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Simple Spring Cleaning Ideas That Can Transform Your Home

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Simple Spring Cleaning Ideas That Can Transform Your Home

When you get serious about sprucing up and decluttering your living space, great things can happen – and you don’t even have to wait for spring!

Spring cleaning isn’t merely an activity – it’s a mindset. It deals a crushing blow to procrastination and celebrates the art of disciplined home enhancement. When it’s done right, it’s more than cleaning: it’s a satisfying, methodical reorganisation of your life and personal environment. And the best thing is, you can go ahead and do it at any time of year. But first, of course, you need a plan….

The idea of spring cleaning can be scary, especially when you view it as one huge job. But you shouldn’t be trying to do it all in one go. If you set aside time for one or two rooms each weekend, your whole house will be looking like new (well, almost) before you know it.

The idea of spring cleaning can be scary, especially when you view it as one huge job. But you shouldn’t be trying to do it all in one go. If you set aside time for one or two rooms each weekend, your whole house will be looking like new (well, almost) before you know it.

Break the task into manageable chunks with the garden, garage and exterior of the house left for last. Vagueness is your enemy – make a cleaning/organising checklist for every room and mark off each job as you go. Have a specific date in the future as a firm target for finishing your spring cleaning. Once you’re done, you’ll feel heaps better knowing that your home is as neat and sparkling as it can be – until you have to do it all again next year.

Why should you spring clean?

Aside from the obvious benefits of a cleaner and more attractive house, there are plenty of other sound reasons why giving your place a serious once-a-year clean makes sense. Here are the most obvious:

1. You’ll know where things are – One of the hidden benefits of methodically cleaning every shelf, cupboard, drawer and dusty corner in your house is that you’ll come across items you thought you’d lost ages ago. It’s like finding buried treasure – and once you’ve reorganised things, you’ll hopefully remember where everything is next time.

2. You’ll improve your health – All that energetic cleaning is great exercise, but house-tidying helps your health in other ways, too. A dirty home accumulates more dust, mould and mildew. Insect pests like cockroaches prefer a dirty, unkempt house to a sparkling clean one as well. And having clutter around (especially on the floor) increases the risk of accidents and falls.

You may have items in your fridge or kitchen cupboards that are well past their use-by dates, and by getting rid of them you’ll not only reduce your risk of food poisoning, but create more space for fresher goodies. A clean house is a more hygienic house – and that benefits everyone who lives there.

3. You might even make a few dollars – Don’t be a hoarder of useless junk; adopt the philosophy of having everything in your home you need, and nothing you don’t. Give away unwanted clothes to charity organisations. Pass those baby toys on to a pregnant friend when your child has grown out of them. Have a garage sale and make some cash by selling what you’ll never use again. Those old Boy George or Bangles CDs may not have value to you, but who knows?

Someone might shock you and take them off your hands, along with the purple lava lamp, the Jane Fonda workout leg warmers and the Miami Vice DVD collection. If you’re not comfortable having strangers milling around your garage, there’s always eBay and other online selling sites. Turn your clutter into dollars.

Kitchen

The key to cleaning your kitchen is thoroughness. Once you get going, you may realise how many parts of the room you’ve never cleaned at all! Start by completely emptying your pantry cupboards while checking for out-of-date food items. Don’t forget spices – that chicken stock powder from 1996 is bad news.

While they’re empty, wipe shelves down (warm water with baking soda works great) and then replace everything – after chucking out what you’ll never use.
Use the same procedure to clean out your fridge. You can then deodorise it with a little vanilla essence. Defrosting and cleaning the freezer is nobody’s idea of a fun task, but it’s important. And if you find something in there but can’t remember when it went in, maybe it’s wise to throw it out.

Having a clean oven begins with prevention: use oven bags for your roasts, cover your baking dishes and invest in a disposable, dishwasher-safe, reusable oven liner. If you’re using a commercial oven cleaner, make sure the area is well-ventilated – hardcore oven-cleaning products can be pretty toxic.

Having a clean oven begins with prevention: use oven bags for your roasts, cover your baking dishes and invest in a disposable, dishwasher-safe, reusable oven liner. If you’re using a commercial oven cleaner, make sure the area is well-ventilated – hardcore oven-cleaning products can be pretty toxic.

Have you checked the food trap at the bottom of your dishwasher lately? Many people forget about cleaning their automatic dishwashers, but they can certainly get dirty. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of bleach to the normal dish cycle as a safe way to sanitise the dishes and inner surfaces. If you’re one of those people who has never wiped down the inside of the dishwasher, now’s your chance.

Your kitchen sink and surrounding bench tops are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, but they often don’t get more than a cursory wipe down. Raw meat, food scraps, spillages and grubby old sponges all add to the health risk, so this is an area where you need to go all out with diligent hygiene. Instead of using dozens of paper towels or germ-collecting sponges, switch to microfibre towels that you can machine wash, hang up to dry and reuse.

The general rule for kitchen cleaning is to dust/wipe first, vacuum second and mop last, always starting up high and working your way down. Don’t forget to clean and sanitise your cutting boards, de-scale the kettle and remove those 6-month-old crumbs from the toaster.

Use a few drops of mineral oil to polish up your stainless steel sink after cleaning for that new-kitchen sheen. There are some great products available for disinfecting your sink disposal as well.

Modern stoves are easy to clean these days, but don’t forget to degrease the wall behind the stove and every surface within a metre of your stovetop. Splatters travel further than you think and airborne grease is cumulative – it quickly leaves a slimy film if you don’t keep it under control.

