It is that time of year – the weather is perfect, backyard barbecues are in full swing and you are noticing all of the clutter that has accumulated around your house over the past year. Yes it is that time of year, time to set aside a few hours to do some spring cleaning.
While the origins of “spring cleaning” vary by who you ask – whether it be from early settled American history when the weather first became warm enough to open the windows and allow for a good dusting, from Jewish history when families would clean the home just prior to the Passover feast or the ancient Persian annual New Year cleaning, which fell on the first day of spring – the central theme is the same, every home needs a little extra attention at least once a year.
In modern times, spring cleaning is a good point in the year to work through each room in the house and clear away all of the junk stuff that has accumulated over the last twelve months. Doing so helps to keep your home organized and leaves behind a great feeling of control and cleanliness in the home.
Here are a few tips to help with your annual spring cleaning this year:
Work from room to room and put everything “away”
- If something does not have a place, find one for it or throw it away.
- If something has not been used in the last year, it is unlikely that you will use it again – use this opportunity to throw it away or donate it.
Change batteries in smoke detectors
- When was the last time that you tested the batteries in your smoke alarm? We thought so – it could save your life, change the batteries.
Clean curtains and drapes
- Check the tag – many are machine washable. If yours are not, either vacuum them or take them to be dry cleaned.
Wash window screens
- Use a soft brush and some water. Clean screens make the fresh air drifting through your home on a nice spring day a lot fresher, we guarantee it!
- Wash from both the inside and outside. Use a window glass cleaner and wipe dry, then wipe again with a new clean cloth to avoid streaks.
Clean inside of refrigerator
- Take everything out and clean all of the shelves, drawers and walls. As you replace items, check their expiration date and toss what is no longer fit for consumption. Wipe each item with a damp cloth as you put it back in the fridge.
Replace furnace filters
- This should be done regularly, but is often overlooked. A clean furnace filter keeps the air circulating in your home much cleaner and leaves less dust to collect in all of those places that you keep having to dust.
Clean inside of oven
- If your oven is self cleaning, allow it to run a clean cycle and completely cool. Then take a damp paper towel and wipe clean all surfaces inside the oven, including the racks.
- If your oven is not self cleaning, spray the inside thoroughly with an oven cleaner before going to bed. The next morning, it should wipe clean fairly easily (but still wear old clothes – we warned you).
- If your freezer is not self-defrosting, bite the bullet and clean it out and defrost it (you can put frozen food into coolers for a short period of time).
- If the freezer is self-defrosting, clean out expired or unwanted food and wipe all surfaces clean. It is surprising how many crumbs end up in the bottom of the freezer that need to be cleaned out periodically.
- If you have an automatic ice maker, dump the ice and start fresh.
Wash small rugs
- Small rugs can often be machine washed. Check the tags and throw them in the washer to freshen them up.
- If your mattress is the type the needs to be flipped or rotated periodically, during your regular spring cleaning is a great time to do it. Make sure that you have plenty of help as mattresses can be heavy.
Clean medicine cabinets
- It is amazing how much stuff can accumulate in a medicine cabinet – often simply because it is an easy stash point. Work through the medicine cabinet and drawers in the bathroom and toss out all of those nearly empty toothpaste tubes.
Clean out home office
- Another big junk collector is the home office. Whether in plain site, or stashed away in a drawer everything from papers to small objects seem to collect in the office.
- Sort through papers and file what you need while shredding what you do not.
- Decide whether you really need all of the little knick knacks that you have been saving for “someday”. Chances are you don’t, toss them.
Perform a wardrobe review
- Wash those items that only get laundered occasionally.
- Take the annual/bi-annual/quarterly dry cleaning to the cleaners.
- Organize the closet – Put away cold weather clothing and replace with warm weather garments.
- Donate old clothing that you no longer wear.
Wash light fixture covers
- Wash globes and other light fixture covers. Carefully remove them and take them to the kitchen sink. Be sure to allow them to dry before re-installing.