When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If you’ve been forced indoors by Coronavirus, you’ve been given the gift of time. Pair it with these spring cleaning tips, and you have what it takes to make home a place you’ll never want to leave, even after shelter-in-place orders have been lifted!
We’ve rounded up our favorite spring cleaning tips, plus a tried and true process to get you started. Whether you’re part of the 75% of Americans that make this an annual ritual or you’re attempting to tackle the process of spring cleaning for the first time, we hope these tips inspire you to create a home you love.
A Thoughtful Approach to Spring Cleaning
If this is your first time partaking in spring cleaning, the thought of cleaning an entire house can be overwhelming, no matter how many spring cleaning tips you’ve read. Take it step by step, room by room, or project by project. You don’t have to get to every nook and cranny by June, and one project done is better than none. Once you get the ball rolling, you just might find yourself inspired to keep going and check off every item on your spring cleaning wishlist.
Whether you keep it simple or go for an entire house sweep, spring cleaning ought to involve more than simply cleaning. Now is the time to consider how your home storage and layout is working for you. Here’s a simple approach to making the most out of spring cleaning.
1. Remove or move as many items as you can from the space you are cleaning, including furniture.
We all want to get right down to the nitty-gritty of cleaning. But to get a really good cleaning in, move all the items from a space somewhere else. This includes furniture. No excuses! It can seem daunting, but there probably won’t be a better time to do this than right now in Spring 2020.
As you move items away from the space you are focusing on, this is the time to get rid of the things that are needlessly filling up our homes. You’re going through your belongings to clean under them anyway. You might as well return them to their proper place or get rid of unnecessary items. You’ll have a better shot at staying organized all year long if you remove the clutter now.
Do you struggle with letting go of clutter? Check out our tips on letting go of stuff with sentimental value.
2. Next, move onto cleaning.
After you’ve decluttered and moved items away from the space, you’ll have a clear canvas. Time to start cleaning!
Here is my favorite of all of our spring cleaning tips: stock up on these ingredients (if possible) and you’ll be able to create any cleaner necessary, no matter what job presents itself.
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- A spray bottle
Add a bottle of essential oil to that list if scents are important to you.
With these ingredients on hand, you’ll never find yourself at a loss for a certain type of cleaner in the midst of a project. You can find a recipe online for just about any surface or object using these chemical-free materials!
3. Consider the function of each room or area.
You’ve just decluttered a space, moved the furniture and cleaned it. Take advantage of the moment and consider how the space is working for you! Would a change in arrangement better suit the needs of your family?
Think about the purpose of the room, its particular organization challenges and the aesthetics. Small tweaks such as furniture placement or added storage containers could make a huge impact on your day to day use of the space.
4. Finally, create “homes” for each of your belongings.
Now it’s time to return your belongings to their “homes.” I say “homes” because each item should have a place. This way, you know where it ought to go at the end of the day, making cleanup easier.
But are there any items that can go into storage instead of cluttering up your living space? If you’ve taken the time to consider the function of the space as recommended in step three, you’ll know the answer to this question. Learn about the best ways to store specific items here.
Now that you know how to make the most of cleaning season, here are all the best spring cleaning tips we have learned to help you along.
Spring Cleaning Tips
1. Start by breaking out the warm weather equipment.
Isn’t it exciting to pull out these reminders of the fun to come this summer? Pull them out and hose them down.
- Sports equipment
- Patio furniture
2. Put away winter.
Now that you’ve pulled out your warm weather equipment, you’ve made room to stow away cold weather items. Here are some things you can happily store away in a basement, attic or storage unit until next fall:
- Heavy outerwear
- Winter boots
- Winter sports gear
3. Switch out linens with lighter fabrics and colors.
Say hello to spring indoors, too. Put away the heavy bedding, fuzzy throws and velvet pillows to help rid your home of the winter feel. Change up your curtains in favor of a lighter, sheer material to let in more light. Add some plants, mirrors and lighter wall decor to create an open, airy feel for your family and your guests. You’ll immediately feel less cluttered.
4. Switch out your wardrobe.
Did you know the average person only wears 20% of the clothes in their closet on a regular basis? If you come across clothing that you haven’t worn in the last 6-12 months, it’s time to get rid of it! Consider donating these clothes to a local Goodwill.
Besides downsizing your wardrobe to make outfit decisions easier, you can take this time to pack up your fuzzy sweaters and bring out the shorts. Here’s a guide to storing winter clothing in the warmer months.
5. Skip the sentimentals.
If time is limited for your spring cleaning process, we recommend skipping sentimental items until you can dedicate time to really go through them. After surveying 2,000 Americans on the stuff they store and why, we learned that sentimental connections to our belongings make the decluttering process much more difficult.
When you’re ready to sit down with that box of photos or baby clothes, these articles may help:
- How to Declutter and Let Go of Things You Love
- Need to Clean Out and Organize Your Photos? Start Here
- How to Display, Repurpose and Store Sentimental Cards
6. Dust before vacuuming.
In case your mother never taught you this nugget of wisdom, we thought we’d include it in here. You stir up dust as you try to remove it and it will most likely settle on the ground. You can take care of it after dusting by vacuuming (or sweeping).
Baseboards and ceiling fans are two areas that often get neglected when it comes to dusting. They are also areas that collect a disturbing amount of dust. So don’t forget to add them to your spring cleaning list!
