We already know: The idea of spring cleaning is about as appealing as a dental visit. Plus, you clean your home on a regular basis, so you don’t need a go-all-out, bing -bang spring cleaning session, right? Wrong. Chances are your ceiling fans are woefully neglected, the windows need washing and that pile of magazines from 1998 needs to be recycled (except for copies of Sister 2 Sister, of course).
Unfortunately, we can’t do the cleaning for you (even though we really, really want to…not!), but here are some tips to help you get started:
Get organized. Make a list of all of the areas that you want to tackle. Don’t forget places like the deck, fireplace, the sides of the house and closets. Then, realistically estimate how long each area will take and break up the tasks. For example, you may want to hit up the kitchen and living room this weekend, do the closets on a weeknight and leave the bedrooms and outdoor spaces for later on in the month.
Take inventory. Figure out what you have, what you need and what you want. Do you really want 50-leven dish cloths jamming up the drawers in the kitchen? Probably not. Pick out your favorite five to 10, then store or toss the rest. The same goes for piles of old newspapers and magazines, unused sheets and even derelict electronics (like that blender that fits right in with "The Brady Bunch"). If they’re in good condition, donate some of your stuff to the Salvation Army (don’t forget to get a receipt) or give it to local charities.
Clean. Once you’ve de-cluttered, show some love to all of those oft-ignored areas of the house. Enlist the help of your spouse or children to dust light fixtures, take your drapes to the dry cleaners and flip the mattresses.
Go green. Even if you ‘bide by your Comet powder, consider using products that don’t emit such toxic fumes into your home and into the environment. Method products are biodegradable, toxin-free and cruelty-free. Baking soda and diluted vinegar (if you don’t mind the smell) are also old-fashioned, natural ways to clean many areas of the kitchen and bathroom.
Fix the smell. Take this opportunity to give your home a new lease with a fresh, spring scent. Bake a couple of slices of fruit in your oven to get rid of the harsh, oven-cleaner smell and try a beeswax or soy-based scented candle to keep the rest of house smelling fresh.
— Whitney Teal