Start the Countdown
When winter’s here, it is all too easy to stay snuggled under a blanket with a hot cup of cocoa and way too many episodes of the latest Netflix show. Once the weather warms, however, it typically time to start the deep clean of your home. Spring is typically the time for rejuvenation so why not carry that over to your whole home! The fresh air and greenery make us want to carry that over to indoor spaces as well. If you are unsure of where to start here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Make A Plan
If this is your first spring as a new homeowner congrats! No matter the size of your home spring cleaning is always a challenge. It is about going beyond your usual mopping and sweeping routine. We recommend making a list! Not only is it satisfying to cross things off but it will help keep you organized! Break out your favourite list-making tool, Google Keep, Excel or good old fashion pen and paper and let’s get started!
Break it down by each room in your house. Don’t forget those less used spaces like utility rooms or under the stair storage. We would also recommend adding your garage and “outdoors” as a category. Some good tasks to start with are cleaning the baseboards and walls, windows and window treatments and underneath of furniture. It might help to walk through your home while making the list.
2. Take Your Time
They say things can either be done fast or done right. You might want to add a time commitment for each task you have on your list. This will help you to get some easy wins by tackling the small tasks and help prioritize longer tasks for the weekend when you have more time. Keep in mind, unless you are channelling your inner Wanda Maximoff you won’t be getting this done in a weekend. Really, there is no rule as to the time frame. We just suggest you get it done before next spring!
3. Get Ready
If you aren’t overly excited about the idea of cleaning there is one more thing you can do to “procrastinate”. You’ll want to have all of the supplies that you need on hand so you aren’t running to the store multiple times just to pick up supplies. Although, that may be a good excuse for a Starbucks break. At a minimum, you should have a good all-purpose cleaner on hand for walls and floors. You’ll also need a glass cleaner for windows and mirrors. If you plan on tackling a special project like the bottom of your oven it will be much easier with an oven cleaner. Also, this may be a good excuse for a new broom or mop. Using a frayed broom is going to take sweeping twice as long.
4. Declutter First
Decluttering is a huge part of spring cleaning. If all you do is shuffle piles of stuff from one side of the room to the other is it really an improvement? Sure you may have shifted around all the craft making and bread baking supplies from last spring – but was that worth the hard work?
There are lots of ways to go about it but a common solution is to set up three bins, keep, toss and donate or sell. For each item, ask yourself what it is doing for you. If you haven’t used it in 6 months and there is no sentimental attachment perhaps it is time to move on.
5. Bring Backup
Teamwork makes the dream work! It may be time to recruit some live-in family members to help. However, getting someone to help you out might be even harder than getting someone to help you move.
In the world of married couples, this is often referred to as the “honey-do” list. Now, this doesn’t mean it needs to stop with your partner. Even children can help clean their rooms or easy to reach places like baseboards. Failing those options you might consider an exchange with a friend. Offer to help clean their place if they will help out with yours.
7. High-Traffic Zones and Shortcuts
Even with all these tips under your belt and after enlisting help, does it still seem like an absolutely horrible, monumental and otherwise insurmountable task? Fine. Go over the list — if you’ve made one, of course — and figure out what you can cross off. One way to do that is to think about the most high-traffic areas of your home. The kitchen has to be high on the list, and so does the room that houses the TV, whether that’s the living room or a den. So what can you remove? Rooms like guest bedrooms, bathrooms that don’t get much use or finished basements with very little furniture or stuff in them (does that exist?). Closets that are already pretty organized anyway. Basically, the places where you and your family do the most living are the places that will need spring cleaning the most.
Another way to speed up the process is to look for shortcuts, like spot-cleaning instead of cleaning the whole thing. Instead of steam-cleaning all of the carpets, focus just on the stains in the high-traffic areas. If you have a hand-held steamer for clothes, use it on curtains instead of taking them down to wash. Window washing from the outside is a classic spring cleaning task, but I have to say that I haven’t done much of it myself. I just turn the hose on the outsides of the windows occasionally to get rid of bugs and leaves, and I’m satisfied with that. A more ambitious person might take down the screens and scrub those, then clean the windows, too. It’s your house, so you decide how your time is best spent.
8. Expired? Retired!
Grocery stores use a system called FIFO (first in, first out) to rotate products with a limited shelf life so that they’ll sell before they spoil. We should take a cue from businesses and save ourselves both frustration and money, and yet, many of us don’t. There are probably expired products lurking in your pantry and medicine cabinet right now.
When you’re spring cleaning your pantry, don’t just pull everything out and put it back in. Actually check out those jars, cans and boxes. Pretty much everything has an expiration date. Whether something like pasta is still good past its date is up to you, but awareness is a good thing. You may be periodically cleaning out the fridge anyway, but sometimes we forget about the condiments. They have a longer shelf life most of the time due to ingredients like vinegar and those fantastic preservatives, but that life must come to an end at some point. When in doubt, throw it out. While you’re at it, consider a new organizational system so you don’t keep buying cinnamon because you can’t find it and assume you’re out.
9. Take it to the House
The phrase “spring cleaning” doesn’t just have to mean cleaning the inside of your house. There are lots of other home maintenance-type things that would benefit from your attention once spring has actually sprung. Murphy’s Law says that if your air conditioner breaks down, it’s probably going to happen right in the hottest part of the summer. So before it gets hot, get your system checked out to make sure that it’ll actually work well for you when you turn it on.
If the winter was particularly rough, your roof probably needs an inspection for loose shingles, your siding might be loose or rotting and your gutters could be full of gunk. Take care of it all before summer does its own damage. Lots of people talk about weatherproofing to keep in the warmth during winter, but if you didn’t do that, consider things like caulking around your windows and sealing any other leaks to keep in the cool air once you turn on that AC. You’ll soon want to spend time on your deck or patio, so inspect that for wear and tear and get it into shape. If you do all of these things yourself, mild spring temperatures might even make them slightly enjoyable. Check out our guide to spring maintenance here.