A Guide for Spring Cleaning

The first signs of spring are upon us. Just a few more weeks and officially it will be spring time. I love spring with it’s budding flowers, warm rains and almost perfect temperatures. At the first sign of spring I always raise the blinds and throw back the curtains. The excitement usually quickly fades when I see the dust that has accumulated over the last several months. Thus, it’s an indication that it’s time for my annual spring cleaning. Here are some tips/strategies to use for indoor spring cleaning along with a few checklists. Enjoy, and happy cleaning.

Preparing/planning for spring cleaning –
As with any project, it is good to plan your spring cleaning. This can be done by first ensuring that everyone will be available for cleaning day or the cleaning weekend more likely. It will be a great bonding time and everyone will take pride in their participation.

Remember the purpose of spring cleaning is to focus upon things you wouldn’t do on a daily, weekly or even a monthly basis. Therefore, be sure to do some basic cleaning a day or two before the spring cleaning – i.e., catch up on the laundry (you’ll need the laundry room for washing blankets, curtains, etc.), clean up the kids’ toys, etc.

Also be sure to have all of your supplies available. You don’t want to have to stop and run to the store for something in the midst of cleaning. Because this will be an all day or all weekend project, be sure to also plan for meals in advance. If you enjoy music, have lots of cd’s available. Don’t choose relaxing music, instead choose music that will get you “pumped”.

Strategize – Your team is going on the attack against dirt. Decide who will tackle what room and provide them with a checklist of what will need to be done in that room. You might want to consider working in two’s. Pairing an adult with a child might be a good strategy (there are exceptions to this rule of course). Consider inviting over friends to help. In exchange you can help with their clean up the next weekend. Hey, the more the merrier – right?

Do Your Homework – Know what you will need and how to clean items you may not have cleaned before, i.e., manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your curtains/drapes, stove, lampshades, etc.

Here is a checklist of cleaning tools/products to have on hand –
trash bags; mop/buckets; hand/cleaning gloves; shelf liners; shower curtain liner (if applicable); rags/sponges/paper towels; broom/dustpan; vacuum with attachments and extra vacuum bags; storage containers, step ladder, oven cleaner (if needed), empty spray bottles and multiple cleaners (i.e., dishwashing liquid, toilet bowl cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, degreaser (for the stove) and window cleaner). I usually use baking soda (great for carpet freshener and an abrasive cleaner, use like you would a commercial product like Comet), vinegar (1 part water to 1 part vinegar, good as a disinfectant, deodorizer and all-purpose cleaner), lemon juice (good for all-purpose cleaning also), and olive oil (mixed with lemon juice it’s a good furniture polish – 1 part olive oil, to a 1/2 part lemon juice), but I also keep a heavy duty cleaner (especially a degreaser) on hand just in case I run into a tough job.

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist – I start in the kitchen because this can take the most energy to do.
1. Step back and examine each wall and spot clean where you see dirt. Don’t forget to move things out of the way that might be blocking your view. Now finish by cleaning the light switches, radiator (if applicable), electrical outlets, light fixtures and spot clean the ceiling. Be extra careful to keep your rag clean when doing the walls and ceilings.
2. Remove curtains and/or blinds for their cleaning along with floor rugs. (This is why teams are good, one team member should now clean the curtains/blinds, etc. and the other team member continue in the kitchen).
3. Clean the windowsills and windows.
4. Now it’s time to clean out the refrigerator. Take everything out of the refrigerator including the shelves and drawers. Now wipe down your refrigerator from top to bottom, and thoroughly clean your shelves and drawers. Replace your shelves and drawers. Go through the food items and throw out anything that has expired or that you no longer want. Wipe down containers, especially things like the jelly containers, before putting them back in the refrigerator. Try and clean underneath and behind the refrigerator if you can move things around. Don’t forget the top of the refrigerator – it can accumulate a lot of dust and can get kind of nasty.
5. Clean all small appliances – toasters, blenders, microwave, etc. Be sure to unplug everything before cleaning.
6. Clean the stove top. Wipe down knobs and remove burners, burner covers, etc. Follow your manual for specific cleaning instructions. If your oven is not self-cleaning, clean it now. If it’s self-cleaning wait until later.
7. Clean out kitchen cabinets/pantry/drawers. Take everything out of the cabinets and drawers. Now wipe down the cabinets from front to back and top to bottom, and then the drawers. Put in a new shelf liner and replace drawer dividers/drawer liners. When putting things back in the cabinets, only put back food items that are still edible and that you are going to eat. Only put back dishes and flatware that are still usable and/or that you are willing to use. This might be a great time to put together a box to donate non-perishable items to the local food shelter and/or dishes to the local Goodwill. Toss plastic bowls without tops and broken dishes. *Clean flatware at this time if needed.
8. Wash down the outside of the dishwasher and run an empty cycle to clean your dishwasher internally.
9. Thoroughly clean your countertops and the backsplash. Again take everything off of the countertop before cleaning. If you have tile grout, be very careful. I usually use a gentle toothbrush along with a baking soda paste or toothpaste and water to clean the tile joints. Be sure to rinse very thoroughly with clear water. 10. Clean the sink paying close attention to the grooves and areas around the faucet. I also use a toothbrush to get into the crevices. Use a window cleaner or vinegar to shine up the faucets when done with cleaning. Now put in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar followed immediately by boiling water to freshen up your sink and to spring clean your piping/plumbing.
11. If you have a self-cleaning oven, begin that process now. I left this until the end as the smell can sometimes be overwhelming.
12. Thoroughly sweep being sure to get behind the refrigerator, stove, etc. Now clean your baseboards, floor vents, etc. with a bucket of water and soap. You’ll have to do this on your hands and knees. Follow with a good mopping.
13. Empty, rinse out your trash can, let dry and then replace liner.