7. Don’t forget the windows.
Over the long winter months, debris like pollen, dirt and dust can build up along your window sills. Cleaning the interior and exterior on a routine basis will not only let more light into your home but ensure that your windows easily open and close. Fresh air will also reduce allergens and germs in mattresses, even if you can’t haul them outside.
8. Even furniture can use a spring refresh.
Just because you don’t see stains doesn’t mean your couch is free of dust, crumbs, dirt, animal fur or allergens. Many hardware stores, including major chains like Lowe’s and Home Depot, rent upholstery cleaning machines, which can help clean your favorite room in a matter of minutes. At the very least, be sure to vacuum upholstered surfaces.
9. Extend the lifetime of your mattress by cleaning and flipping it.
Despite linens and mattress pads, mattresses are still popular places for dead skin cells, sweat and dust. First, take a vacuum over both sides of your mattress to collect any dust or debris. If it’s nice enough outside, the best remedy for your mattress is some fresh air and sunlight.
To spot clean a mattress, mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle:
- 16 oz. hydrogen peroxide
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 drops of dish soap
Soak the stained area with the mixture, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes before pressing it off with a clean towel. This solution has been magical for my children’s mattresses!
While you’re flipping your mattress, do yourself a favor and leave it on the opposite side. Over time, pressure leads to irregular wear. Flipping it twice a year can help keep it in tip-top shape while also making sure it’s clean.
10. Wipe down lightbulbs.
It may seem like overkill, but it’s really so simple to do. Dirty light bulbs emit 20 percent less light than clean ones. Brighten up your home by giving your lightbulbs a wipe with a damp microfiber cloth. I bet it will take you only five minutes to wipe each bulb in your home. Need to keep a kid busy during quarantine? This is an easy job for any kid elementary-age and up!
11. Use salt and grapefruit to remove grime from showers and tubs.
The grit of the salt plus the acid of the grapefruit cut down on elbow grease needed. It’ll also give your bathroom that extra boost of freshness that is usually only obtained with heavily scented candles and not-so-friendly cleaning products.
12. Empty your refrigerator.
(Hopefully you haven’t had to do this out of necessity trying to keep your family fed during the pandemic.)
Empty and unplug the fridge and freezer for a thorough clean. Most of this process will involve throwing out items far past their expiration dates, but you’ll also want to make sure your fridge is organized. Take advantage of adjustable shelving and shelf liners, which will make the cleanup process ten times easier next time around.
Also, have you ever stopped and thought about how to store food to keep it fresh. Now might be the time.
13. Wash floors last.
After dusting, reorganizing and scrubbing about, you’re going to need one final cleaning of your floor. With a damp mop, give your floor a clean shine. Mix a solution and rub gently into your floors.
14. Add closet storage.
As you take out the old, make room for the new – in an organized way, of course! If you need some extra closet space for your spring clothes and accessories, shelving can help expand your already-existing space. Salvage the hidden space in your closet by adding in double-decker closet rods and wire shelving units.
15. Spend an afternoon in the garage.
For the first five years of homeownership, I truly believed that the garage could never be an organized place. There are so many oddly shaped objects (think lawnmowers and gardening tools); how can everything really have a place?!
It wasn’t until I worked with bloggers to create posts on garage pegboards and garage storage shelves that I realized a space is as organized as you make it. A metal cart can also serve as a mobile workbench. Adjustable shelves can display an assortment of containers, including wooden boxes and glass jars containing small hardware. Even your garage can use some TLC.
16. Consider self-storage.
For seasonal belongings, over-sized items, or accessories that just haven’t found a home, renting a storage unit can be a space-saving and accessible way to store your things. For fragile items like wood, antiques or furniture, climate controlled storage can protect from humidity, temperature and the elements. As you tackle your spring cleaning checklist, consider renting a storage unit to get things out of your way and prolong the life of your belongings.
17. Establish a cleaning schedule going forward.
Don’t let all that hard work go to waste! The more often you tackle chores like laundry, dusting and vacuuming, the less often you’ll have to do a thorough, tough clean.
18. Nip bad organization habits in the bud.
When you stand back and look at your pristine home, you just might have the motivation you need to work on your negative home care habits. Decide right then and there which tasks ought to be completed immediately or daily to keep you organized longer. Here are 15 do-it-now home habits that will help you stay organized in the long term.
Spring cleaning may be a lot of work, but that’s why it only comes once a year. Now that you have a fresh and clutter-free home, keep it that way!
19. Finish with some natural air fresheners.
There are plenty of easy (and fun) homemade air fresheners that are perfect for the spring season. Once you’re done deep cleaning, try one of these.
- Fresh flowers. Buy (or pick) a bouquet of fresh-scented flowers and place them in a vase right in front of your window. The breeze will blow the scent all around your home.
- Stovetop freshener. While you’re beginning your cleaning, place fresh orange and lemon peels in a pot on the stove and bring the water to a light simmer. The fresh spring scent will travel through every room of your house!
- Essential oil spray. Create a mix of essential oils (distilled water and 5-10 drops of lemon or lavender) and place in a diffuser or a spray bottle. Spritz around your home as you wish.
- Oil-soaked cotton balls for garbage cans. Soak a cotton ball in an essential oil such as rosemary and place it in the trash can in your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom. Every time the lid opens and closes, it will fill the room with a natural, fresh scent.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 19, 2015, and was revised on March 30, 2020.