With the winter months seeming to drag on and the snow overstaying its welcome, it’s safe to say that everyone in Charm City is looking forward to the spring season. Most homeowners, however, do not look forward to the annual tradition of spring cleaning. Sure, when all is said and done and you have a clean and organized house you gain an immense amount of satisfaction. But … it sort of sucks doing it, right?
That’s why we’re here with an easy list of items that you can start right now before the official season begins and the pressure turns on. Like with most things in life, you’re better off taking large tasks in smaller doses.
#1 Cut Out the Clutter
The best place to start with any big cleaning task is getting rid of the clutter. This is something you can easily do on a cold winter weekend when you really don’t feel like being outside anyway. Put on some music and start peeling through your closet for clothes you didn’t wear all winter, or maybe some warm weather clothes you didn’t use last year. Make a nice pile and visit your nearest donation center. You can also donate anything else you haven’t used in a long time like that old coffee table, pile of frames you haven’t dusted off and used in years, or box of old DVDs. Don’t forget that it’s also tax season and if you itemize deductions, you may be entitled to claim a charitable deduction for your donations. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a taxpayer can deduct the fair market value of clothing, household goods, used furniture, shoes, books and so forth.
If you are more interested in selling than donating your unused items, making an organized (key word: organized) stash in the corner of your basement for a yard sale you can host on the next nice weekend you can find on the weather forecast.
Either way, you will feel 1,000 times better when you make some room in your closet, basement, and attic.
#2 Do Some Dusting
There are some things that just sort of get left undone throughout the year. And for a lot of people, dusting is one of them. You can wipe down surfaces here and there but what about dusting those ceiling fans or cleaning the air vents? Probably not as often. You also want to go throughout your house and take everything off the shelves and brush it all down with a duster. Use the dust-brush or crevice tool on a vacuum to reach into tight spots. There are plenty of products out there now to make dusting, dare I say, fun. Remember to always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor.
#3 Wash Window Treatments
One of the best things about those first warm days of Spring is being able to open up all the windows and air the house out. You don’t want that warm air blowing in through your dirty drapes and curtains though do you? Many of these items are machine washable, and if not, can be dropped off for a quick dry clean. Wipe down those wooden blinds with a damp cloth and you’ll be ready for that fresh breeze in no time.
#4 Add Sparkle to Your Appliances
Our day-to-day appliances rarely get a break, never mind a good cleaning. Now is a great time to give a little TLC to these three items:
If you’re like most families, your microwave is one of the most abused appliances in your kitchen. Cooked-on food stains from who knows what litter the insides and begs for a cleaning. It’s actually pretty easy to clean if you do it the right way. Start off by simply loosening all of the gunk with some water and vinegar. Add a few drops of vanilla and lemon juice to add to the scent. Heat the mixture in a bowl on high for one minute and then let that sit for 10 minutes before opening the door. Once that’s done, you should be able to easily wipe down the inside with a damp clean cloth.
We’ve all had that moment when we load the dishwasher and notice there’s some not-so-clean looking stuff at the bottom. We see it, but shrug it off thinking, “meh that will come out in this wash.” But it rarely does…which is why you need to take some time to deodorize your dishwasher. First, remove and clean the filters (wait there’s a filter?) in warm, soapy water. Then, take out your old friend vinegar and poor a cup into the dispenser of the empty dishwasher and run the machine on a heavy cycle. For an even better clean, add baking soda and let it sit overnight. The next day, when you likely have a pile of dishes in the sink waiting for the dishwasher, run an empty cycle and scrub anything leftover down with a soft brush.
Guess what? Take that vinegar back out. Set the washer to the highest level and the hottest water temperature. Add two cups of white vinegar (six-percent acid) to detergent dispenser. Run it through a complete cycle. Run another cycle on the highest level and at the hottest water temperature, this time adding one-half cup of baking soda to the drum. When cycle is done, wipe inside drum of washer with a damp microfiber cloth. While you’re at it, wipe down the front of the machine, too.
So there you have it. Four simple ways to kick start your spring cleaning. Don’t you feel better already?