Bedroom Cleaning Checklist – I do the bedroom second so that the room can be ready for resting at the end of the day. This allows the bedding, rug, etc. to dry while doing the other rooms.
1. Remove all wall hangings, then spot clean walls. Step back to get a thorough view and change your water often. Be sure to also clean light fixtures, ceiling fans, radiators, etc.
2. Remove curtains and/or blinds for cleaning, along with bedding and floor rugs. If you have a cleaning partner, one of you should now begin cleaning the curtains, bedding, etc.
3. Clean the windowsills and windows.
4. Dust down the bed, nightstands, and other furniture as well as knick knacks, photos, lamps, etc. Also be sure to clean mirrors.
5. Take clothes, etc. out of the closets and drawers. Have two containers nearby – one for throw aways, and another for give aways. Toss out items that are not usable, and put in your give away container things that you plan to give away.
6. Vacuum or sweep out the closet. Now thoroughly sweep and/or vacuum the entire floor. Don’t forget to get under the bed. Then clean your baseboards, floor vents, etc. with a bucket of water and soap.
7. Use your vacuum attachment to vacuum your mattress to remove any dust mites, then rotate and/or flip over your mattress. Also vacuum your pillows. Spot clean the mattress and/or pillows if necessary.
8. Put clothes back in closet, drawers, etc. and put clean linen on the bed(s).
9. Clean carpet, area rugs, etc.

Bathroom Cleaning Checklist –
1. Remove all hanging/displayed towels, rugs, shower curtains, etc. out of the bathroom for cleaning.
2. As with the kitchen, begin by spot cleaning the walls and ceiling. Again, don’t forget the light switches, electrical outlets, light fixtures, etc.
3. Remove curtains and/or blinds for cleaning.
4. Clean the windowsills and windows.
5. Clean the shower and tub. Clean the tile grout using a gentle brush. Shine up the faucets with either vinegar or a window cleaner. Put up a new shower liner.
6. Clean the toilet. Don’t forget to get behind the toilet and be sure to clean and shine up the handle as lots of germs hide there.
7. Clean out the medicine and linen cabinets, as well as storage drawers. Remove everything from the cabinets and drawers. Now wipe down the cabinets from front to back and top to bottom, and then the drawers (in and out). Now replace the shelf liners. Throw out old medicine, make up etc. Again get rid of items that you are not using before putting things back.
8. Clean all mirrors.
9. Clean your sink and faucet. End by shining up the faucet using vinegar or a window cleaner.
10. Thoroughly sweep, then clean your baseboards, floor vents, etc. with a bucket of water and soap. Follow with a good mopping.
11. Once the floor is dry, replace floor rugs, shower curtains, towels for display, etc.
12. Empty, then rinse out your trash can, let it dry and then replace liner.

General Cleaning Checklist (Foyers, Dining Rooms, Living Rooms, etc)- I save these rooms for last because they are the easiest to clean and the best job for the end of the day.
1
. Remove all wall hangings, then spot clean walls. Step back to get a thorough view and change your water often. Be sure to also clean light fixtures, ceiling fans, radiators, etc.
2. Remove curtains and/or blinds for cleaning, along with floor rugs, table cloths, etc.
3. Clean the windowsills and windows.
4. Remove items off of furniture, i.e. photos, china, etc. Dust all furniture and items in the room including knick knacks, lamps, etc.. Don’t forget legs and arms of tables and chairs. Clean upholstery using vacuum attachment. This might be a good time to spot clean the furniture and/or use a cleaning machine if necessary.
5. Thoroughly sweep, dust mop and/or vacuum floors. Then clean your baseboards, floor vents, etc. with a bucket of water and soap.
6. Replace items.
7. Clean carpet, area rugs, etc.

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