The spring season is already here and with it arrives the warm weather, lots of sun rays and more time spent outdoors.
We usually clean our floors, appliances and other amenities regularly, but there are certain types of messes that pile up with time, and spring is usually the perfect opportunity to deal with them, because the weather is warm and inspires change.
Here are some spring cleaning tasks you should add to your checklist for this season!
Inside the House
The kitchen cabinets often get forgotten for months. We keep piling kitchen accessories, plates or spices in them, but we rarely remember to take a look in there, clean the dust a little and maybe arrange and organise.
Spring is the perfect time to clean up and declutter the kitchen cabinets. Here’s how to clean kitchen cabinets quickly and efficiently:
- Take everything out of the cupboard and divide everything into two groups – the items you will keep, and the items you must throw away. For spices, pay attention to the expiration dates and if the spice is in good condition (sometimes these things catch air and become useless).
- Remove any leftover spices, spilled pasta and everything else using a dry cloth or a table broom.
- Get some wet wipes designed for wood or the appropriate spray cleaner and a clean cloth and wipe the inside of the cabinet thoroughly. This will remove any leftover dirt and dust. Leave it to dry afterwards.
- Organise the items in a comfortable way and place them back in the cupboard. For the spice and ingredient cabinet, you can consider placing the different items in small labelled jars or containers, to prevent future spills.
Just like the kitchen cabinets, we like to pile all kinds of things in our bathroom cabinets, from countless almost empty shampoo bottles to razors we meant to throw away and small leftover soaps which are uncomfortable to use, but we keep them for no reason.
These cabinets could definitely use a good spring cleaning. Empty them, throw away those almost empty, expired or piling items, wipe the inside of the cabinet, dry it off and place the remaining items back.
The spring is also a good time to consider getting new soap holders, toothbrush holders, brushes and other accessories, as well as getting rid of the old towels and buying new ones.
This one cabinet is extremely important because the health of your entire family depends on it. Spare some time to empty the entire cabinet, check every medicine separately and make sure it’s still good.
Throw away everything expired or suspicious-looking, nothing is worth risking your health over. Place the remaining items back in the medicine cabinet. You should also make a list of all the general medicines and supplements your family needs, but are missing, and get everything from your local pharmacy.
Common remedies you may need this spring are aspirin, sunscreen, sunburn spray, allergy and asthma medicine, and other similar items, depending on your personal needs.
We all have a closet or a wardrobe that is overflowing and the doors can no longer keep all those clothes contained. It’s understandable that we love all our clothes and don’t want to get rid of anything, but there always comes a point when the situation becomes absurd and we realise we don’t need so many pieces of clothing.
The spring is a good time to bring out the shorter sleeves and shorts, so why not use the occasion to organise the space and declutter a little by getting rid of the things we don’t wear?
Here are a few tips to help you clean your closet:
- Get three boxes – one for the things you will throw away, one for the things you could eventually donate, and one for the things you want to keep.
- Go through all your clothes and decide what to keep and what has to go. Some questions which might help you decide are:
- When was the last time I wore this?
- Does it fit?
- Do I look good it in and would I wear it again?
If the answers are basically “I don’t remember” and “No”, then you know what has to be done. Some clothes are tough to throw away, but this is an important step in decluttering your life.
- Dust the inside of the closet, wipe all the shelves, replace any broken hangers or hooks, get new freshener sachets and make sure there are no cracks, signs of mould, water damage or any moths inside.
- Arrange all your clothes into categories – pants, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc.
- Fold the clothes neatly and place them in their predetermined shelves or hangers. Some of the hanger items could also probably use some preliminary ironing, this way you will save time later when you need them.
Desks and paperwork
Nowadays everything is digital, but there are still many homes where there are desks filled with paperwork, or there are magazines piled on the coffee table, as well as various documents and small items rolling around the shelves.
All these small messes are what makes a house a home, but sooner or later they start to take over and it’s up to us to put a stop to it.
