There are few things more satisfying than greeting the warm spring air with the knowledge that you have a squeaky clean home. However, getting your home to that point can be overwhelming – where do you start? What needs the most attention? And the list goes on.
Creating a to-do list is a great first step. It helps you to narrow down what needs to be done and to prioritize where you will start first. It is also helpful to realize that this won’t all get accomplished in one weekend – breaking these tasks down can ease your stress and make spring cleaning much more manageable. Unsure how to get begin? Start with de-cluttering your home. We all tend to collect a lot of stuff between summertime and spring and this time of year is a great reminder to go through your home and rid it of anything you don’t need. As realtors, we see a lot of homes – some are immaculate and others are less so – but a clean, de-cluttered home will always show better than a home with a lot of junk. Even if you don’t plan on moving anytime soon, this is a great practice to get into each spring. Donate gently used toys, clothes, etc. to a local charity, hold a garage sale or simply throw away things you don’t need.
Once you’ve purged your home of clutter, then it’s time to begin the cleaning process. Your home is now a blank slate and is just about ready to greet the warm spring air. To get you started, MarthaStewart.com has a great list of chores to tackle:
Wipe Walls and Ceilings: Use a vacuum to remove dust. Tackle stubborn surface grime, especially prevalent in kitchens, with a solvent-free degreaser (test it first in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t mar the surface).
Reseal Grout Lines: The cement-based material between wall, floor, and countertop tiles is extremely porous and stains easily. Protect it with a penetrating grout sealer; it’s best to apply it with a small foam brush.
Vacuum and Shampoo Rugs: Synthetic carpets and rugs with waterproof backings can be deep-cleaned with a rotary shampoo machine and a hot-water extraction machine. Rugs without backings, including Orientals, require professional cleaning.
Dust Books and Shelves: Take everything off the Shelves, and brush shelves and books with a feather duster. Use the dust-brush or crevice tool on a vacuum to reach into tight spots. Wipe the spines of leather-bound books with a clean, soft cloth.
Clean Upholstered Furnishings: Take cushions outside and gently beat them by hand to remove dust. If there are stains, check the pieces for care labels. Use a vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean under seat cushions.
Polish Metal Door and Window Hardware: Liquid polishes and polish-impregnated cloths work well for medium-tarnished surfaces; pastes and creams are for heavier work. If tarnish doesn’t come off, try a stronger product.
Dust Your Home Thoroughly: This includes hard-to-reach places, such as the tops of ceiling fans and window casings. Always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor. Avoid using dusting sprays.
Wax Wooden Furniture: Wipe surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with water and mild dishwashing liquid. Apply paste wax, such as Butcher’s wax, a few feet at a time with a cotton rag folded into a square pad. Let wax dry; buff with a clean cloth.
Ensure Fire Safety: Change batteries in smoke detectors (this should be done twice a year), and make sure units are free of dust. Teach everyone in your household how to use a fire extinguisher, and review escape plans.
Wash Window Screens: Using warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush; rinse thoroughly.
Clean Window Treatments: Many draperies and curtains are machine washable; check labels. Dry-clean fabric shades. Wipe wooden blinds with a damp cloth; warm water mixed with a mild dishwashing liquid is safe for metal and vinyl blinds.
Wax Non-Wood Floors: Vinyl and linoleum floors that have lost their shine should be waxed with a polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be treated with either a paste or a liquid wax designed for the material.
What are some of your “must do” chores during spring cleaning?
-Ali Hatley is a Principal & REALTOR with the Living Down South Group