As the cold weather begins to ebb away to let in that fresh air and sunshine, some of us may start to notice the grime and clutter we’ve let build up while huddled inside for winter.
It’s easy not to notice all the little things being overlooked until you’re trying to find your warm-weather clothes and realize that maybe you have a little more than you need tucked away in all those nooks and crannies.
Don’t worry! There are plenty of things you can do to tidy up before spring is officially upon us.
Where Does the Tradition Come From?
You may be wondering where we have gotten this tradition of cleaning up right as the days start to feel longer again, and there are some roots in different cultures around the world that may have a hand in what has become a staple in Western tradition.
In Iran, the new year comes toward the end of March, and they use different symbols of “renewal” to signify the fresh start.
In Judaism, they observe Passover. This holiday involves the consumption of an unleavened bread called “matzah.” During Passover, keeping other leavened breads in the house is considered sacrilegious, so Jewish people thoroughly clean through their homes leading up to the holiday to make sure there is none left. Because Passover happens at the beginning of spring, a lot of people consider this to be a possible spring-cleaning origin.
In China, there is a tradition of cleaning your home and sweeping up to get rid of any evils or bad luck that may have gathered during the previous year.
Any or all these traditions could be the root of this cleaning ritual that is now acknowledged across the Western world.
Why is Spring Cleaning Important?
Performing a yearly deep clean on your home can be beneficial for several reasons.
A Chance to Start Over
Spring cleaning gives you the opportunity to completely start over when it comes to your home. It’s that final push you need to do any renovations or major overhauls you’ve been considering but not quite had the guts to go through with.
If there’s a room in your home that you’re not happy with, now you can make it over into the comfy, chic space you’ve been dreaming of.
Reduces Stress & Improves Productivity
For most people, a messy and cluttered house is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when you’re trying to be productive. Especially in recent years, as more people are starting to work from home, having a clean house can be crucial.
Decluttering the home makes it easier to find things you may need in a rush while working and can save you the headache of tearing your house apart looking for that missing left shoe or the good cake plate for a party. Save yourself some time and some stress by making the effort this spring to organize, and then reap the benefits all year long.
Prevents Long-Term Issues
One benefit of an annual spring cleaning session is that it can prevent any harmful long-term issues you may not have noticed otherwise.
For example, mold build-up. Sometimes, mold can start to grow and fester in the grout of our bathrooms, and we might not even see it until we’re scrubbing down deep and getting into all those dirty nooks and crannies.
Spring cleaning is also a wonderful opportunity to pull apart bigger household appliances like washers, dryers, or ovens and clean all of the smaller components before putting them back together. Regular maintenance of these machines can increase the longevity of their use before needing to be replaced.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What absolutely needs to be cleaned this spring, and how do you do it?
Start with something that covers the whole house and often gets overlooked—the bedding. Gather everybody’s sheets, blankets, duvets, pillowcases, and maybe even your kids’ stuffed animals, and throw them in the wash. Starting with this task means that the wash cycle will be going while you have a chance to get other chores done. Two birds, one stone.
Time to shake out those rugs and say goodbye to all that dust. Pick up any kind of carpeting that isn’t attached to the floor; area rugs, welcome mats, floor runners—grab it all!
Then, step outside and flap with the wind. Shaking out rugs in the backyard or the front lawn is a tried-and-true spring-cleaning activity. You’re going to go through each little carpet you have and shake them and hit them against the ground to knock out all the dust, pet hair, and any other grime that may have gotten stuck in the fibers.
You can even give some particularly worn rugs a hose-down if you think they need it. Then, after you’ve let them dry, give them a quick vacuum again just to really make sure you’ve picked up any lingering dirt and to get all those fibers looking fluffed up and good as new.
For the larger built-in carpets, you’re going to really get in there with your vacuum. Make sure to go over all those heavy foot-traffic areas a few times and break out the spot-treatment if you come across any stains.
