Every year I hear people talking about spring cleaning and I immediately feel . . . overwhelmed. Daunted. Guilty, even. I mean, we keep up with the basics of housekeeping. But I work full-time (or more than full-time many weeks!) and have three busy kids. When I do have free time, deep cleaning is not how I choose to spend it.
Spring 2020 year is shaping up to be a bit different. (There’s an understatement.) Many of us are finding ourselves at home a lot more. As in all. the. time. You may be learning how to work remotely; you may be helping to manage distance learning for your kids. But the rest of the time, there’s not even March Madness to distract you. Might this be the year that you tackle spring cleaning?!
Some of you are thinking, “NO! Anything but that!” And it’s okay if this isn’t your jam. But, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from accomplishing big tasks. Plus, we’re all realizing anew the importance of home. Perhaps you don’t complete all of these tasks but choose a few. As you work, bask in a sense of accomplishment and appreciate the simple joy of home.
First things first: assemble your cleaning supplies. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you have Clorox wipes stockpiled. Good—those will come in handy! In all seriousness, earth-friendly DIY cleaning supplies are the way to go. You can make DIY all-purpose cleaning with vinegar and water. This can be used on floors, and for dusting. A quick internet search will also yield DIY recipes for shower cleaner, toilet cleaner, and oven cleaner made out of common household products like baking soda—the perfect solution (no pun intended) for avoiding grocery stores and maintaining social distance. You’ll also need your vacuum, a mop, and plenty of cleaning rags.
Without further ado, here’s your spring cleaning strategy:
- Take it from the top. Use a vacuum attachment to reach up to the ceiling and into stairwells to zap cobwebs. Use a microfiber mop or cleaning cloths to clean the walls throughout your home; you’ll be amazed at the dust that accumulates there.
- Be a dust buster. Use a cleaning rag (microfiber cloths work great!) to dust ceiling fan blades, the tops of cabinets and furniture, light fixtures, and baseboards. Tackle spaces that might be overlooked during your normal weekly cleaning routine, like bookcases. Remove all books and knickknacks, dust the shelves, and then wipe down individual items as you place them back where they belong.
- Get a clear view. Next up: windows! Beginning inside the house, clean the windows with a window cleaner or a vinegar-and-water solution. Wipe down the sills, tracks, and locks. If your windows have slatted blinds, wipe those down, too. You can also remove curtains for laundering or dry cleaning. When it comes to cleaning the outsides of windows, exercise caution, especially for second-story windows. (Many newer types of windows can be easily removed and brought inside the house, removing the need for extension ladders.) It’s a good idea to remove screens, too. Screens can be gently washed with warm, soapy water, rinsed, and left to dry in the sun.
- Furniture. Sofas and armchairs need some love, too. First, vacuum beneath cushions. Upholstered furniture can be vacuumed and spot-cleaned. Leather furniture can typically be wiped down with a damp rag, followed by a leather conditioning treatment. Tip: many carpet cleaning companies also offer upholstery and/or leather furniture cleaning services.
- Floor it. As you’ve worked through this list so far, you’ve probably knocked lots of dust to the ground. Spring is a great time to vacuum and steam clean the carpeting in your home. You can rent a steam cleaner, or have carpets professionally cleaned. Hang area rugs outside and beat the dust out of them (like great-grandma used to do!), or have them professionally cleaned. Mop tile floors in entryways, bathrooms, and kitchens. It’s a good idea to reseal the grout lines, too. As you clean the flooring throughout your home, now is the time to move furniture and vacuum or mop behind it, too.
- Go deep. Pretend your mother-in-law is coming over. You know she’s going to peek in your closets! Go through the cupboards, cabinets, and closets throughout your home. Get rid of random Tupperware lids, clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer wear, outgrown shoes and toys, and anything else that no longer serves a purpose. Tip: designate two bins—one for donations and one for garbage.
- Fluff factor. Is there anything better than snuggling into fresh, clean sheets?! During spring cleaning, take it to the next level: wash the mattress cover, sheets, blankets, quilts, comforters, duvet covers, and pillows on each and every bed in your house. Vacuum under the bed. Sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and allow it to sit for an hour or so, then vacuum up the baking soda. Flip the mattress, then remake the bed with freshly washed linens.
- Safety. I use Daylight Savings as my cue to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replace the batteries, and change the furnace filter. Make these important steps a regular part of your spring cleaning routine!
You won’t accomplish all of these tasks in one day, or even in one weekend. That’s okay! Decide what your home is most in need of and start there. Tackle a little bit of this list at a time. And don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your kids, spouse, partner, etc. for good, old-fashioned family cleaning fun!