There’s a palpable feeling of renewal that comes with Spring. As the flowers start to bloom and winter fades away, we start to think about spring cleaning. We know the very idea can bring forth sighs of frustration, but we like to approach spring cleaning with that same positive tone of renewal and invigoration.
Join us on tackling those top 10 cleaning challenges that get forgotten during the winter months; we promise crossing these items off your list will feel amazing.
- Take stock of your tools. If even your cleaning supplies have become a mess, start off by tidying, discarding and replacing them. A plastic carrying tray with a handle is ideal to store it all to easily transport around your home or condo. Your most used cleaning products should be kept in close reach under the bathroom or kitchen sink to encourage frequent use and constant maintenance.
- Tackle those windows. There is no better feeling than the sun streaming in from a streak-free window. We recommend that age-old, grandmother-approved method; newspaper and vinegar. Yes, the smell will have you craving fish and chips, but the results will be well worth it. Ensure you clean exterior windows with soap and water first before doing this. Pro-tip: this process also works well on glass showers and car windows.
- Refresh your bedroom. Crack your bedroom windows and air out that musky room. We recommend steaming or vacuuming your bed, flipping your mattress and refreshing your linens, if necessary. For carpeted bedrooms, a spring time steam is a must, particularly for those fond of humidifiers. It ensures the demise of any bacteria and carpet bugs that might have made your room home during the winter.
- Come out of the closet. One of our favorite seasonal rituals is swapping out winter clothes for summer pieces. Don’t rush through this process, empty your entire closet if possible and discard any items you won’t be wearing again. Once you’re done – and this part is important – make an appointment to have your items picked up for donation or drop them off. If you don’t get rid of those items asap, they’ll sit forgotten and add to the clutter.
- Prep the outdoors. Remove all your patio furniture from storage and clean with a damp cloth; this is also a good time to take inventory of any items that need to be replaced. For your back and front yard, clean the debris that has accumulated over the winter with a rake or air blower. Trim any trees or shrubs that have overgrown during the winter months during this process too. Begin prepping your lawn for growth with fertilizer and a pre-emergent/weed killer combination. It’s important to take this step in early Spring, because if you allow weeds come up, you’ll be fighting them all season.
- Drop your drawers. Empty out and wash your drawers with a damp cloth anywhere from the kitchen to bedrooms and bathrooms. Throw away odd socks or broken and underused items. Invest in drawer organizers before putting everything back, which will promote tidiness going forward.
- Clean major appliances. Empty, clean with a damp cloth and restock your refrigerator with care. Give your stove a thorough clean based the recommended instructions for your particular model. If you feel your stove’s cleaning setting isn’t doing the job, try this trick, using baking soda and vinegar. Similarly, run your washer and dishwasher with nothing but 1-2 cups of vinegar on gentle to refresh and kill bacteria. Pro tip: try the same trick on your coffee maker to remove a buildup of old grinds, which means better tasting coffee.
- Get your tub gleaming. We all love a long bath in the winter, but unless you thoroughly scrub your tub every time, there may be a buildup of soap scum that you can’t see. To get your bathtub gleaming, fill your tub with hot water and a liter of white vinegar. Leave until cooled before draining. As the water drains wipe the tub with a cloth soaked in lemon juice.
- Go paperless. Take control of your loose paper situation and develop a storage strategy. Low-cost magazine files can be used to keep tax information, saved articles and newspapers, kids’ drawings, take out menus and other loose leaf items in plain sight and accessible without looking messy. All other newspapers, magazines, flyers and junk mail should get recycled.
- Reclaim your storage spaces. Take inventory of all the storage nooks and crannies around your home. One of the hardest spaces to bring yourself to clean is the garage, so we recommend tackling one mess at a time. Make better use of vertical space with mount wall hooks for bikes, this not only clears floor space, but it can protect wheels from flattening during the unused months. Tackle messy tools kits and seasonal items with labeled storage bins that can be easily identified when needed. Or go custom with mix and match storage cabinets that can be assembled to suit your storage needs. During your sweep of your storage areas, keep a cutthroat attitude top of mind. Any items that you don’t need or forgot you owned should be discarded, given away or put in new homes where you’ll use them.
As good as it feels to tackle these large jobs once or twice a year, it’s important to ensure you’re continuing regular maintenance of your home, which safeguards a more livable and healthier environment for you and your family and preserves the worth of your home over time. We have plenty of home maintenance resources for both novice and seasoned homeowners, including season maintenance checklists and a helpful video on cleaning your kitchen finishes using only household items.