As for any other types of flooring like tile, vinyl, or linoleum, the steps are a little different. You can still start by going over your floors with a light vacuum, or sweep if you prefer, to pick up any dirt, dust-bunnies, or hair that may be lingering. If you choose to vacuum, check if you have a setting specifically for use on hard surfaces.
Then, look for any spots that look a little dirtier and try to buff out any build-up or scuff marks you come across. A microfiber cloth and some cleaning spray of your choice works great for this. Take a good look at corners, baseboards, underneath cabinets, and any other hard-to-reach places.
Lastly, you’ll want to give the whole surface a good mopping. You can find floor cleaners specifically for your type of flooring, or you can also create a homemade cleaning solution using a vinegar and water solution.
Make sure to thoroughly dry your floors if they are laid with vinyl as standing water can create lasting damage.
The big targets here are the shower/tub, faucets, and toilets.
Shower/Tub – Whether you have a tub or a standing shower, you need to pay special attention to any areas that may be holding standing water and are therefore extra susceptible to mold growth. These areas should actually be cleaned fairly regularly, but it doesn’t hurt to give them an extra good scrub down now and then. Baking soda is particularly good for whitening your tub, and a bleach and water solution can be helpful when dealing with mold.
Faucets – You can get any built-up grime or mineral deposits off of faucets and shower heads by soaking them in a solution of vinegar and water. This can be done by either filling a bag with the solution and tying it around the faucet, or by soaking a towel in the solution and then wrapping that around the faucet and letting it hang. Either way, after you have allowed the faucets to soak for a while, give them a good scrub and you should be good to go.
Toilets – Your toilets should obviously be cleaned routinely, but if you have any staining or just want to give it a deep clean, there’s no harm in that. Pour some baking soda into the toilet bowl and then use a sponge or toilet brush to spread it around evenly. You can allow this to sit for a few minutes on its own or add in some vinegar to the solution. Rinse off and repeat as necessary.
Your oven is pretty much always a spot that needs some tough love and extra attention.
The first step is to remove your oven racks and determine if they will require a soak or just a fast scrubbing with soap and water. If there appears to be a lot of caked on grease and staining, then soaking them is probably the best way to go. Find a large enough basin for the racks to sit submerged in water, such as a bathtub or any other container you can spare for a while. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is once again a good cleaner here.
Then, while your racks continue soaking in their cleaner, you can move on to washing all of the interior walls of your oven. A similar solution of baking soda and vinegar can be used here, though a thicker paste may be more fruitful so it can stick to the dirty surfaces. Let this mixture sit for a couple of hours before scrubbing off. If stains persist, feel free to repeat the previous steps.
The same type of cleaning can be done to your microwave, though there will hopefully be less grease buildup!
. . . Everything Else
You don’t actually have to clean everything else but giving the house a good once over and tidying a few things last minute can make a world of difference.
Did you forget to pack up any leftover winter items that are no longer serving a purpose this season? Make sure all those heavy blankets, jackets, coats, and heaters get put up for the warmer months, and there is plenty of room in the closet for all your summer clothes.
Run a microfiber cloth or a paper towel over all the glass surfaces with a window cleaner to give them a quick wash.
Are there any particularly cluttered areas that you’ve been meaning to reorganize but haven’t had a chance? There’s no better time to do it than now while you’re still feeling motivated!
Sometimes the kids’ rooms can get overlooked while you’re moving through each section of the house. Get them involved too! Have your children look through their own items and get rid of any toys, books, or clothes they may have outgrown either physically or emotionally. This will immediately improve any messiness in their rooms and prevent toy explosions from happening in your freshly cleaned house.
It’s Your House
Above all, don’t forgot that it’s you who has to live in your house every day. Clean the parts that are important to you and don’t worry too much about meeting others’ expectations. The only real goal with spring cleaning is to look around your house and at the end feel happy with your home and where it’s headed as the year continues.
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