The true history of the annual “spring clean” is unclear, but in spite of its murky origins, spring is commonly considered to be one of the best times of year to “shake off” the dirt and grime that can accumulate over the winter and prepare a home for a fresh, clean start to the new year.
Much of what it takes to keep a home presentable involves day to day tidying along with weekly chores such as vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and bathroom cleaning.
Things like vacuuming behind and under appliances, power washing the icky green stuff off the side of the house and cleaning the garage are typically relegated to that time of the year known as “spring cleaning” because they take longer to do and are more easily done when the weather cooperates.
But what do you do if you don’t want to take up every weekend for the next month getting the spring cleaning done?
Create a master list of tasks that need to be done – above and beyond your “normal” chores, organized according to the time you think it will take to do them.
Post the list where it’s easily seen and start tackling each task according to the time you have available.
You might be surprised at how quickly your spring cleaning will get done…especially if you promise the family a special treat once the list has been tackled!
While no means exhaustive, the following ideas can help you get started on building your own spring cleaning chore list.:
The first thing both you and your visitors see when you come into your home is the outside of your house. From leaves rotting in your overflowing gutters to dead potted plants dotting your front doorstep, the outside of your home could probably use some spring cleaning.
Your first defense against dirt and grime entering your home are often overlooked because they tend to just fade into the background. Sweep, wash or just shaking your doormats can help them do their job even better.
Check your outdoor furniture for wear and tear. Repair what you can, discard and replace the rest.
You’ve probably seen it on the walls and roof of your home…green yuck…algae, moss and/or mildew are usually the culprits. You could tackle this one yourself with a power washer and outside cleaning solution or hire a professional – especially if you have a brick home, because a high powered stream of water can damage it if not done properly.
Dust hidden behind and under appliances and furniture could be the culprit behind your winter allergies. Working from the top down, tackle each room – or task – one at a time until you’ve done each of them.
Remove your blinds, soak them in the bathtub with a vinegar and water solution, hang them outside in the sun to dry, then hang them back in the windows…after you’ve washed the windows of course!
Walls, baseboards and woodwork
Dust or vacuum (with a soft upholstery attachment) your walls, baseboards and woodwork. Next, using one bucket for warm water, and another filled with soap and dishwashing liquid, use a sponge to wash the surfaces you just vacuumed.
Use a soft clean cloth -microfibers work great – to dry everything off.
A sponge mop is helpful for higher spots if you’d rather not use a stepstool.
Ceiling and light fixtures
Ceiling fans can be vacuumed or cleaned by hand using a pillowcase to capture all of the dust. While you’re near the ceiling run the vacuum over the air-conditioner vents…this area traps a lot of hair and dust.
Gently clean the light fixtures with a sponge soaked in a vinegar and water solution to remove dust and grime build-up. For out of reach areas use a stepladder and extended reach cleaning tools.
You will be astonished at the amount of dust, lint, food and missing items you’ll find when you clean out from behind your appliances. Slowly pull your appliance far enough away from the wall to reach behind it and underneath it.
Using a long handled bottle brush and vacuum, clean out from around the stove and/or refrigerator, paying special attention to the grime that’s built up around the coils. This is affecting the life of your appliances – not to mention the energy needed to run them – so don’t let another year go by without doing this!
Carpets and upholstery
Body oil, dust, pet dander…your furniture soaks these things up leading to smells and germs…not to mention allergies.
If you have carpets shampoo them.
Open windows can help speed up the drying process, so choose a day when the sun is shining and a gentle breeze is blowing to clean your carpets and upholstery.
Tip: Place small strips of wax paper underneath the legs of your furniture to keep them from getting wet – and potentially causing a stain on your newly scrubbed carpets.
Finally, if you come across a spring cleaning job that is too time consuming – because you’ve put it off since you moved into the house – or it’s simply too difficult for you to do, consider enlisting the help of a friend or hiring a professional to do it for you.
Once it’s been done, you’ll rest easy knowing it won’t be as hard to tackle on your own next year…or you’ll keep the service person’s phone number on speed dial!
Do it yourself or hire a pro…either way, you’ll be able to enjoy a fresh clean home and spend the long summer days enjoying it!