Even though it is only mid-February, before you know it Spring will be here. That means warmer weather (hopefully), and the sometimes-dreaded Spring cleaning. I love this time of year though, even though the word “cleaning” is involved.
It’s time to open the windows, get some fresh air circulating through the house, and de-clutter! Aside from spreadsheeting everything I possibly can, this comes in at a close second as a favorite thing to do. (Yes, I am totally type-A personality!)
I bring with me the following:
- BIG GARBAGE BAG: This is for items that are old and shoddy, broken, etc. This applies mainly to the boys’ toys, etc.
- ANOTHER BIG GARBAGE BAG: This bag is for donations. I donate all of the old toys, too-small clothing items, and books to the local charities. It’s funny how you start cleaning and place a toy in the donation bag, to have your child come in and grab it from the bag stating it is his most-treasured toy and how could I think to give it away? Um, it has been under your bed and not played with for about 6 months…this happens every time. If you have kids, you may want to do their rooms when they are NOT home.
- PAPER TOWELS, CLEANERS AND MICROFIBER CLOTHS: Dust off all of the furniture, picture frames, window blinds, everything.
- NOTEPAD AND PEN: Now is a good time to analyze what needs better organizing…do the Legos have a designated home? Are your scarves taking over the floor of your guest bedroom closet (that would be me)? Jot down what you think you may need to better organize your spaces.
Tackling the task
You don’t have to go crazy and get it all done in one day; instead break your cleaning up into sections or by rooms, or floors, whatever suits your dwelling best. Sometimes I like to do all “like rooms” on the same day. For example, day 1 would be bathrooms – get them over with!
Take everything out of the cabinets. Check all expiration dates of medications and beauty products. Go through your make-up and decide what you really use and what you can get rid of (like that hot pink lipstick you received in a subscription box that really wasn’t your color but you may need it one day). You won’t.
Clean everything from top to bottom and don’t be afraid to use bleach – just wear gloves to protect your hands.
Go through your linens and donate any towels, blankets, and/or sheets that have seen better days. I like to donate mine to the animal shelters.
This is a big undertaking, and depending on the number of bedrooms you have, you may want to break this into a few days. I clean my Master bedroom one day and tackle the boys’ rooms the next day.
Dust like there’s no tomorrow. Evacuate all of the dust bunnies from under the bed. Wipe down all baseboards. Cleaning out your closets is a HUGE task unto itself, so the best bet would be to use my handy-dandy “Should It Stay or Should It Go” infographic (and a large glass of wine). Clean your window treatments – if they are blinds, wipe them down. If you have curtains, send them to the dry cleaner or wash them at home if you can!
I leave this room mainly to my husband because he is the chef in the household.
He takes complete control of the pantry. We take everything out – everything. Once the pantry is bare, we wipe the shelving down and one by one we start checking expiration dates and placing the food back in. I use baskets to neatly organize my chips and snack foods, dog treats, and packets (seasonings, etc.). I have a section for:
- Rice and pasta
- Canned goods
- Jarred food
- Cookies and snacks
- Breakfast foods – I keep the dry cereal in cereal keepers to keep it fresher.
- Large bottles of olive and vegetable oil stay on the floor, along with unopened bottles of cranberry juice, tonic water, etc.
- Food containers line the top shelf along with a bin containing Hershey bars (that would be because my oldest son would eat them all if they were on a lower shelf. I don’t know what we’re going to do when he gets taller…)
Looking for great organizing baskets and bins? What I usually do is take a trip to my local Container Store to see what they have to offer. I get some cool ideas from there and then head over to Target or WalMart and see if I can find a similar item for a bit less. Homegoods and Pier 1 also have some great deals on baskets, bins, etc.
Take everything out of the fridge. Wipe down all shelves, bins – everything. Check expiration dates here as well. One by one, place everything back inside. Open a fresh box of baking soda to keep any future odors from taking over.
Cabinets and Drawers
We tackle the cabinets and drawers one by one as well. We remove everything, wipe down the shelves, make sure whatever was in the cabinet is still clean, and something that we use. The self straining pasta pot was a novel idea but it sat in our cabinet for years without coming out. I donated it as I am sure someone else will lovingly use it.
Put like items together. All pots and their corresponding covers should be in one cabinet. Bowls used for preparing meals should be paired together. Place all utensils for similar uses in the same drawer. We have one drawer for our eating utensils. one for serving utensils, wooden spoons, etc.; and one for prep utensils like peelers, and all of these other small gadgets that my husband uses.
Wipe down the exteriors of the cabinets and drawers and don’t forget to dust above the cabinets (it’s amazing and sometimes gross what can be found up there).
The rest of the kitchen
Organize under your sink – wipe down the shelves and place the cleaning solvents and sponges you have under there. Take note of anything you’re running low on. If you have a self-cleaning oven, there’s no time like the present to press “start” on that. Be sure to open the windows if you can! Run the dishwasher with nothing in it.
Vacuum, dust, wipe down the baseboards, clean the window treatments, and sills if you have them. Fluff pillows, clean pillow covers if they are removable. Take the cushions off of couches and chairs – you may be rich from all of the changes you find. Or grossed out if you have kids…either way it is a must-do.
Wipe down all interior doors and handles.
Disinfect all light switches.
If you have sliding glass doors as I do, sweep out and wipe down the tracks.
Clean the windows. EEK. Yes, you have to do that…don’t you want the sunshine to come in and show off your gorgeously clean house? We use this cool Windex for cleaning the outside of the windows and it works wonderfully! It attaches to a hose and voila!