). The steam will loosen baked-on crud and you’ll be able to wipe down the inside walls easily.
Organize and purge the refrigerator the way you did the pantry, and wash down both the inside and outside. Vacuum the coils; keeping them clean increases energy efficiency and also helps the refrigerator last longer since it doesn’t have to work as hard. Pull the fridge out and sweep and mop behind it.
Scrub down the tub and shower. If you dislike bending or kneeling to scrub (and who doesn’t?), you can use a brand-new clean toilet brush to clean the surfaces of the tub and the tiled walls. Wash the shower curtain and liner; replace the liner if necessary. Sweep and mop the floor, and wash bath mats and other rugs.
Discard expired makeup and toiletries, or ones that have been opened for more than a year. These are things that you put on your face and you want to be extra sure that they are not contaminated or otherwise unsafe. Get rid of expired medications, but don’t dump them down the toilet or sink as they could contaminate municipal water supplies. Most pharmacies have a drop box where you can get rid of them safely. Update and restock first-aid kits.
Wash all bedding, including quilts and pillows. Most pillows can go in the washing machine; if yours can’t, take off the pillowcase and set it in the bright sun for a few hours. Flip and/or rotate the mattress. Clean under the bed. If you’ve been using the under-bed area as storage, invest in some covered under-bed boxes or baskets with wheels to make this task easier every season.
Go through all the closets. If there’s anything that hasn’t been worn in a year or longer, donate it or sell it. If you don’t want to do that because the item has sentimental or monetary value, then store it. Many dry cleaners can clean and bag items for proper storage. Out-of-season clothes can be stored in garment bags to make the closet look and feel less cluttered.
Living Room, Family Room, and So on
Dust and clean all mirrors, photos, picture frames, and so on. This is a good time to reorganize and put up new photos if you want. Wash down walls if they are painted; dust and spot-clean if they are papered. Dust or vacuum furniture and spot-clean where necessary. If furniture is leather or pleather, condition it. Launder blankets, throws, and pillow covers. Pillows that can’t be washed should be set in bright sun for a few hours. Vacuum or dust lamp shades and ceiling fans. Vacuum and shampoo carpets.
In addition to the room-specific tasks, you’ll want to wipe down the baseboards in the whole house. Vacuum and shampoo or steam-clean carpets. Vacuum and wipe down all air vents, which will also make your house smell cleaner overall! If you have blinds, dust them and wipe them down; if you have curtains or drapes, wash them if they are washable, and vacuum them if they are not. Even drapes that can’t go in the washer can probably go to the dry cleaner, and that should be done every few years at least.
Wash the windows inside and out, which will let more light into the house for a brighter feel overall. Dust all light fixtures and replace any bulbs that need replacing. Dust or vacuum lamp shades. Take throw rugs outside for some sun and fresh air, since they can accumulate odors over the course of daily life. Sweep front and back porches.
Change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon dioxide monitors, and test them to make sure that they are still in good working condition. Test fire extinguishers and dust them. Organize electronic cords and cables, dust them, and make sure they are safe and not frayed. Clean and disinfect computer keyboards (use compressed air to blast out crumbs and debris) and mice, and dust monitors.