As much as I love the soothing voice of Andy Williams, I’d have to say that SPRING is the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. With the birds singing, sun shining, buds blooming, and the grass greening up – it makes me want to throw the windows open and do a little Julie Andrews dance as everything, including the hills, come alive!
But seriously, it’s a time of newness and refreshing, AND naturally a time to deep clean and organize. I’m pretty sure it’s part of our DNA. This week I woke up one morning and I was driven to start rearranging and cleaning, much to the dismay of my husband as he came home to a completely rearranged (but clean!) living room.
As a child, I remember when my grandmother would visit at the end of the school year. We all knew that the house would be torn apart and everything (I mean everything) received a scrubbing!
This got me thinking about what we should focus on for cleaning and organizing. When it’s time to clean, it forces me to take a closer look at the house. This always results in plenty of projects which I promptly put on my honey-do list. (Yea, hubby!) As we go through our cleaning and de-cluttering, we set aside all that extra “stuff” in a donation or garage sale box.
Tip: Keep boxes for donations and garage sale handy all year long to help keep things tidy.
WHY SPRING CLEAN?
Besides spring creating the natural tendencies for most of us to clean a little deeper, there are a few great reasons why we should set aside a few weekends, make a list, and get scrubbing.
1. It prevents the build-up of dirt, dust, and clutter.
2. It’s the best way to prevent the hoarding items we no longer use or need.
3. Creates a new excitement for your space. (For all of us, our homes can start to feel tired and worn out. This doesn’t mean it is time to go buy new furniture, etc. A deep cleaning and rearrangement of furniture and decor gives your home a fresh, new appeal. Thus, maybe saving you some money?!?)
4. Everyone is more relaxed when they live in a clean, organized, de-cluttered space. (And isn’t that what your home is for? Your retreat and getaway from the stress of work and “life”?)
WHERE TO START
Big tasks can be overwhelming to think about and, as a result, we can shut down mentally and forget about it. While there are literally hundreds of tasks that can be tackled, let’s focus on the most important for you.
First, sit down and do a brainstorm of absolutely everything that needs to be done in your house and around your house. Inside and out. Walk through each room, look at the walls, ceiling, baseboards. Check out the windows – is there any air coming through or cracks? How about your shower or the kitchen. Notice the condition of grout, tile, and look for any leaks. What is the condition of your floors? Need any paint touch-ups? How is the condition of the exterior of your house?
Now that you have your list, remember that most likely you will not be able to do them all. THAT’S OK. Prioritize your list based on need or based on what is truly realistic for you to accomplish. Then keep your list handy for next spring (or the next time you are ready to clean). Not everything needs to be done every year.
TOP SPRING CLEANING ITEMS
Here are our top areas/items that need attention for your Spring Cleaning project. Compare it to what you wrote down. Don’t worry about doing everything. Personalize and tailor your spring project to what is prudent and reasonable for you. Below I’ve listed the basics. If you don’t have time to do much, at least deep clean these areas to help rid your home of allergens, dust, mold, and leave it feeling fresh.
WASH THE BASEBOARDS AND WALLS
This was the first thing my grandmother did when she arrived at our house. My sister and I would get a bucket and sponge and get to work. To this day, I notice baseboards wherever I go. They are the first places to collect dust and sticky grime. It is a quick job and really does clean up a room.
Tip: Clean the baseboards AFTER you clean your carpets and dust. Then use warm water and vinegar (or a natural cleaner like Basic-H) and wipe them down. Make sure to use a damp cloth so you don’t leave the boards wet. If the boards are unstained, then a natural wood cleaner should be used.
Tip #2: Make sure to have a Magic Eraser handy to clean up scuff marks.
COFFEE POTS, TEA KETTLES, KEURIG, IRONS
Sometimes we forget that our appliances need attention. Mold and mildew, along with mineral deposits, can build up in our coffee pots, irons, steamers, etc. Use a mild solution of warm water and white vinegar to soak for 20-30 minutes. Rinse several times and wipe down. Note: Check manufacturers cleaning instructions first.
PILLOWS, SHEETS, MATTRESSES, COMFORTERS
The source of many allergens can come from where we lay our heads. Deep clean those pillows by putting them in the sanitize setting on your dryer. You may also want to spray them regularly with essential oils such as Lavender or Roman Chamomile. For cleaning old, yellowed pillows, check out this post: How To Rescue Your Old Yellowed Pillows.
Tip: Don’t forget the pillows on your couches!!
TOPS OF CABINETS, BOOKSHELVES, DOORS, FANS, BLINDS
We forget about those spaces we can not see. However, that is where you will find the largest accumulation of dust and sticky residue. All a breeding ground for allergens just waiting to get stirred up by a summer breeze.
Take down your blinds and wash them with a hose on a warm day. You will still need to use a sponge to clean off any grime. Warm water and vinegar will do the trick for most of the work, but for tough grime try the tips found in this article instead of using harmful chemical cleaners.
Reminder: Don’t forget to clean your ceiling fans before turning them on this season! Also, the tops of your artwork and photos need to be dusted and cleaned as well.
DEEP CLEAN CARPETS, FLOORING, UPHOLSTERY, DRAPES
Again, I’m tackling the areas that hold dust mites and other substances that we inhale and can cause allergic reactions or even colds. If you can hire a professional to clean your flooring once a year, that’s great. Otherwise, consider using these green cleaning tips that can be applied for all your upholstered items in the house, such as couches.
I only touched the tip of the iceberg for Spring Cleaning. For a more detailed list of Spring Cleaning items/tasks, I made a checklist here.