Pre-Spring Cleaning: Top to Bottom

February 06, 2013 3

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?

Comments (3)

  1. Nice an succinct. Laid out well for those who get overwhelmed with the thought of cleaning an entire house

    - Terri
  2. 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).

    - Tidy-Up Gal
    1. I love the idea of switching out your throw pillows! How do you store the pillows you’re not using?

      - Jen

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