Spring Cleaning Checklist
The weather is warming up and no doubt the "honey-do" list has grown since we've all been stuck at home for a month. You might have a list by now that seems a little daunting. Why not take some time to start with a little spring cleaning? This is a great opportunity to tackle those areas of the house that have been neglected because, well, it's just not fun and who has the time usually? If the task seems too large, why not break it up into several weekends so you don't become overwhelmed? Tackle one room or area a weekend and you will find it will all be done in no time.
One of the reasons to perform intensive spring cleaning is to perform maintenance and upkeep checks--for instance, making sure that your appliances are working properly.
We'll start on the outside and move our way in. Be sure to get the whole family involved--many hands make light work. You can barter for screen time or use of the family car - whatever works to get everyone involved. Turn it into a yearly tradition, a signal that summer fun is almost here.
First, a few rules: Never mix cleaning products. Bleach plus with ammonia can equal death. Start at the top and work your way down. Inventory your cleaning supplies and products and make sure you have enough--garbage bags, vacuum bags, paper towels, rags, rubber gloves, etc. Take them with you in a bucket or other container so you won't have to go searching for what you need. Have plenty of cold water and high-energy snacks on hand (nuts, dried fruit, cheese, vegetables) to fuel your endeavor.
□Tackle the garage. Appraise your tool collection--get rid of tools you don't use or that are rusted or beyond repair. Make a pile of things to sell in the garage sale and things to haul to the dump. Install pegboard with hooks on the walls to hang tools and implements. Make a special place for outdoor toys, bikes, scooters, skates, etc. Finish by sweeping and hosing down the floor. Use "J" hooks to hang bicycles from the rafters and install shelving to stack storage bins with items clearly labeled so you don't have to hunt for those Christmas bins.
□ Inspect the roof for loose shingles, for mushy places, for debris. Get the hose up there and spray it off. Remove debris from gutters. Ensure that gutters aren't loose or in disrepair.
□ Examine exterior paint, brick or siding. Touch it up if needed. Check window screens for needed repairs or replacement, then power wash the outside of the house, including the windows. I have referrals for great services if you're in need of one or you can rent a power washer from Home Depot.
□ Clean up woodpiles and other debris which serve as homes for pests. Make sure stacks of wood are not piled up against the house.
□ Check your lawn sprinkler system for maintenance problems.
□ Drain all sediment from your hot water heater.
□ Perform maintenance on home cooling systems, air conditioning or swamp coolers before hot weather warrants their use.
□ Go through each bedroom closet. Box up any clothing that has not been worn for more than two years and donate it to a local charity. Or like Marie Kondo says, if it doesn't "spark joy" it should be donated. Perform repairs (sewing buttons, fixing hems, stain removal) before storing winter clothes. Your local Dry Cleaner can often do this for you as well.
□ Clean your Kid's & Pet's Toys - Don't overlook the convenience of your dishwasher. It can take on more than just plates, including your children's (and pet's) plastic toys. Just choose the crystal or quick cycle and skip the heated dry. For stuffed animals, check the care tag first and then gather in a mesh bag or pillowcase and throw in the washer on a gentle cycle. A quick once-over with a lint roller can help too.
□ Dry clean winter coats and donate those that haven't been worn.
□ Go through your makeup, hair and skincare products and check for expiration dates. It may be time to install some under counter organizers or medicine cabinets for better organization. It's a great time to clean those makeup brushes as well!
□ Using a vacuum hose, dust out each closet thoroughly--walls, shelves, ceilings, floors. You might find some additional items that need donating!
□ Using a telescoping vacuum extension, sweep away all cobwebs and dust near the ceilings.
□ Throughout the house, remove all wall decorations and wash down the walls throughout the house using 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda to 1 gallon of warm water. Trust me - there could be bugs lurking behind those frames!
□ Vacuum-dust all baseboards and wash them down using the above solution.
□ Wash all inside windows. Vacuum out the tracks. Vacuum/wash/dry clean all window coverings.
□ Dust and wash light fixtures and chandeliers. Vacuum lampshades. Replace light bulbs with LEDs.
□ Wash all knickknacks. Vacuum books and bookshelves. Maybe it's time to donate some of these as well!
□ Dust and wash down all interior doors. Might be time for a new coat of paint or an upgrade to a new door.
□ Remove heat registers, dust and wash thoroughly.
□ Clean out and reorganize the linen closet. Repair fraying towels and washcloths, or throw them out and replace.
□ With a vacuum brush, remove hair stuck to walls and ceiling by hair dryers and hair spray.
□ Deep clean shower, toilet, floor and sink. If you haven't already changed to a low-flow toilet, it may be a good time to do so for energy saving.
□To freshen drains (not unclog them) and help keep them free-flowing, mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup table salt. Pour the mixture down the drain, followed by 1 cup heated vinegar. It will foam and bubble. Let it stand for 15 minutes — longer does not work any better. Follow by running hot tap water for at least 15 to 30 seconds. This is especially good for seldom-used drains, like in a guest bathroom.
□ Inventory the medicine cabinet and toss expired medicines.
□ Defrost freezer (if needed) and wash out refrigerator. Toss out expired foods.
□ Remove screen on stove fan and wash. Clean oven and soak stove rings and drip pans.
□ Go through your kitchen appliances, clean thoroughly and get rid of ones you no longer use regularly. You might even find that long lost mixer that you've been looking for so you can try one of those new bread recipes! Try some new storage solutions as well with ideas from Ikea and the Container Store online.
□ Use your vacuum on the front of the refrigerator coils and motor to remove dust and dirt.
□ Clean your washing machine by adding 2 cups of white vinegar and run it through a complete cycle. Run another cycle at highest temperature and add 1/2c baking soda. When cycle is done wipe inside drum of washer with a damp microfiber cloth
□ Launder all curtains, quilts, blankets, comforters and bedspreads. Turn mattresses.
□ Move furniture to the center of each room and vacuum thoroughly. Shampoo carpets.
□ Inventory the contents of each room. Force yourself to get rid of the things you don't need. If you haven't referenced it in the last 6 months you probably don't need it. Time to pass it along to someone else.
□ If you have something of value, try listing it on Facebook Marketplace or EBay or have it appraised by an industry expert and sell it at auction. If not, you can find local donation centers are still accepting donations.
Enjoy the finished product and if you need references for any services including sanitization and no-contact organizing please let me know!