Spring is in the air! For many of us, this commences the start of thoroughly cleaning and decluttering our living spaces. The thought of this can be extremely discouraging and overwhelming, knowing there’s tons to do and not knowing where to begin. Although you may be eager to get it over with, or perhaps don’t even want to start at all, take a moment to breathe and relax. Here are a few tips to get the gears rolling.
Before you begin, it would be wise to make a schedule. Whether you’re planning to deep clean your entire house or your 700-square foot apartment, there’s lots of spaces that need attending to. Doing it all in one day is nearly impossible and certainly exhausting. Thinking about which rooms need the most work and which rooms don’t get as much attention throughout the year in your typical cleaning routine are great places to start! But no matter where you choose to start, take it room-by-room.
Another thing you can do is split up the workload amongst your household occupants; aka your partner, family or roommates. Assigning people to particular rooms or tasks certainly makes the entire process quicker and alleviates the amount of stress.
Terrific! Now that you got a game plan, here are some items you will come across and how you should go about cleaning them. A lot of these products you must likely already have in your home: they’re inexpensive, environmentally friending, nontoxic and will get the job done!
Most of us fear cleaning the kitchen and bathroom as these are the most utilized spaces and the dirtiest, but don’t be! Let’s start with the drains. It’s totally fine to clean our kitchen sinks with mild soap and a nylon sponge or rag throughout the year, but if you want to take it a step further to get a deeper clean, rise out your sink and pour ½ a cup of baking soda followed by ½ a cup of vinegar. Plug the drain and let sit for 1 hour. While you’re waiting, you can take the time to wipe down counters and clean out your fridge of expired foods. Once the hour is up, you can pour in some boiling water. That should simply do the trick, but repeat if necessary. If you don’t have vinegar, you can substitute for lemon juice or salt. The same trick can be used for a clogged shower drain. So before calling a plumber, give this method a try!
Your closest may be filled with items, but in this particular section, I am going to address clothes specifically. For most of us, getting rid of clothes, or rather anything we find ourselves attached to, can be quite difficult. The first thing you should do is throw all of your clothes into a pile and individually go through each article one by one. Then, as you’re sorting through, begin to make three separate piles: clothes you want to keep, clothes you’re considering maybe to keep and clothes you want to get rid of.
How exactly do you go about this? First and foremost, start with the obvious stuff: any articles that are torn, worn out or stained go straight to the trash. Try on everything you want to keep, not only to see if it still fits but also to see if it’s worth keeping. Organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo says to ask yourself, “When is the last time I wore this?” and “Does it bring me joy?” If you haven’t worn the item in nearly 2 years and most likely won’t within the next few years and it most certainly doesn’t bring you joy, it’s not worth keeping around. I’m not saying you should throw away sentimental items like your wedding dress or that vintage signed concert-tee, those should have their special place of their own, but that Old-Navy blouse you haven’t worn in years that is still in mint condition may be more suitable for someone else. There are so many organizations that take used clothes! You know the saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
The Junk Drawer
Let’s all admit, we all have a random drawer or storage space for miscellaneous items: pencils, elastic bands, band-aids, safety pins, coins … you name it! The first thing you should do is completely empty out this drawer and use a vacuum to suck up dust and crumbs that have been nesting on the bottom. Next, go through all the items you have pulled out and identify anything that is garbage or may belong somewhere else. Once you’ve minimized and figured out what to keep in this drawer, it’s a good idea to invest in some containers or holders to keep these items neatly organized and sectioned. You can also line the bottom of the drawer with a nonslip liner so everything stays in place!
The Windows and Walls
While we get consumed with cleaning appliances and tangible objects we often forget about the widows and walls. The best time to clean your windows is on a shady day. When windows are warm, the cleaning solution will quickly dry onto the glass leaving streaks. First, dust off your windows and to eliminate the hassle of scrubbing, soak the glass with a solution of water and mild soap so it breaks down the dirt and debris. You can also make a homemade glass cleaner in a spray bottle with a ratio of 2 cups of water, ½ a cup of white or cider vinegar and ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol 70% concentration. Once the windows are sprayed, you can wipe them down with a microfiber cloth. You can even use a toothbrush (of course, don’t use the one you brush your teeth with!!) to get in between the frames and corners.
As for walls, whether they are painted or covered in wallpaper, the good news is there are simple remedies that won’t break the bank. First, dust your walls. You may want to lay down some towels so the floor doesn’t get wet for this next part. You can simply fill up a bucket with liquid hand soap or dishwasher soap and water and use a rag or an old T-Shirt to wipe them down. For a quicker drying process, open up the windows and let some air in.
The Indoor Furniture and Patio Furniture
Sweat. Dust. All of which have accumulated throughout the year onto your furniture. Ew. There’s a lot of furniture in your home, but pay close attention to sofas, dining room tables and chairs and dressers. Use a hot steamer or vacuum for all upholstery including cushions and toss pillow covers into the washing machine. When cleaning furniture such as tables and chairs, many people forget to look for maintenance, like loose screws that may need tightening. After giving them a good wipe down, don’t forget to treat them! For wooden surfaces, you can use a mixture of vinegar, olive oil and lemon.
Now that the weather is nice and you got most of your inside done, you most certainly want to relax outdoors. But not so fast! If you’re planning to take the patio furniture out, don’t forget to wipe those down too as they’re been sitting in your garage or storage unit since last season! You can use a garden house and for stainless steel pieces, mild dish soap and water can do just the trick.
Okay, now you can soak up the sun and fire up the bbq. Happy cleaning!