Spring this year has been a moody, elusive beastie. One day we get sunny and warmish and then the next several days punish with bitter cold and rainy grey moods. I don’t know about you, my reader, but the cold dreary days wear on me and my mood. Productivity comes to a halt and I want to curl up and hibernate with a good book and a hot cup of tea. I forego crafting and creativity for Netflix and naps. To diagnose me with a case of “seasonal depression” is a bit of an understatement. Along with my mood, my house goes all cattywampus and soon, the clutter closes in on me.
With the advent of warmer days and sunshine, however, my disposition changes and I am newly revived, inspired, energetic, and ready to take on all sorts of projects. But first, I must get my house in order. If this sounds like you, read on… I’ve got a few spring cleaning and organization tips to help you shake of the winter doldrums and bring a breath of fresh air into your home and life.
Main Living Areas:
We spend a lot of time in our kitchen and living room. Both are the main gathering places for people and all their clutter as well. During the winter months we have many family movie nights. After months of cold and dreary, we wake out of hibernation to find forgotten books, hair ties, lost socks, and other tokens of daily winter existence under furniture, stuffed into couch cushions, and tucked in seemingly forgotten corners. I like to reclaim these spaces first with a good deep cleaning (see tips below) and then bring in something fresh and alive such as a new plant from the local garden center, something colorful like a new throw, or recover accent pillows with some bright and cheery covers. All these are simple and affordable touches, but make such a difference in brightening up tired spaces and my mood.
- First, call all family members to attention and get them to come gather all their junk from the room. Anything left in the room after this task gets tossed or held hostage by mom until further notice. ( I'm mean that way...)
- Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures- take an old pillowcase and slip the open end over the fixture and gather the dust inside the case as you sweep across the blades or fixture. You can shake the dust off outside and then wash the pillowcase.
- Baseboards- I like to give these a good swipe with the brush tool on my vacuum cleaner which catches most of the crud, but for a deep cleaning I take an extra step and wipe with a dryer sheet. This both sends a lovely scent through the room and adds a layer of dust protection that makes the in-between cleanings with the vacuum a lot more productive.
- Fabric Furniture- Take off cushion covers and run through a cold wash on gentle cycle and hang to dry. While covers are washing, vacuum the bases, undersides, and backs to pick up any dust and pet hair (we have cats so… they are fuzzy! See Leo peeking out?! Nosy cat.) Once the covers are dry, wrestle them back on and flip the cushions over and to opposite ends so your furniture wears more evenly.
- Furniture and Decor- Wipe everything down with a soft cloth and preferred cleaning solution. I like Murphy’s Oil Soap for this task. It has a nice light citrus scent and cleans without leaving a film or drying out wood. I use a repurposed gallon ice-cream bucket, run some warm water, add a cap full of Murphy’s, and go to town.
- Windows and window coverings- Wash all windows with your preferred cleaning solution. I am stuck on the Mrs. Meyer’s or Method brand of cleaners at the moment. They smell fantastic, are environment, pet, and kid friendly, and affordable. For window coverings, I give mine a good wash once a year. I have curtains, not blinds, so this gets the dust and fur off pretty effectively. For blinds, unlatch and either hose down outside or dunk in the bathtub with some warm water and vinegar, pat dry with a towel, and then rehang.
- Floors- This task will depend entirely on your floor covering. Carpets need a good shampoo, but in lieu of that, spot clean with a baking soda paste and Dawn, and vacuum well. I have hardwoods, so for me, it involves vacuuming well and a good mop with Method for wood floors.
- Appliances: If your oven has a self-clean option, kick it off before beginning any kitchen tasks, it will finish by the time you’re done and you can wipe it out quickly once it cools. Clean the outside of all appliances with a degreasing spray such as Mrs. Meyer’s all-purpose spray and use a soft cloth to buff and shine as you go.
- Fridge: I do a quick clean each grocery trip, emptying leftovers, old produce and whatnot, but a couple of times a year I take out all the shelves, wash everything down with warm soapy water and put new grippy liners on the shelves and in the drawers.
- Lighting- Wipe everything down with all-purpose spray and buff to a shine.
- Cabinets- Match plastic ware lids, tossing worn and mismatched sets (unless it’s Tupperware then you hoard that stuff like nobody’s business). Wipe down cabinet fronts and counters with warm soapy water.
- Floors- Since most houses have tile in their kitchens, I like to use a mop water with either vinegar base or bleach base. I’m not usually one for harsh cleaning products since we have pets and babies but kitchen floors get pretty grungy and hold some grease too. The bleach method works for me, and I like the brightening effect it has on the grout lines as well as the quick bleach my sinks get from holding the mop water. Cha-ching! Two for the price of one cleaning! I use about a ½ cup of bleach with a sink full of water.
I don’t know about you, but I feel much lighter (and happier) when the main traffic areas and gathering spaces are clean and tidy. And when Mama is happy… you can finish the rest.
If you're feeling extra springy, go ahead and deep clean your other rooms... you'll be glad you did!
- Start by stripping all bedding and pillows off your bed, dust ruffle included- and set them off to wash while you're cleaning. While your bed is torn apart, flip and rotate your mattress.
- Give your pillows a check. They really need to be replaced at least once per year, more if you have allergies. Pillows can get expensive so you can wash them in hot water with a little bleach to freshen them up.
- As in the other rooms, a top down approach works well. Start with cleaning lighting fixtures and windows and their coverings.
- Dust and clean all furniture including your bed frame and rails.
- Dust and clean all decor, frames, and end with baseboards.
- Finish off with your flooring. If you are able to do a shampoo-great! But even a good vacuuming will help knock the dust down.
- Once your bedding is washed and dried, redress your bed, fluff those pillows and enjoy a good night's sleep!
- Kid rooms get really cluttered. Get rid of broken toys, broken crayons, mismatched socks and outgrown clothing. Enlist their help. Sure the kids will whine and gripe the whole time, but you will both appreciate it even if it takes them a while to come around.
- Side note: My mama had this thing where she would tear my whole room apart, clean everything, and put it back. Truth is, I hated it when she did that. I was a hoarder of stuff and liked my hidey holes for snacks, random bits of artwork, and found things like rocks and dried up flowers. But as an adult? I totally buy into decluttering the kid rooms. They are GROSS!
- Start with your lighting. These get dusty, covered in spray products, and are really cruddy all over and inside.
- I like to clean out bathroom cabinets and get rid of old or expired bath products, makeup, and old medication that accumulates.
- Shine those mirrors!
- Wipe down cabinet tops and fronts, inside drawers too... new shelf liner is a good addition.
- Next up sinks, toilet, and shower/tub... mine are cleaned regularly, but I like to give them a really good scrub with bleach water or Tilex with bleach a few times a year.
- Last, clean the baseboards and floors.
- Declutter these areas by getting rid of clothes that don't fit. NO don't keep them... Be brave. Be brutal.
- Get rid of old purses, shoes, and belts too... I know, I know- but you'll feel better once the clutter is gone.
- Match up all your linens, refold and stack neatly in sets.
- Move seasonal items to a storage bin and put in the attic or garage. If you don't need an item all year long- pack it away and make some space. This goes for heavy blankets as well.
You can do all of your deep cleaning in one day. I don’t generally, because like most, I have a lot of stuff on my plate and an hour or two is all I am willing to devote in one sweep. You really can get most of one room done inside of an hour if you hustle- minus laundry. Then you’ll have the whole rest of your day to do other fun stuff like watching Ellen, breaking out a new book, or throwing open some windows and enjoying the beautiful spring weather!