Many of us can probably recall that around this time of year, our parents would organize a whole day of “Spring Cleaning,” often culminating in a garage sale the following weekend. Sometimes, you’d even see several families on the same street or block, timing their cleaning and garage sales to take advantage of the momentum.
But for us, it seems like every year our lives get busier and it’s harder and harder to find time to take care of the little things. Of course, that often leads to a lot of things building up. And if you didn’t have time to take care of the small things before, where are you going to find the time to take care of the bulked up To-Do List, never mind Spring Cleaning?!
Good news! We have a solution for you.
A detailed plan that will get your home deep cleaned and ready for the rest of the year – in just EIGHT HOURS! And it works if you’re doing it solo or have everyone in the family help out!
Are you ready? Grab some all-purpose, paint-safe cleaner, some microfiber cloths (save the rags for the garage) and the vacuum cleaner. We’re starting in…
The Bathroom! 9-10am
- Hook the brush attachment to the vacuum cleaner and run it all over the walls. Then wipe them down with the all-purpose cleaner. Now grab any throw rugs and the floor mat, and toss them in the washing machine.
- Wash down the inside of the windows and all the mirrors.
- Spray and Soak – you can use the all-purpose cleaner for this if you’re in a bind, but if you can get a good strong spray-on cleaning agent, preferably with some bleach, spray down the shower, the sink and the toilet. Let everything sit for 15-20 minutes while you grab some coffee and get the rugs, etc., into the dryer or hung out.
- Now rinse everything from the top down. Start with the showerhead and do the whole shower and tub. Then wipe down the toilet, again, top to bottom – tank, rim, bowl & base. Set those cloths aside – you won’t be using them again until you’ve thoroughly laundered them in hot water and bleach. Spray some cleaner on the floor. Let it soak, then mop it up on your way out.
Of course, if you have multiple bathrooms, just have your spouse and kids do the other ones – and double check their work before you move on to…
The Bedrooms! 10am-12:30pm
- We’re going to need the vacuum with the brush attachment again. Vacuum and wipe down all the walls, like you did in the bedroom (stagger the start of each bedroom by about 5 minutes, depending on their size). Take special care to clean switch plates, the outside edges of doors, and any type of edging or crown molding that holds onto dust.
- Open all the windows (unless it’s raining), open the curtains wide, and pull the linens off the bed – sheets, pillowcases, quilts, duvet covers, mattress pads, dust ruffles, shams – the whole kit and caboodle.
- Let the room breathe for 30-45 minutes while you take the linens to the washing machine. If you need to, wait for the linens from all the rooms, because you’ll want to wash everything in the order it goes back on the bed. It’s okay if it takes a few loads. And, of course, if you like to go old school and hang stuff out instead of running it in the dryer, you’ll shift the time accordingly so you’re making the beds after the living room and before the take-out or delivery arrives.
- Window treatments can be vacuumed (upholstery attachment), dry-cleaned or given a quick fluff in the dryer. No need to wash everything, but you’ll want to clear off any accumulated dust.
- Wash any mirrors and the inside of the windows.
- Finally, shampoo – or better steam – clean the carpets and large area rugs. If you have the space and extra funds, invest in a prosumer steam cleaner, or just rent one from Publix or WalMart.
And now it’s time to head to…
The Kitchen! 12:30-2pm
- First things first. Grab your cooler and empty out everything from the refrigerator and freezer. Unplug it and let everything warm up to room temperature – you don’t want to put hot washcloths on a cold glass shelf and have it crack or shatter. Move on to the stove and you’ll come back to the fridge.
- Remove all stove grates and trays – anything that’s removable. Scrub them clean with soapy steel wool pads – you can add some ammonium to get the really stuck on stuff off.
- Spray down the stovetop and let it soak while you get down and inside the oven, wiping down all of the excess food crumbs and blackened bits. Grab a microwave safe bowl and put in a couple cups of water and some lemon juice and run it for 2-½ or 3 minutes. Wipe down the stove top, making sure you get in the cracks. Then run a clean cloth in the inside of the microwave. The steamy lemon water should have softened up anything stuck on. Avoid using more traditional cleaners in the microwave, as they can damage the radiation protection.
- Now back to the fridge – mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of hot water and use it to wipe everything down. Rinse with clean water and dry. Use a little dish soap and water to wipe the door seals making sure to clear the cracks of any debris. Don’t forget to wipe down the doors and sides too. And don’t dump that out quite yet! Let the seals thoroughly dry so they adhere. Plug the fridge back in and remember to put the food back in after you finish the living rooms.
- Clean window treatments and wash the insides of windows.
- The water and dish liquid from the fridge will work great on the surface and tops of counters, cabinets and any other surface that may have captured some stray grease or grime. Wipe out shelves and drawers – especially the utensil drawers. Spray some anti-bacterial cleaner inside the under-sink cabinets, especially if you use one of them for the trash can.
- Sweep, vacuum and mop floors.
The Family Room/Rec Room/Great Room 2-5pm
- Shut off your ceiling fans and dust them. Please. So much dust accumulates that we never see up there. If you haven’t already, switch the fans from circulating the air up to blowing cool air down (usually switching from up to down on the side) to save money on your AC bill. You can also coordinate the switch with the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.
- Vacuum and wipe the walls and ceilings.
- Rent an upholstery cleaning machine from your local hardware store and deep clean the couch and chairs – at the very least use the vacuum attachment to suck them clean. If you have leather furniture, vacuum out the crumbs and inside liner, then wipe down with the furniture store’s recommended leather cleaner (they either gave you samples or a sheet with the details).
- Wipe your lightbulbs – dust accumulates everywhere in Florida and dirty bulbs gives less light. Also consider replacing your bulbs with longer lasting LED bulbs.
- Clean window treatments and wash the insides of windows.
- Use compressed air to spray out all the crevices and cracks where dust and hair settle on your electronics. Then wipe them top to bottom with microfiber cloths. Don’t forget to wipe underneath the TV, speakers, sound system, DVD/DVR/Streaming boxes, and in between stereo components, if you’re old school. Be sure to wipe from back towards you so the dirt and dust come out.
- If you have a fireplace – yes, some of us do in Florida – sweep it out and stow unused logs and kindling.
- Vacuum and/or steam clean the carpets.
- Now, either order pizza for dinner or send your spouse to grab takeout. Put the food back in the fridge, double checking use by dates, then relax on the clean couch and catch up on your favorite Netflix show. You’ve earned it! Whew! 😌
If you’d like a handy printable checklist to go through, you can download one from Oprah here!
And One More Thing…
Now that you’ve gotten everything clean, spring is a great time to start our exclusive Go Green Plus 3 system that keeps your whole house free of pesky insects and is safe for the whole family. If you’d like your home to feel as fresh and critter free as our clients in Lakewood Ranch and North Port, just give us a call!