The general rule for kitchen cleaning is to dust/wipe first, vacuum second and mop last, always starting up high and working your way down. Don’t forget to clean and sanitise your cutting boards, de-scale the kettle and remove those 6-month-old crumbs from the toaster.

Lounge and dining room

Curtains always benefit from a good vacuum, and if the curtains you own are machine-washable, wash them and hang them on the line to dry. For most types of window blinds, slide an old sock over your hand and spray it lightly with all-purpose cleaner – this makes wiping down all the blind’s surfaces a breeze. Vacuum and clean upholstered furniture, launder your tablecloths and sofa pillow covers and polish any wooden furniture.

Televisions, game consoles, computers and other electronic devices should get a good dusting – it’s amazing how much dust can gather in a computer hard drive or on the floor around your power boards.

Televisions, game consoles, computers and other electronic devices should get a good dusting – it’s amazing how much dust can gather in a computer hard drive or on the floor around your power boards. Electricity and excessive dust are a dangerous combination that can create a fire hazard, so this is a safety issue as well.

Have your carpets professionally steam cleaned – it’s safe, removes odours, stains and bacteria and will give your carpets a fresh look and feel. Many types of curtains and even your sofa can be steam cleaned too.

The proper way to clean your bookshelves is to remove the books and then wipe down all surfaces – front, back, on top and underneath. Before you replace the books, sort them out and clear out unwanted titles. When you put them back, use some kind of system (genre/category/alphabetical or whatever) so you can more easily find a particular book when you need it. Donate unwanted books to charity or sell them.

Bedrooms

Bedrooms should get a similar going-over as your lounge room, except for a few extra jobs like cleaning out all the junk hiding under the bed, organising the closets and flipping and airing the mattress. If you don’t use a mattress protector, purchase one – it will prolong the life of your mattress.
Take a look at your bedside table and ask yourself if you need so much stuff on there.

The more items, the more likely you are to tip over your water glass, knock your alarm clock to the floor or upend the lamp when you’re reaching for something in the dark. Be ruthless and cut out unnecessary bedside clutter.

Spring cleaning provides the perfect opportunity to go through your clothing collection and cull the unnecessary, the out of fashion and the ‘it-no-longer-fits-and-never-will’ items.

Speaking of clutter, how many pieces of clothing are squeezed into your bedroom wardrobe and crammed into drawers? Spring cleaning provides the perfect opportunity to go through your clothing collection and cull the unnecessary, the out of fashion and the ‘it-no-longer-fits-and-never-will’ items. You might also separate your winter and summer clothing more systematically. If you haven’t worn it in the past 3 years and don’t think you’ll wear it in the next 3, ask yourself “Why is this thing still in my closet?”

Bathrooms and Laundry

Spring Clean Ideas (3)

Bathrooms and toilets say a lot about a homeowner’s cleanliness, and therefore require an extra bit of vigilance. If you can’t clean your nylon or plastic hanging shower screen, replace it. Scrub every tile in the bathroom and when you clean the toilet, don’t forget the S-bend near the floor. Bathroom ceiling exhaust fans are notorious for collecting great wads of thick dust, so give yours a complete clean (you should be able to unclip the cover and take it down for cleaning).

Bathroom ceiling exhaust fans are notorious for collecting great wads of thick dust, so give yours a complete clean (you should be able to unclip the cover and take it down for cleaning).

Go through all your bathroom drawers and throw out old, used tubes of toothpaste, empty shampoo bottles, ancient toothbrushes and other dubious items. Wipe down the empty drawers before replacing all your goodies. If you want some excellent arm and shoulder exercise, giving your shower stall and/or bathtub a brisk scrubbing will do the job. If your drains seem a bit sluggish, use a drain-cleaning product to clean them out.

Washing machines can get surprisingly grimy inside, outside and underneath, so have a go and see how clean you can get yours. Scrub out the laundry basin as well. If you keep your cleaning products on the laundry shelves, take everything down, go through it all, get rid of the old/useless stuff, wipe down the shelves and then restock them, making sure any harsh chemical products are well out of children’s reach. Lastly, sweep and mop the laundry tiles.

General spring cleaning tips

• Wash all your windows, inside and out. Newspaper and window cleaner works.

• Give your barbecue a comprehensive clean so it’s free of greasy surfaces.

• Dust your light bulbs with a lint-free cloth to make your house brighter (do this when the bulb is switched off and cool).

• Wash your walls. Sometimes a new paint job isn’t necessary – just a clean!

• Go through all your important files and documents and reorganise them efficiently.

• Tackle the garage separately. Who knows what treasures you might find lurking in there?

• Give your outdoor furniture a clean too (and watch out for hiding spiders).

• Clean outdoor light fixtures and get rid of those cobwebs.

• Clean flyscreens and security grilles on doors and windows.

• Make sure all your smoke detectors are working (and clean).

• Clean out the tracks of your sliding doors – these attract plenty of grit.

• Ceiling fans can get quite filthy – you may need to wipe as well as dust.

• Clean or replace your bathroom mats, kitchen mats and outdoor welcome mat.

• Spring clean the outside of the house, the shed and the garden last. When finished, put your feet up and enjoy your beautiful home – because you deserve a break!

And remember, we live in the age of outsourcing, so if any part of your spring cleaning checklist seems like ‘just too much’ (yes, gutter cleaning, we’re talking about you), don’t be afraid to pay someone else to do it for you instead.