The arrival of spring means longer days, warmer temperatures — and the annual ritual of spring cleaning. Indeed, there’s something deeply satisfying about scrubbing and scouring your home until it shines and smells fresh and clean.
At the same time, there’s no reason not to take advantage of tips and tools to make the task easier. Following these suggestions and strategies will have your house looking better than new, just in time to enjoy the beginning of spring.
Start with the Basics
Like any big task, spring cleaning should begin with a plan. To start, divide the various to-dos among various members of the family. Adult family members and older teens can take on heavier chores, while little ones can handle simple tasks such as picking up and putting away toys.
A checklist of tasks can help keep the entire process organized. Once spring cleaning is done, the checklist can be expanded to include daily, weekly and monthly tasks, as well as bigger chores that are handled only every few months or once per year.
Assembling the right tools — a mop, bucket, dustpan and cleaning cloths for any hard surface — also makes the task of spring cleaning easier. Additionally, a vacuum with a hand-held extension cord can take care of rugs, furnishings and draperies. Don’t underestimate the need for wearing the right attire, as dependable jeans or sweats and a plaid flannel shirt will keep you comfortable while you reach and bend while cleaning.
Spring Cleaning Hacks
While many people rely on commercial cleaners, everyday household items are often just as effective, not to mention far less potentially toxic to children and pets. For instance, rubber gloves are effective at picking up pet hair from furniture, and baking soda can get a crusty, dirty oven sparkling clean in minutes.
Additionally, heating a bowl filled with vinegar and plain water will eliminate the need for scrubbing a microwave. After 10 minutes, any stains should easily wipe away clean. Meantime, a lemon cut in half and placed in the refrigerator will eliminate unpleasant odors.
Lemons also make for excellent air fresheners and antibacterial cleaners. Simply mix lemon juice and water, and pour the contents into a spray bottle for a non-toxic air freshener that not only smells great but also kills bacteria on any hard surfaces. Additionally, know that baking soda is great for removing coffee stains and that shoe polish isn’t just for shoes — it also removes scuffs and scratches from leather upholstery.
Declutter and Reorganize
Spring cleaning also provides an ideal opportunity to declutter and reorganize household items and closets. To start, have a critical eye to downsize overflowing storage rooms and closets by dividing items into three categories: keep, sell or donate and discard. Be sure to collect and keep receipts for donated items to include as possible tax deductions.
The same approach can be taken with clothing. As a rule of thumb, although there are exceptions, any item that has not been worn in a year should be donated or discarded. Seasonal items should be placed in deep storage. One upside: pruning out unwanted items creates lots of additional space for fresh, new wardrobe additions.
Reap the Rewards
Once the house is clean and reorganized, it’s time to reap the rewards of all that hard work. Take time to relax with a favorite hobby or a good meal. Or, have a get-together with family and friends to enjoy good company — and show off that sparkling clean home!
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