As part of your spring cleaning efforts, you can go through all your paperwork and magazines, pick the oldest ones and throw them away. Take a look at your shelves and get rid of anything that doesn’t have a sentimental or monetary value.
You should also empty the shelves completely and clean the dust from them, as dust settles in places like that. Also, go over each book with a dry cloth.
Basements and attics
The basements and attics are one of the most popular things people dread to spring clean and declutter because we usually use these places as storage for all the things we don’t use or don’t fit anywhere else in the house.
Many couples use the basement or attic as a place where they keep mementos of their lives before moving in together (or things your significant other wanted you to throw away, but you couldn’t).
As difficult as it is, not decluttering these spaces for a long time can lead to pest infestations, mould, and many other unpleasant results of neglect, so it’s best to get it done as soon as possible.
The spring cleaning procedure for basements and attics is quite simple:
- Go through all the items, decide which to keep and which to throw away or donate.
- Get everything out, vacuum the place, dust it, remove spider webs and inspect the place for cracks, pestholes, cracked pipes, water damage, mould and mildew, and anything else harmful.
- Place the items you will keep back and make sure they are properly stored.
The ventilation system is pivotal for every home, because it brings the so much needed fresh air inside, cools the house during the summer and warms it during winter. But since it pulls air from outside, it also pulls dust, dirt, small insects, dried leaves and small twigs as well (basically everything that can be picked up by the wind).
The filters prevent all that from coming inside your home, but this only means that the dirt stays inside the ducts, slowly clogging them and contaminating the air inside. Cleaning the ducts can be a tricky business, but it needs to be done at least twice a year – during spring cleaning and once before winter arrives.
All you need is a brush, a vacuum, a screwdriver, some paper towels and a new furnace filter to replace the old, dirty one.
Here’s how you can clean your vent ducts:
- Cover up your supply air registers (the openings which supply air to the rooms) with paper towels. Just pick up the lid, wrap it in paper and put it back in. This will prevent dislodged dirt from getting inside the rooms while you work.
- Set the thermostat to “fan on,” and shut down the “heat/cool” option, so that only the fan is running. It will move the dust along while you’re loosening it with your brushing.
- Make sure the current furnace filter is in place, so the dust you loosen doesn’t get pulled into the fan motor.
- Get a brush with a long handle and start knocking down all the dirt you can reach. Use the screwdriver to remove the lids, put the brush inside as far as you can, and start banging and brushing as much as possible. You can start from the basement and work your way up. Everything inside the ducts is probably dampened from the moisture, so you’ll have to be persistent.
- Now it’s time to clean the supply registers (the things you covered with paper towels). Get the vacuum cleaner, gently remove the lid and try to put the hose as close as you can, to suck in all the dirt that will be coming out of there. Have in mind that the fan is working, it will be basically spitting dirt and you have to act quickly with the vacuum. You can also use the brush to clean any dried dirt in the supply register.
- Clean the return air registers. They will probably be fastened with a screw too. Loosen them, then brush and sweep as far back into the register as you can.
- Shut the fan down at the thermostat and cut the power off to the furnace via the breaker panel.
- Clean the blower compartment and return air boot. They are located behind the panels on the front of the furnace. Use the vacuum, since there’s probably lots of dust in there. Since you already opened it, you can also wipe the furnace fan.
- Place the new furnace filter and make sure everything is screwed back on before you use the system again.
Outside the House
Another unfortunate place, which gets used as a storage space for items we rarely use and end up collecting dust. Cleaning out the garage is similar to cleaning out the basement or attic, you have to go through all the things you own and decide what to keep and what to toss. You should also sweep and dust the place, as well as clean any oil marks from the floor and furniture.
Use a commercial cleaner or try a paste of baking soda and water. Also, any tools you might keep in your garage could also use a good cleaning and organising, so you can easily find them when you need them. You can use commercial degreasers, mineral spirits, talc or kerosene to remove all the oil and grease from them.
For a more in-depth guide of how to declutter your garage this spring, you can read our guide here.
