With the arrival of flowers, awakening of trees, and warming of temperatures comes spring cleaning. A time to clean your house thoroughly from top to bottom inside and outside. There are many lists involved with this annual ritual, but probably the most important are the first two:
- Make a list of the chores you want to complete (a.k.a. the to-do list). Plan the work and work the plan.
- Make a list of the cleaning supplies you'll need to complete your to-do list. In many cases, there are simple recipes for non-toxic cleaners that do as good a job if not better than store-bought chemicals. All you need are some empty spray bottles, white vinegar, dish soap, and rubbing alcohol. A great natural weedkiller also includes salt. For recipes, visit https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/spring-cleaning-tips
To-do lists vary greatly depending upon what cleaning expert and/or resource you're referencing — some of which you will find links to below – but here are some items to make sure to have on your list:
- Organize your seasonal items. Store any seasonal items that you won't need until cooler temperatures return. This also includes removing seasonal items from storage, such as lawn furniture, so you can use them again.
- Reduce the clutter in your home. This includes everything from clothes in your closet to expired food in your refrigerator. For clothing, shoes, other apparel, and even gently used appliances, consider donating these items to a local charity, such as Goodwill, Volunteers of America, homeless shelters, etc. If you could use some extra cash, you can also sell items in a yard sale or at resale/consignment shops. For larger items, such as some appliances and furniture, you can donate them to local furniture banks and Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.
- Evaluate your home for safety. If you didn’t already do so with the start of daylight saving time, replace batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Clean filters in your dryer and washing machine. Replace the HVAC filters (which should actually be done every quarter).
- Remember to clean the entirety of the interior of your home: kitchen, cabinet(s), bedroom(s), bathroom(s), closet(s)/pantry, living room, hallway(s), laundry room, ceiling(s), floors, walls, garage, etc. This can involve dusting, washing, scrubbing, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, wiping, etc.
- Don't forget about the outside of your home. Clean porch(es), patio(s), sidewalk(s), windows, siding, roof, landscaping, etc.
Spring cleaning can seem overwhelming, but keep in mind that this process is a marathon, not a sprint. Consider breaking the task into small portions that are realistic and doable for you, your family, and schedule. Progress is progress, so if you tackle one room or a portion of an area each time you work on spring cleaning, you are making progress toward your ultimate goal. Remember to plan the work and work the plan.
Once you've completed your to-do list, try to maintain your new and improved home by periodically touching things up as needed. This will make next year's spring cleaning much easier.