Woo-hoo! Warmer weather is just around the corner, meaning, well, yes, barbecues and bikinis are on the way, but also… ’tis the season for home organization and spring cleaning.
Looking for simple solutions for how to organize your home and keep your house clean? (Some of us believe that not cleaning is the simplest solution of all, but we really shouldn’t go there.) We’ve collected some good ideas, ranging from de-cluttering tips to a weekly cleaning schedule. These 8 steps will help you easily and effectively spring clean your way into the season. When you’re done, you can celebrate with some well-deserved cocktails or wine. (Of course, it would never, ever occur to us to suggest a bit of tippling while you’re cleaning. Nor have we ever done this ourselves!)
Clean your floors and keep them looking shiny and new
First, make the job easier by keeping dirt outside where it belongs with a doormat– both stylish and practical! Sadly, even the best doormat won’t keep your floors pristine. Whether you have hardwood, tile, or carpet, cleaning floors and keeping them that way is a constant chore.
Ugh! Bring it on!
Start with the right tools for your surface: a vacuum with multiple attachments can cut down on cleaning time by hoovering up dust and debris that collect on multiple surface types. Don’t forget to vacuum underneath furniture and around toilet bowls. If you make a weekly cleaning schedule and pick one day during the weekend to vacuum room by room,
you must be an alien species you only have to spot clean as messes occur during the busy weekdays, and your home will look cleaner all week. Mess is depressing, so it’s really worth keeping on top of it. No matter how much you haaaate it.
Fight allergies and purify the air with houseplants
Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming…and pollen is clinging. Before you start bulk-ordering tissues, try incorporating houseplants known to naturally collect pollen and purify air into your living space. These purifying plants will bring a whole new meaning to cleaning the house. Anne Baley at Gardening Know How lists some houseplants that are the best at relieving allergies, along with care tips to keep them happy and healthy, in their plant-y little way.
• Mums and peace lilies help to remove PCE from the air
• Golden pothos and philodendron can control formaldehyde
• Gerbera daisies control benzene
• Areca palm humidifies the air
• Lady palm and bamboo palm are general air cleaners
• Dracaena is well known for grabbing allergens from the air and holding them in its leaves.
Awesome, right? Three cheers for silent, botanic house servants!
Fridge and Pantry Overhaul
An intelligently-stocked and efficient pantry and fridge can really help you maintain the healthy lifestyle you
fantasize about live. Yes, the great outdoors beckons, but clean and organize your food storage epicenters first. Fridges are notorious for stuck-on goop and mysterious muck. Yuk! A natural way to clean and deodorize is to cut a lemon in half, sprinkle with some baking soda, and scrub away. Wipe loosened grime with a dampened cloth or paper towel and the inside of your fridge will sparkle like new. For pantries, be sure to dust and wipe from top to bottom so any residual crumbs get vacuumed or swept away. (If you do all of this before a meal, we guarantee your appetite will be kind of ruined and you’ll eat fewer calories. Bonus!)
Once your surfaces are clean, “edit” your food supplies. Check expiration dates, arrange items that are soon-to-be-expired in front, and toss any leftovers that don’t pass a good ole fashioned sniff test. While you restock and reorganize, we recommend (based on tragic experiences with, say, precious saved homemade chicken stock that ended up hiding in the back of the freezer for years) that you use clear food storage containers. That way, you’re always able to see what’s inside and what you’re running low on. Like
ice cream chocolate-covered cheesecake frozen eclairs leafy greens. You can never have too many of those, or so we’ve heard.
Use Your Wall Space Strategically
Walls are prime real estate for floor to ceiling storage solutions. One of the best de-cluttering tips is to get items off the floor and onto the walls. Wall mounted shelving units are a great way to store and display your book collection. (Or whatever your thing is. Sculptures of distinguished animal web celebrities. Hotel soaps from many lands. Customized Ken dolls. We’re totally not judging you.)