The outside part of the windows
Ideally, outdoor windows should be cleaned at least twice a year – once in spring, and once in the beginning of fall.
One important rule you should follow when cleaning windows is to never do it on a rainy day, but too much sun is also not in your favour.
Aim for a time of day when the sun isn’t directed at the windows, because this will make them dry too quickly and the detergent will leave a mark. As for the tools, avoid using newspaper, because it leaves lint behind, instead invest in a furry t-bar, a bucket, a squeegee, a few microfibre cloths and a sponge.
Here’s a quick step by step window cleaning:
- Prepare the cleaning solution. You can either use water with some liquid dish detergent, a spray window cleaner or a cup of vinegar diluted in a bucket of water. We would recommend soapy water for highly soiled outdoor windows.
- First, you should wash the panes. Dip the sponge in the soapy water and use it to loosen the dirt on the panes, then use some fresh water to wash them down.
- Dip the t-bar in the bucket, let it soak as much as possible. Then apply the t-bar to the window glass and spread the solution all over it, gently rubbing to remove any sand and dust.
- Get the squeegee and the microfibre cloth, apply the squeegee at the top and run it all the way down. Then wipe the blade with the cloth and repeat by overlapping the lines a little, in order to avoid streaks. Wipe the blade after each time.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe all the corners and any leftover water on the panes. For a more in-depth window cleaning guide, check ours here.
The patio or driveway
The patio and driveway are constantly exposed to unpleasant substances and various weather conditions, which make them look dirty and unwelcoming. Cleaning these parts of the house is time-consuming and difficult that’s why most people hire professionals.
But sooner or later it has to be done, and it’s best to do it sooner before the dirt, grime and oils settle in the concrete for good.
Here’s how you can clean your patio without a pressure cleaner:
- Sweep the patio or driveway. This way you will remove all the leaves, twigs, soil and dust from the surface.
- Mix your solution of choice. You can either use a concrete and tile cleaner from the store diluted with some water, a bleach and water solution or some pure vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Wet the ground with some water. This will help the solution dig into the dirt faster and more efficiently.
- Pour the chosen solution all over the driveway or patio, leave it for at least half an hour, or even an hour, if you have the time. It will eat through all the oils and dirt deposits in the nooks and crannies.
- Get a sturdy brush and brush the entire surface thoroughly. It will take some effort, but the results will be worth it.
- Once the stains and dirt are removed, you should rinse away the patio with a hose. Repeat the process if you’re not happy with the results.
The gutters often get clogged by leaves and twigs over time, and an important spring cleaning task is to go up there and remove all the excess dirt.
If you postpone this chore for too long, your gutters can get damaged by the extra weight, which can lead to roof damage, leaks, staining of the exterior walls, and a lot more.
Here’s some advice on how to handle cleaning your gutters:
- You will need a long-sleeved shirt to avoid scratches and rubber gloves to protect your hands.
- Get a good ladder, which will hold your weight, and consider investing in stabilisers or the so-called “ladder horns”, which will make things more stable and you will avoid damage to your gutters, which happens often when people press ladders against the gutter.
- Use a plastic scoop or a small plastic shovel to remove the gunk from inside the gutters.
- Bring some trash bags and gather all the dirt in them, this way you will avoid cleaning the ground afterwards.
- Once you’re done collecting the dirt, flush the gutters with a garden hose, to remove all the leftovers from the downpipes.
Take care of the exterior walls
The exterior walls take a big hit each winter since they are the main thing that protects us from the harsh weather. Take a look at your walls, and if you see any dirt, stains or paint peeling, then you should take care of it as soon as possible.
You can easily clean painted exterior walls using a pump garden sprayer and a mixture of half a cup of a suitable exterior siding cleaner (like Jomax), one cup of bleach and lots of water (enough to fill a bucket). Spray the walls, leave it to work for around 15 minutes, then get a soft brush and scrub the wall.
This should take care of all the dirt, mildew and mould. Rinse with a garden hose when you’re done. If you have paint peeling, you should consider repainting after the wall dries.