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