Hanging hooks in entryways can hold keys, coats, and purses for a quick grab-and-go solution. Small spaces like bathrooms can especially benefit from well-placed wall mountings. Low on sink space? No problem. A strategically placed wall caddy can add both charm and functionality. Functionality is both fun and funky! Ok, not funky. Or all that fun, if we’re honest. But it’s nice anyway!
Cleaning out your closet can be a daunting and intimidating task. (Especially if, like some of us, you need to keep 3 different sizes of clothes on hand because yo-yo dieting. We won’t get into that, either.) To calm your fears and embark upon this mission with confidence, take cues from closet cleaning expert Julie Morgenstern. Julie’s organizing tips are simple, straightforward, and can make the often feared chore of organizing your closet into a cathartic experience. She outlines the S.H.E.D process of de-cluttering which can be directly applied to your closet refresh.
• Separate the treasures. Define what is truly worth keeping.
• Heave the trash. Release what’s weighing you down.
• Embrace your identity from within. Discover who you are no matter what you own.
• Drive yourself forward. Explore which direction connects to your authentic self.
It’s not just cleaning, it’s Personal Growth, baby!
Spend a few hours specifically on your closet. Be sure to take out all your belongings and decide what you need to stash, save, or say farewell to. Stash anything you won’t need during the approaching warmer months, save beloved pieces that you wear often, and say farewell to anything unworn or forgotten for over a year. (Don’t follow our example and remain in a paralyzed, vacillating state for an hour over every single item.) Consider either donating or selling the items you will bid adieu to – your trash can be another person’s
Laundry Room Revamp
Your appliances do the grunt work when it comes to keeping your laundry clean, so it’s important to maintain machine health. It’s
a total and complete no surprise that your washer will most likely need a wash of its own. Soak a cloth in warm soapy water and give the inside drum a good wipe down. Many washers have a deep cleaning cycle you can run to remove any residue or odors (gross!). Check your dryer for any hidden lint which can build up over time and create a fire hazard. Unplug the machine and check all the vents to remove excess fluff and increase the unit’s efficiency. Lastly, check to make sure you are well stocked on supplies. Supplement your cleaning agents with some aromatic laundry balls that reduce drying time, soften garments, and add a calming springtime scent. (Not that calming is what you need, after these tedious soothing cleaning chores.)
Often overlooked but always necessary is an overall safety check of your home. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor and in each bedroom. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year and any that don’t currently work should be replaced. Make sure no flammable objects are being stored where they could cause danger: near water heaters, stoves, ovens, fireplaces or dryers. Fire extinguishers should be strategically placed throughout your home on each floor and near the kitchen. Be sure to check any outside vents for blockage or gutters for buildup. Clean anything that could cause damage to the outside of your home or prevent clean air from coming through. Real Simple’s comprehensive home safety checklist is the perfect guide for monthly and annual checkups to ensure your home stays as safe as it is cozy. Finally, never permit scary, warty ghost monsters to float out of your TV. They can be dangerous, and will often gobble up all of your ice cream, chocolate-covered cheesecake and frozen eclairs.
Create a Weekly Cleaning Schedule
Now that your full spring cleaning is done, it’s important to maintain a cleaning and organizing schedule. A daily and weekly to-do checklist will help make upkeep of your home easier in the long run. Mique at Thirty Hand Made Days created the perfect printable weekly cleaning schedule to make cleaning the house throughout the week organized and efficient. She outlines daily tasks and even includes check boxes that can be used to assign chores to specific family members. (Note: you’re not supposed to check the box until you’ve actually done the chore. Checking the box, on its own, does not complete the task.)
Post the cleaning schedule in a visible area so that you know what needs to be done and can plan your days accordingly. A weekly schedule will make home organization and your spring cleaning last through all four seasons of the year!
Good god, are we done yet? Yes, yes, finally. We recommend doing some immediate retail therapy, so that you can completely and permanently erase all of this from your mind.