I think we can all agree — it’s been a long, hard winter. But, now that the blossom is blooming, frozen grounds are thawing, and spring break plans are forming, there’s no better way to step into spring than by decluttering, reorganizing, and sprucing up your home!
Need more reasons why it’s a good idea to do a thorough spring cleaning?
- The average U.S. resident spends 90 percent of their time indoors
- Twenty percent of American homes have experienced a bed bug infestation
- 10 square feet of carpet can house over 100,000 live dust mites
- 3.2 million bacteria live on every square inch of the average toilet bowl
- Most kitchen sinks actually house more germs than the toilet
- If you clean for 2 hours, you can burn up to 200 calories
To help you on your way, here are our 9 rules to swear by when embarking on a bout of spring cleaning.
1. Don’t rush it
Be sure to set aside enough time to achieve what you want. There’s nothing worse than emptying the closet of all your random possessions and realizing you have just 30 minutes until date night, your dentist appointment, or the kids come home from school. You’ll feel defeated and left wishing you never opened the proverbial can of worms.
Tip: Allow yourself a whole weekend to get down and dirty. Throw on your comfiest sweats, turn up your favorite tunes, and get to work.
2. Let the fresh air roll in
During winter, the warm, dry air in your home is a breeding ground for dust, germs, and allergens. After relying on heat to get you through the big freeze, there may be nothing more therapeutic than feeling a fresh spring breeze wafting through the house.
Tip: Open your windows and doors before you start cleaning. It’s good for the soul and will help ventilate your place if you’re cleaning with chemicals.
3. Be brutal
If you haven’t worn it or used it in 12 months, it’s time for a trip to the thrift store. Don’t worry about whether it’s practical, handy, comfy, or pretty. Ask yourself only one question — do I wear it? And just think, with all that new closet space you can schedule yourself a shopping spree.
Tip: Capsule wardrobes are all the rage, especially when you live in a place that’s tight on closet space. Build yourself a minimalist wardrobe around your favorite items so you can mix and match to create different outfits. Then treat yourself to a few new items each season!
4. Don’t let your kitchen be a nightmare
If it’s in your fridge and you haven’t eaten it by now, you’re never going to (or never should). And remember the impulse-purchase fondue pot and sushi roller that you subsequently stuffed on top of the fridge? Let’s just be honest and admit that they’re never going to happen. It’s time to find them a new home where they’ll be used and loved.
Tip: After degriming your kitchen, give your cleaning sponge some love — it’s a breeding ground for germs! Microwave it on high for 2 minutes to kill 99 percent of all bacteria.
5. No neglecting the nooks and crannies
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a belief we often subscribe to when cleaning our homes. But, as tempting as it may be, don’t overlook areas that are hard to reach. Yes, I see you there, ignoring your light fixtures and fans.
Tip: Look on top of the fridge, pull cupboards away from the wall, and lift up your couch. You’ll be surprised by how much dust collects when you aren’t looking (and you may even discover those lost pet toys). Sometimes the grimiest places are the most satisfying to clean. And the silver lining is that you won’t need to go to the gym afterwards.
6. Be sure to sweat the small stuff
While we’re on the subject of neglect, don’t forget the small things you touch on the regular! Light switches, door knobs, and remote controls are often the largest carriers for dangerous bacteria. In fact, a 2012 study by the American Society for Microbiology found that remote controls were 3 times dirtier than anything else in a hotel room!
Tip: Clean from top to bottom. By cleaning the highest surfaces first and working your way down, you definitely won’t miss a spot.
7. Face the enemy
Battle the dreaded — clean the oven, microwave, grill, blinds, and dryer. It’ll be worth it in the end when your equipment lasts longer and works better.
Tip: Patience is key when battling grease. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste, spread it on your greasy oven or grill, and leave it to work its magic overnight before wiping clean. To clean the inside of your microwave, place half a lemon in a bowl of water and heat for 2 minutes, carefully remove the bowl, and then wipe clean.
8. Think outside the box
… or outside the home. When spring cleaning, remember the items you take with you every day. Headphones, keys, handbags, and phones are all walking germ factories, and we largely have our own unwashed hands to blame. In fact, a recent study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found E. coli bacteria on 1 in 6 phones!
Tip: Have a pack of antibacterial wipes at the ready to give your transportable possessions a wipe down once a week. And don’t forget to wash your hands!
9. Use our eco- (and wallet-) friendly cleaning tips
While you’re making your place sparkle, stay green and save some green with these double-duty solutions. You probably have them in the house already.
- White vinegar will change your life. Spray a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water on your glass table and windows, wipe clean with an old newspaper, and prepare to see your reflection!
- Baking soda is your best friend. The list of uses is almost endless. To unclog your drain, pour baking soda down it, followed by white vinegar. Watch it bubble and work its magic for an hour, and then rinse with hot water.
- Coffee grounds make things smell better. No, seriously! Just place a bowl of used coffee grounds in your fridge to ward off unpleasant odors.
- Lemons: no longer just for lemonade. Use lemon juice and water to clean counter tops, remove stains from Tupperware®, and even give yourself a facial!
All right, cleaning’s done. Now go treat yourself! Pizza? Beer? Flowers? A vacation? Go nuts, you deserve it.