Sunday, March 14, 2021 is the date when we “spring forward” with the start of daylight savings time. Saturday, March 20 marks the official first day of spring, so it’s no wonder I’m craving warmer, sunnier weather. For many, this time of year also involves annual spring cleaning. While I’m always looking for ways to enhance interiors, this season invites us to spruce up the house and get ready for brighter, longer days. Thus, I’ll share in this post 10 spring cleaning tips for your home.
1). Establish a plan to tackle your spring cleaning. If you have only an hour, start with a smaller area like a pantry. If you have a full weekend, tackle the effort by focusing on one room at a time. I like to consider this not only a way to do more extensive cleaning but also time to streamline and minimize belongings. We all collect things throughout the year but if you’re not using those items, they’re just clutter.
2). Declutter. Whether you’re beginning with the infamous junk drawer or the master closet, getting rid of the extraneous items allows your space to look clean and the open space lets you focus on the items you’re keeping. I really like that sense of accomplishment when I see my belongings tidy and neat. Throw away any broken items. Donate unused items. Consider minimizing your belongings. For example, do you really need five spatulas when you typically only use your favorite one?
3). Microwave mess: Even if you wipe out your microwave regularly, this appliance deserves a good scrubbing. After all, you use your microwave to prepare food so its interior should be clean and hygienic. Fill a bowl with three tablespoons of baking soda, one cup of water, about 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a little rind from a lemon, lime or orange. Run the microwave long enough that the mixture comes to a boil and then allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Some of the water evaporates, making the microwave’s interior damp. Wipe down the inside thoroughly with a dry towel. The baking soda and citrus peel help eliminate odors, too.
4). Oven: Take advantage of cool days and super clean your oven (since heating your oven also warms your kitchen). If your appliance has a self-cleaning mode, put that tool to good use while you clean your refrigerator or other parts of your kitchen. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven or want to give yours a boost, try these tips from Good Housekeeping “place a hot, wet cloth on top of burned spots to help soften the gunk. Then scrub with a sprinkle of baking powder and a heavy duty pad. Rinse and wipe dry.”
5). When was the last time you cleaned your upholstery? Daily use leads to dust, dirt, crumbs and more being deposited on your furniture. Ewww! Deep clean your sofas and upholstered furniture for a revitalized look. I use Coit Cleaning and Restoration in Houston to dry clean and sanitize my sectional, and have been very pleased. In fact, click on this image to see a short video of a professional cleaning my sectional last May.
6). Next, let’s examine your bookshelves. Start by dusting them first. Then, consider which accessories you want to put away and which items you can put on display. I like to bring out accent pieces with cheerful spring colors as well as framed photos of summer trips. Remember those? Think about how you could group your collectibles differently. Color coordination can be a great visual with your belongings adding some pop to your living room or bedroom. You can also arrange items by size or theme. Best of all, you can reuse items you already have and create a fresh look for spring.
7). Clean up high. Ceiling fans, light fixtures and air vents need wiping down so I recommend coupling these tasks together. Grab your step stool, clean wash rags and a dusting solution of your choice. Depending on how much time has passed since you last dusted these, you may discover that some dust falls on the floor. Allow ample time to run the vacuum after the wipe down.
8). If you share a home with children, encourage them to group like toys together. (Are you picking up on this theme?) Donate any toys that your kids have outgrown and use that as a teaching moment to explain to your children that at any age, they can help others. It’s never too early to start them along the tidy path either, so that can be an extra message. Although my brothers and I complained about it in our youth, I am eternally grateful for having been raised in a neat and organized household and having been taught (well, gently forced might be the better word) to clean up after myself. Thanks, Mom! Toss broken toys or puzzles with missing pieces. Plastic children’s toys can be washed in the top shelf of a dishwasher on the quick, gentle cycle. Stuffed animals and pillows can be washed in the washing machine using the delicates setting.
9). Clean Closet: This is a great time to rotate out your winter clothes and put front and center your outfits for spring and summer. Separate any clothes that need mending and add to your calendar either a time to mend those clothes yourself or a deadline when you’ll take those items to a local tailor. It’s also optimal time to look at your shoes to determine if any need polishing or need to be resoled. If there are clothes, shoes or hats that haven’t been worn in one year, it’s time to donate those.
10). With much of your home clean and refreshed, remember your front door and entry. While visitors to your home are likely still being kept to a minimum due to the COVID-19 pandemic, curb appeal can bring a smile to your face as you enter and exit your home. Take a warm wash rag and mild soap to clean the exterior of your door and the light fixture above. Look at any potted plants that you may have near the door and trim them of brown leaves. Wipe off the flower pots for a clean look too. Sweep debris and leaves away. Shake out your welcome mat so that it indeed looks inviting. Good Housekeeping suggests: “Trap more dirt by using two mats, one outside the door and one inside. To refresh, hose off and air-dry mats. Vacuum indoor ones on both sides — going over the back will push trapped dirt out onto the floor where it will be easier to pick up.”
Once you step inside your home, what do you see, smell and hear? Make your entry a pleasant experience, even if you’re the only one who notices. Feature a vase of colorful flowers in the entry. Place a diffuser nearby with a scent that you like. Put away odds and ends that have accumulated near the door for a clean slate. After all, nothing feels quite as nice as a clean home that’s ready to welcome spring.