For most of us, winter is about eating warm comfort foods, wearing cozy sweaters and bundling up by the fire. Short days and cool weather keep us inside with windows shuttered, secured against the outside elements.
By the time long-awaited spring rolls around, people a ready for it. Drawn curtains are pulled back. Windows are opened. Sunlight fills the air—along with dust.
Spring is a time of renewal and so it makes sense that we should think it’s a good time for fresh beginnings. Perhaps your home has become a little cluttered. Maybe some dust has collected along the window sills and baseboards or under the bed.
Spring cleaning can feel like a daunting task, but having an organized plan can make it much easier to tackle. Simple methods of cleaning can make the job less frustrating to accomplish.
It’s a good idea to make a list of all of the items that need cleaning. Nowadays, there are plenty of sites and articles online that cover the essentials of spring cleaning, many with printable checklists to make the process easy.
Whether you customize a list available online or create your own, doing a walk-through around the house with pen and paper will help ensure nothing is skipped.
After listing each room in the house, jot down specific trouble spots to be addressed and include the essential tasks that will be the same in each room.
When it comes time to clean, take a top-down approach. Start with the ceiling, dusting the moldings and light fixtures, then dusting and washing the walls if necessary.
Next, wash and wipe down window sills and wipe, vacuum or dry clean drapery or other window treatments. Dust or polish wall art or mirrors and wipe clean light switches, doors and baseboards.
Dust and polish any furniture and use vacuum attachments to vacuum any upholstered pieces. Leave floor cleaning for last, remembering to clean under and behind furniture. The process will be generally the same throughout each room in the house. Take special care in the kitchen and bathrooms to clean filters, re-caulk or re-grout where necessary, and sanitize surfaces. Remember to wipe down indoor plants with a moist cloth so they can benefit from fresh air too!
In addition to cleaning, simple purging may be in order. Go through medicine cabinets, makeup and toiletries. Clean out refrigerators, freezers and pantries. Toss all expired products. Consider replenishing supplies of all of these items with safer choices or make your own.
People have become more conscious about using toxic products in their homes, and cleaning supplies can often be made at home using everyday kitchen items like lemon, white vinegar, baking soda, salt and water.
Here are just a few ideas for some of these products:
Saturating paper towels with vinegar and placing them over hard water deposits on plumbing fixtures will remove calcification and reveal shiny finish beneath without too much elbow grease.
More stubborn spots of buildup might benefit from applying a paste of vinegar, water and salt and rubbing with a soft cloth.
Wipe up refrigerator spills with a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water.
Pour a diluted vinegar solution in toilet boils and let sit overnight. Scrub and flush for a chemical-free sparkle.
Baking soda with a little water makes a gentle abrasive scrub for counters, microwaves, range hoods, sinks, tubs and grout.
Leaving an open box of baking soda in the fridge or a linen closet will help remove food smells or musty odors.
Adding drops of favorite essential oils to baking soda and letting the oils permeate into the baking soda overnight makes a great carpet deodorizer. Lavender is a good choice for its pleasant fragrance, antibacterial properties and calming effects. Allow to sit several hours or overnight and vacuum.
If you prefer instead to purchase your cleaning supplies, there are many options available and websites like the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) can help. A nonprofit consumer protection group, EWG provides a number of guides to help consumers make choices about the foods they eat and the household products and toiletries they use.
The guide scores ingredients in cleaning products from high level of concern to health or environment to low, or no level of concern. Similarly, EWG offers a Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics, which ranks toiletries according to a hazard index. So whether it’s time to buy a new lotion or clean out the fridge, replacing everyday consumables with healthier, safer choices doesn’t have to be a hassle.
With the help of these guides and a few simple ingredients, spring cleaning just became a little easier.