Hello Spring! 5 Tips to Take Your Spring Cleaning Skills to the Next Level
Hello Spring! I don’t know about you, but as a Midwesterner I have an immense amount of anticipation when it comes to the first glimmers of Spring. We’re thawing out and the world around me is starting get its color back; I’d almost call it a magical time. As the days get warmer and longer, I love watching everything come back to life after what feels like spending an eternity stuck in the doldrums of winter.
Although the beauty of Spring lifts my spirits, it also brings around one of my least favorite tasks: cleaning. Can I just put this out there? I. Hate. Cleaning. I loathe it. I understand it’s a necessary evil, but I struggle to face it with anything other than utter dread.
My spring cleaning is usually all encompassing; I’m talking about scrubbing baseboards, overhauling closets, steaming the carpet, and even clearing out winter’s carnage from the backyard. For those of you who keep up with all these tasks during the blustery winter months, I’m envious of you. Maybe it’s the drain of tax season or the fact that all I want to do is hibernate for 4 months, but I just can’t seem to stay on top of all the bigger cleaning tasks. I’m sure it makes my spring cleaning that much more of an undertaking, and I’m okay with that. And it may not be something I get enjoyment out of, but I do have to admit that over the years I’ve picked up some helpful insight and hacks that make my home a bit cleaner in a more efficient and effective manner. Drum roll please… here are 5 of my spring cleaning tips to make your humble abode so fresh and so clean:
- Declutter – We all have that place where things we don’t know what to do with/don’t want to deal with end up. A corner of our dining room table is buried under a heap of mail, paperwork, and who knows what else. I’ve been dusting around it, hoping it will magically disappear. But it won’t, and I know that. I also have a chair of wonders in my office. It’s what looks like a leaning tower of clothes, shoes, accessories, and probably some random artifacts from prior centuries all perfectly stacked up a few feet high. Every so often I clean it off and I’m reminded that I have a lovely desk and chair to sit and work at. Take the time to tackle these little “hoarders nests” as my husband so eloquently calls them, you’ll have more space, feel less closed in, and you might find that one-off thing you’ve been looking for!
- Clean Your Cleaning Tools – This always reminds me of Danny Tanner. I remember watching Full House back in the day, and Mr. Tanner would clean his cleaning gloves. I always thought it was hilarious, until I realized that he might be onto something. These are things we constantly use to help us clean, but do we ever think about the fact of how dirty they might actually be? Don’t think about it for too long or you might lose your lunch. It’s gross, I know. Spring cleaning is a great time to rinse out your vacuum filter, replace all the sponges/rags that you clean with, and swap in a new pair of rubber gloves. By doing so, you’ll end up with a better end result in a fast amount of time (and you’ll be purging away all of the germs that have built up over the winter).
- Don’t Wear It? Get Rid Of It. – I try to hold myself to this but I can be such a challenge. If I go an entire year (maybe even two) without wearing something, I know it needs to get put in the donation pile. If it’s beyond salvage and donating it would be an insult, it makes its way into the rag pile. Obviously there are exceptions, but as soon as I implemented the “wear it or take it elsewhere” concept, I cleared out at least 25% of my closet. I know that I am guilty of holding onto those items that I think I’ll wear again, and unfortunately I find the only time I remember that I even own them is when I do my annual closet purge. I’m sure there are many of you who do the exact same thing and let me tell you, there are so many other people out there who have a better use for and a larger need of those forgotten items than we do.
- Give Your Appliances Some TLC – Just as you need to clean the tools you use to clean, it’s even more important to clean all those machines you use day in and day out. Set your oven and washing machine to go through a self-cleaning cycle, sanitize your dishwasher, and clean out your refrigerator. I’m always able to find some awesome science experiments and more expired salad dressing than I could have ever consumed in my lifetime. And a few little tricks: when cleaning out your microwave, heat up a bowl of water with citrus juice (lemon, lime, or orange) until it steams up the window. This loosens all the grime that has been caked onto the surface and will make it much easier to wipe down. Also, to give your garbage disposal a quick but thorough clean sprinkle some baking soda down your drain and then follow up by pouring down vinegar. Wash it all away with some boiling hot water, and then throw in some ice cubes and turn the disposal on to really clear out any remaining gunk. You’ll be surprised how much smoother the disposal will run.
- Deep Clean Your Floors – My two dogs have an uncanny ability to wreak havoc on what seems like every square inch of my flooring. I’m also not without fault when it comes to leaving my shoes on and tracking in salt, dirt, and grass. The normal vacuuming and mopping helps keep the mess tamed, but I know it doesn’t get rid of everything. In the spring I’ll either steam clean or do a baking soda soak (sprinkle baking soda everywhere, let it set for a few hours, and then vacuum it up) on my carpet to get the allergens, dust, and icky stuff out. I’ll also do a hot water steam clean on the hard flooring instead of my usual swiffer wet jet. My white socks are always significantly less dark by the end of the day after I go to town on my floors. Which kind of disgusts me and makes me feel accomplished at the same time.
Spring cleaning may feel like it’s going to be the death of me, but I remind myself that the nasty stuff living in my house might actually kill me if I let it go unattended. Do you have any ideas, hacks, or secret family solutions that take spring cleaning to another level? I’d love to have some additional resources in my arsenal when it comes to tackling the mess!