Sure, spring cleaning is a chore. But are you making it a bigger deal than you need to? As spring arrives around the country, millions are opening their windows, shaking out the cobwebs from a long winter, and attending to the details in their homes. Join them!
Work from the top down
One of the most important things to remember is to work from the top down. If you have an upstairs, work up there first. As you clean, the dust, dirt, and grime that you’re removing has to go somewhere, and it goes down. The last step of your spring cleaning will be the floors, where all the dust you’ve been working to remove has landed. The good thing is that, because you’ll be vacuuming up the dirt and dust later on, you can dust vigorously and not worry about where it’s landing. Whether you’re using a feather duster, a vacuum attachment, or just a rag in your hands, be sure to dust thoroughly inside light fixtures, the tops of picture frames, and above windowsills.
Target one area at a time for cleaning
There are times when there’s so much cleaning to do that you don’t know where to begin. This is the point at which many people simply give up. If and when you find yourself in this position of simply staring at a mess, try cleaning and organizing an area of your home that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Closets are a good example of this. When you clean and organize your closets, it gives you a chance to weed through the clothing and other knick knacks that you may not have used for years. Start a box or bag for items that you no longer use and donate them to the local thrift shop or other charity. Also, the closet will take longer to finish than you think it will, and by the time you’re finished, you’ll be in the proper mindset to keep going. After finishing the project and moving on to other parts of your home, you can always come back and take a look at the newly organized closet for motivation to continue.
Wash your walls
Don’t forget to wash your walls. The amount of dust, dander, oil, and other contaminants on your walls will probably surprise you. This is not to say that your walls need to be disinfected, but an annual cleaning with a warm rag and water and some mild detergent (most dishwashing liquid works very well at cutting grease and other dirt) will go a long way in making your home look and feel clean. If you’ve never washed your painted walls before, gently scrub a small corner of the wall that no one can readily see. You’re doing this to make sure that your cleaning isn’t peeling the paint off the wall or discoloring it in any way. Further, if you ever decide to paint the inside of your home, spend a little bit of time researching in order to find a paint that is designed to be washed
once it’s on the walls.
Clean your shelving
Take everything out of your bookshelves or other living area storage space. Once everything’s taken out, do a thorough job of cleaning the shelving. If you have books on your shelving, dust them, too. Once you’re ready to put things back, try to only put half of the items back on the shelf. Much like you were doing when you cleaned your closets, this is a good chance to weed through the
things that you never use, and you can donate them, put them into storage, or throw them away. The simple act of lessening the amount of items on display in your home will make it feel more open and clean.
Vacuum your floors
After all of your dusting and other cleaning has been completed, then it’s time to vacuum. Even if you don’t have carpet in your home, you’re still waiting to do the floors until everything else has been cleaned, and it’ll be better to use a vacuum hose than a broom, as the broom has a knack for redistributing all the dirt you’ve just worked so hard to clean. When you’re vacuuming, don’t do just one pass over the carpet. Once you’ve done the room in one direction, start over on the other side of the room, vacuuming in a different direction. This will give life to the fibers of the carpet, ensuring that you’ve cleaned as much dirt, dander, and pet hair as possible.
Try a carpet cleaner
Sometimes a vacuum alone won’t do the job. Whether you rent a carpet cleaner from a hardware store or just call a company to come clean it for you, the level of clean that can be reached with these machines is unmatched. Keep in mind that after a carpet cleaner is used, it’s best to stay out of the house for a day and make sure that the newly cleaned and damp carpet has a chance to dry thoroughly before anyone walks on it.
Mop on your hands and knees
We’ve all mopped the floor. But how many of us have actually gone down on our hands and knees and scrubbed the floor Cinderella-style? Not many. While a standard mopping job is great for everyday cleaning, it doesn’t really attack the grease and dirt that accumulates over time, especially in the kitchen. The best way to scrub a floor is to grab a good, sturdy scrub brush, a bucket of hot water, and some good cleanser (there are floor cleansers designed to cut kitchen grease) and scrub away. Don’t worry about all the extra water on the floor, because once the scrubbing is finished, use fresh hot water with no soap to mop up all the scrub water.
Enjoy your hard work
One of the greatest parts of spring cleaning is sitting back after you’ve finished and enjoying both the sense of accomplishment and the pristine environment that feels welcoming, healthy, and fresh. But you can go a step further. To compliment the new environment, try some new colors. Cheap throw pillows, small rugs, and tapestries and textiles draped over your existing furniture will add a spark to the room, and even someone who has never set foot in your home before will be able to sense the fact that they’re in a home that’s cared for.
Read this blog about spring cleaning and tips for people with disabilities.