In my part of the world, the snow is finally melting, the birds are migrating back, and the sun is visible for a reasonable amount of time. It’s spring! And for many of us, that means the daunting task of spring cleaning. While there are book-sized guides for getting your life organized now and forever, sometimes you just want a little advice on how to make your home nicer until next spring. Here’s a much simpler five-step process.
1. Get Everything Off Your Floor
We’re all guilty of it. You set down a box of things or a stack of books to “sort through later,” and two years later it’s a permanent fixture of your living room. The first step in spring cleaning is to put those things where they belong, whether you’ve quality-checked them or not. Ideally when you’re done there will be a sorting method to where you’re putting things, but you don’t need one right away. The first and most important step is to just get it off the floor. No matter where you stow it, you’ll be surprised to see how clean and open your room looks without it – and how much grime has been hiding behind all that clutter!
2. Deep Clean Your Floors
Now that your floors are free of unwanted clutter, you can tackle the flooring itself. It’s the most used part of the home, but can also be the most neglected. Care depends on the type of floor you have, but vacuuming is a general go-to everywhere. Even if you keep up with weekly maintenance, spring is a good time to do another cleaning to all floors. That can mean shampooing your carpet, polishing your wood, or resealing your stone. If you have a large area rug, you should move it, clean it, and clean the floor underneath before putting it back. A rug can hide worn out parts of the floor you’re not ready to replace this season, but any grit underneath can exacerbate the problem, so don’t neglect this step!
3. Tackle Built-Up Dust and Grime
Rugs aren’t the only things that are easy to overlook or put off cleaning. Now is a good time to do a deep clean of anything that typically stays in place. That can mean blinds, light fixtures, ceiling fans, or any hard-to-reach or oft-neglected spot, like your walls or the tops of cabinets. You should also refresh dingier items that don’t face regular wash, like your shower curtain or bath mat. Most linens you can toss in the wash, spot clean, or replace. For harder to wash items like drapery or fabric outdoor furniture, try steam cleaning.
4. Discard and Reorganize
Now go back to the original floor clutter you put out of the way. It’s time to find a new home for it. Some of the stuff you’ll put straight in the garbage bin or the donation box. What’s left is stuff you want to keep but don’t have a place for – which is how it ended up in a heap in the first place. Keep it from ending up back there with an organizational system that built around this leftover stuff. This can be through labeled bins in your basement, open baskets in your laundry room, individual compartments in drawers, and more. The key is storing items in or close to the room in which you’ll use them, in a place that’s easy to access and remember. The better your storage solution here, the less your stuff will start to pile up in the corners of the house again.
5. Age Check Your Furniture
Lastly, it can be worth taking a look at bigger items. Even furniture has a limited lifespan. You may be more willing to dispose of or donate unworn clothes and mismatched Tupperware, but any furnishings that see a lot of use or have been around several years deserve a second look. In most cases, being worn out is more than an aesthetic issue. A busted office chair or bad mattress can make important daily tasks uncomfortable – if not actively damaging for your body. Spring is a good time for an annual checkup, too. Tax season is around the corner, and a decently sized tax return can go a long way toward helping you replace the big stuff if you need to.
A thorough clean of the entire home can be a lot of work. But don’t be discouraged from getting started this spring cleaning season. By taking it section-by-section, you won’t burn out doing everything at once and can actually get it all done before next spring rolls around.