Now’s the time to enjoy clutter-free, clean living. Start fresh by straightening your space for spring with these quick and easy tips!
Now that winter is winding down, it’s time to brush away the cobwebs and tidy up your home for a fresh start. Spring cleaning can be therapeutic by giving you a chance to reorganize and refocus your life, as well as rid your personal space of dust, dirt, debris and potential contaminants in your home. Here are 10 simple steps to spring cleaning that may make your life easier.
1. Prep to Clean
To protect yourself from allergens and the harsh ingredients in heavy-duty cleaners, wear rubber gloves, a ventilated mask (like those used for painting), protective clothing (ideally with long sleeves) and a hairnet, especially if your hair is past your shoulders. Be sure to also set aside all the cleaning products and materials you may need, such as towels, rags, a duster, a broom, a mop and vacuum.
Studies have shown that organization may help alleviate some stress. The first step to spring cleaning is organizing your space.
Start by sorting any piles lying around and getting rid of excess items you no longer need or use. From old clothes to stacks of newspapers to cluttered drawers to overly packed closets or garages—if it’s expired, or if you haven’t used it in over a year, consider recycling the item, repurposing it for a craft project, giving it to a friend, or, if it’s still in good condition, donating it to a local Salvation Army or Goodwill. This means going through your pantry, refrigerator, medicine cabinet and cosmetics drawer and throwing away old items.
3. Dust from Top to Bottom
It’s easy to forget about the cobwebs in corners and the dust that builds up on ceiling fans or vents. Dust these areas first, and then work your way down by dusting furniture, shelves, books, pictures, TVs, computers and knick-knacks. This will force dirt to the floor, where you can later vacuum it away.
4. Use Natural Cleaning Products
After dusting, it’s important to disinfect and wipe down frequently used surfaces to get rid of germs, grime, soap scum and discoloration. To avoid harmful chemicals in conventional cleaning products, consider using natural cleaning products instead.
Cleaning with essential oils can help keep you and your family avoid the many potentially harmful ingredients in commercial household cleaners. And the great part is that a little bit goes a long way!
In the kitchen, wipe down cabinets, shelves, the pantry, the refrigerator, the stove and the microwave. Use gentle cleaners or a steam cleaner on any stainless steel appliances. In your bathroom, disinfect the vanity, sink, fixtures, mirrors, toilet, shower, tub and the floors. Change your shower curtain liner and consider installing a new bathroom fan. Around the house, sanitize the doors and light switches.
5. Wipe Walls and Windows
Dust usually settles on furniture, floors or other surfaces, but walls and windows can be dirty too. Use a sponge or damp towel to wipe down walls, window blinds or screens, starting from the top. When it comes to curtains, many can be laundered, steam cleaned or dry cleaned. For the actual window, use a squeegee to get sparkling clean glass.
6. Vacuum Smarter
Using a vacuum with HEPA filtration will help remove 99.97% of microscopic particles, such as dirt, dust, pet dander and other impurities, from your air. HEPA filters are especially helpful for temporary relief of symptoms related to allergies, such as respiratory irritation. Be sure to use the attachments to clean in tight spaces between or behind furniture, on pillows and more.
Spring is also a good time to clean out your car. After washing the exterior, use a shop vacuum to clean carpets and cloth seats. You can also vacuum and shampoo the rugs in your car and in your home.
7. Change Air Filters
Having had your windows shut and your heat on for most of the winter, your home is probably full of stale air, dust, bacteria, viruses and dust mites.
When was the last time you changed your air filters? Improve air quality by following the recommended 60-90 day regular rotation for changing your air filters. This will reduce dust build-up and keep your air circulation system working properly. You can find filters of various sizes for as low as under $9 per filter when you think ahead and order pack sizes.
8. Control Humidity
Run a dehumidifier in the most active areas of the home, such as the living room or bedroom to prevent bacteria or mold growth.
9. Add In-door Plants
A study by NASA reports that adding plants around the home or office may reduce some toxins in the air that are released by the chemicals coating computers, furniture and from cleaning products. Read more about indoor air quality here.
10. Practice Safety
Spring is a great time to change the batteries in smoke detectors (this should be done twice a year), check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher, install a carbon monoxide monitor in your home, review your family emergency preparedness plan and pack an emergency supply kit.
Your home is your sanctuary. Keep it clean and safe year-round with these additional tips to enjoy a clutter-free, healthier lifestyle.
What spring-cleaning shortcuts work in your household? Share them in the comments below!