Have you been putting off the spring cleaning? You can hardly be blamed, given everything that’s been happening in the world as of late. However, spring cleaning isn’t just an annual tradition — it’s actually beneficial to your health.
Why Did Spring Cleaning Become a Thing, Anyhow?
Back in the days before clean heating sources, efforts to fend off the winter cold included burning a lot of wood or coal — and room lamps were lit with kerosene or oil. By the time that spring rolled around and brought mild weather and longer days, there was a lawyer of soot on just about every wall and household surface.
The spring cleaning tradition was born. Despite its ultimately practical roots, spring cleaning also has several benefits for your physical and psychological well-being, namely:
- It improves productivity: Think of all the time you can save once you know where everything is again and it’s all neatly organized. Plus, it’s easier to focus without a list of undone tasks hanging over your head.
- It helps you breathe easier: A lot of household dust collects over the winter months, even in today’s world. Clearing that all out can help you cope with allergies and asthma.
- It can reduce your stress: When your surroundings are disordered, your thoughts tend to be equally chaotic. An orderly home can lower your anxiety and improve your mood.
With all that in mind, it’s time to gather your supplies and tackle the job. If you’re ready to give your home a little love, here’s how to get started:
1. Trust Us: Set a Schedule
You can’t do an effective deep-clean of your home without a game plan, so it’s best to sit down with a pen and your calendar before you pick up that dust cloth or mop. Cleaning the whole house at one go can be overwhelming, so consider breaking the job down over several days (or even several weekends).
2. Tackle the Bathrooms First
Grab that multi-purpose cleaner and start here. After all, this is the one room that everybody in the house uses, so it’s probably got the most hidden dirt. You can make the job go quickly, however, if you spray down the tub and shower first with your cleaner. That will break down any oils and grime as you work on other things before scrubbing. Then, follow this checklist:
- Clean the toilets
- Scrub the sink, including the fixtures
- Wipe down the vanity
- Wash the mirrors
- Sweep and mop
- Wipe the baseboards
- Clean the tile grout on the floor
- Replace the shower curtain liner with a fresh one
- Wipe down the walls
- Clear out old products from the shower
- Clear out old products from the medicine cabinet
- Clean out any old makeup and wash the makeup brushes
When you’re done, wiping down the shower and tubs will be quick and easy and your bathrooms should be sparkling and fresh again!
3. Next, It’s Your Kitchen’s Turn
Kitchens tend to gather a lot of odds and ends and you spend so much time tidying up after meals that it can be easy to overlook the rest. Well, it’s time to put that to rights. Here’s a good list to use:
- Clean out the fridge. Check the dates and throw out any old condiments.
- Pull out the fridge drawers and wash them. Wipe down the inside of the fridge.
- Pull everything out of your pantry and throw away any expired items.
- Donate any boxed or canned food that is still good but not likely to be used.
- Wash down the cabinets (inside and out) before refilling them.
- Pull out the stove, the dishwasher and the ‘fridge and vacuum behind them.
- Run your dishwasher on empty to clean it and give the countertops and sink a scrub.
Once you’ve done all this, we highly recommend that you put an “out of order” sign up for the night and tell your family that you’re ordering a takeaway for dinner. (That won’t preserve the purity of your super-clean kitchen very long, but it will give you a breather.)
4. Throw Everyone out and Tackle the Living Room
Living rooms, family rooms, game rooms and other common areas can all be tackled best when they’re empty, so pick a nice day for this task and tell everyone to get out of the house (and out of your way) for some exercise while you:
- Declutter: Ask yourself if whatever you’re looking at either provides you some joy when you see it, carries an important memory or is functional. If it isn’t, let it go.
- Take a broom to the ceiling and the corners of the room to clear out cobwebs.
- Wipe down the walls and the baseboards (including those behind the couch).
- Wipe down furniture, lampshades and objects of art so that your room is dust-free.
- Wipe off the electronics and organize the cords so that they’re tidy.
- Shake out pillows, wash any throws and shake out the rugs.
Remember: As you work, always go “top to bottom,” so that you’re moving dust and dirt where it can be easily swept up or vacuumed at the end.
5. Finally, It’s Time for the Bedrooms
Depending on how many bedrooms you have in use, this could be a one-weekend job or several, but here’s the list for each room:
- Get rid of any clutter. If something has been sitting around for the better part of a year unused, unread or unworn, it’s time for it to go.
- Clean out the dresser drawers and your closets. Use the same rule as above. Donate your old clothes if you think they still have life in them. Otherwise, consign them to a rag basket.
- Pull off your comforter, sheets, pillowcases, mattress pads and curtains. Everything needs to go into the wash.
- Again, starting from the top, brush off the ceiling with a broom, wipe down the walls and wash the baseboards. Pull out the furniture and sweep the rugs.
- Make sure that you remember to wipe down headboards, footboards, lamps and bed stands, as well any knickknacks.
Whew! That’s a lot of work — but it’s so, so worth it. Once you’re finished, you’ll likely find yourself much more at ease and able to focus on both work and play a lot better.