Feb06

Pre-Spring Cleaning: Top to Bottom

Ahh, February. In my part of the world, it’s the time of year when winter’s hold on the weather starts to feel wearyingly permanent. That’s why I like to get a jump on the calendar with a very early spring cleaning — after all, there’s nothing like a little sparkle inside to make up for gray days outside.

My spring clean method is just that: Straight-up cleaning. I don’t do any organizing, or any redecorating (all good stuff, but not my goal here). To avoid getting sidetracked, I designate a storage bin for tossing everything that needs sorted or dealt with later, and I get to work.

I like to do my spring clean task-by-task, rather than one room at a time. I sweep through the house on each job, and then I repeat the circle of rooms in the same order for each new task (I think I go faster, and the time between passes allows dust to settle between jobs). Here’s the punch list I’ll be using this weekend. Try it and see if it gives you a lift, too.

Start with the ceilings

  • Take down and wash lighting fixtures (I’ve read that you can pop them in the dishwasher, but I wash mine by hand).
  • Make sure all your light bulbs are working, and to double-check that you’re using the right wattage.
  • Dust the corners of the ceiling for cobwebs with a vacuum cleaner attachment.

Work on the windows

  • The frames (dust them!)
  • The window itself (If you have fold-in windows, consider this an opportunity to get a bit of fresh air as long as the temperature isn’t too low; if you don’t, focus on the inside.)
  • Window treatments—dust blinds, wash curtains that are washable, and give any dry-clean-only drapes a good shake outdoors if possible, or a pass with your vacuum cleaner.

Move down the walls

  • Photos and artwork: Take them down and dust frames, wash glass as appropriate.
  • Clear and dust shelves, dusting each item before returning it. Too much stuff on those shelves? Dump extra in the clutter bin.
  • Vacuum lampshades.
  • Clean radiators or vents.
  • Vacuum or wash the walls themselves. (Yes, I know how obsessive that sounds, but you’d be amazed how a dusting can freshen up your paint job.)
  • Finally, change the batteries in my smoke detectors.

 Gussy up the furniture

  • Vacuum and flip all cushions (including bedroom mattresses).
  • Plump all pillows.
  • Polish any legs or hardware.
  • For the purposes of this circuit, treat sinks, toilets, showers, and tubs as ‘furniture,’ and clean them. This round usually takes the longest, which is actually great: All the dust kicked up settles to the floor in time for step five, which is:

 Floor it

  • Vacuum everything vacuumable.
  • Launder rugs that are launderable.
  • Mop the floors that are moppable.

And now, I kick back and relax. Usually the cleaning process inspires me to tackle some new home décor or organization project—or to get something broken repaired—which means the mid-winter blues are gone. So it’s time to hit the Internet to start buying the gear I need for that new home re-do as my reward for a sparkling-clean house.

Jen Dennis

How about you? What’s your favorite job to make the house feel fresh during dreary weather?

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Jennifer Dennis

is the Content Development Lead for Bed Bath & Beyond. She loves thinking, and writing, about all things home and travel. She considers herself the ultimate test case for whether a recipe is really idiot-proof, because if she can make it, anyone can.

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Tidy-Up Gal February 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I like to switch out throw pillows for brighter colors in the winter. I also go against the grain and throw the blinds open for lots of sunlight (whenever the sun’s out).

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Jen February 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I love the idea of switching out your throw pillows! How do you store the pillows you’re not using?

Reply

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