It’s early March, which means that spring is less than a month away. Use the next month to get your house in perfect, organized order so you can spend spring enjoying the wonderful weather outside.
The following plan is designed to clean from high to low places in your home so you won’t have to go back over any areas. Follow the steps in order for a clean home just in time for spring, and feel free to break up the jobs over the next few weekends so the work doesn’t take up one whole weekend. These items should be done in addition to your normal weekly or biweekly housecleaning.
Spring is the time to renew, which means it’s also the perfect opportunity to get rid of items in your house that are weighing you down. Separate items into four action-item areas: trash, give away/sell, storage and put away. If the thought of cleaning out all of the closets overwhelms you, focus on one room or area of the house at a time, and start with the most time-consuming part to feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s completely clutter-free. Then, the rest of the rooms, closets and drawers should be a breeze – or at least not as difficult as the first task.
Dust up high and down low
Using a microfiber, static-cling cloth (like a Swiffer duster), remove dust from ceiling fans, light fixtures and on top of furniture and appliances, such as the refrigerator. Use the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to clean the dust on air conditioner vents, radiators, door frames and windowsills. Remove cobwebs from windows and walls.
Move the big pieces
Once or twice a year, dust behind the sofa, dressers, nightstands and china cabinet and under the beds. Use your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment to suck up the dust along the baseboards. While you’re at it, vacuum the baseboards of your closets as well.
Wash lesser-used linens
You might be surprised at the linens you rarely think about washing, such as dust ruffles, mattress pads, decorative shams, throw pillow covers, curtains, dining room chair covers, sofa cushion covers (check to make sure they’re washable), tablecloths, runners, welcome mats, afghans, decorative towels and extra blankets. If you’re afraid to wash them in the washing machine, check the tags for washing instructions and wash them by hand in cold water, though you’ll probably be fine grouping them by color and washing them on the gentle cycle in cold water with a mild detergent. Hang these linens to dry.
Scrub the forgotten areas
Using a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water (or a store-bought degreasing cleaner) and a washcloth, clean fingerprints off doors, light switch plate covers and electrical outlet covers (carefully!). Clean the inside and outside of windows using a window cleaner or a solution of one part white distilled vinegar to one part water. Wipe away streaks with newspaper.
Clean inside appliances
- Refrigerator: Take everything out of the refrigerator and scrub the shelves, inside the drawers and the inner doors using a paste made from baking soda and water. Then wipe away residue with a clean, damp washcloth.
- Oven: Clean inside the oven using your oven’s self-cleaning feature or by spraying your cold oven with a baking soda and water solution (3 teaspoons baking soda to about one liter of water) several times a day, which will loosen the black carbon enough for you to wipe it down with a damp cloth until it is clean.
- Washing machine: While wearing protective gloves, wipe mold and mildew from the inside of your washing machine using the bleach and water solution mentioned earlier. Then run your empty washing machine on the normal, permanent press or medium cycle using ½ cup of bleach and hot water, set for the largest load. When the cycle is finished, leave the washing machine door open for a day to air out.
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/dejanristovski