I love springtime. The snow finally starts melting, the days get longer, and the subtle heat from the afternoon sun promises warmer days ahead.
Spring is a time for new beginnings and for starting over fresh, and one of the ways I embrace this fresh start is with spring cleaning.
Along with the melting snow, warmer days, and budding trees comes the opportunity to give your home a thorough scrub down.
Now, I get it; not everyone loves spending their free time dusting the cobwebs and scrubbing the floors. And truth be told, I don’t either.
With that being said, I am one of those people who loves a clean house; I feel much more at ease when everything is in its place. As Gretchen Rubin reminds us, “outer order contributes to inner calm.”
So, although I moan and groan about tackling the dreaded spring cleaning each year, it sure feels great when it’s done.
In order to make the processes as painless as possible, I’ve created a cleaning strategy that divides the house into four main sections. And within each section, you’ll find a few hacks to lift the cleaning burden.
So whether you decide to spread your spring cleaning out over 4 weeks, or you dive in and tackle all four parts in one weekend, you’ll be doing so both quickly and efficiently; because at I’m Busy Being Awesome, that’s what I’m all about.
So read through this post, download your spring cleaning checklist, grab your cleaning supplies, and embrace the beginning of spring with a clean, fresh home. You’ll be so glad that you did.
The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist
Start here: spring cleaning
As you go through your house, I recommend taking three boxes or garbage bags with you to each room; use one for donations, one for trash, and one for relocation.
The first two are pretty self-explanatory. The third, however, might need some explanation.
The relocation box holds anything that belongs in another room of the house. This way, rather than spending time going back and forth putting each item away as you come upon it, you simply put everything into the relocation box. Then, once you’ve finished the room, bring the newfound items to their respective locations all in one trip. Easy!
Open the windows:
Opening the windows and airing out your home is a great way to freshen up your space. What’s more, it’s good for us!
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the quality of indoor air is one of the top five environmental health concerns. With the combination of cleaners, air fresheners, and other “stuff” floating around our homes, it’s easy for indoor air pollution to add up.
The good news? Simply opening a window can help significantly reduce the bad air.
So as you do your spring cleaning, (especially considering the heavy use of cleaners) be sure to open up those windows and keep the air circulating.
Spring Cleaning the Bedrooms:
It’s easy to let things pile up in the bedroom, as it’s often the unofficial dumping ground of that day’s work clothes, gym clothes, books, bags, etc. Over time this “stuff” adds up, which creates clutter. But because it slowly accumulates, it’s also easy to overlook.
With that being said, your bedroom is the first and last thing you see every day. So why not keep it organized and maintain a feeling of calm in the process?
Strip the bedding and give it a wash. And I’m not just talking about the sheets. Wash everything.
Wash the bedding in the order that you put it back on the bed: bed skirt and mattress pad first, followed by sheets, blankets, comforter, pillows, etc. This makes putting the bed back together more efficient.
After doing your initial sweep of “trash or donate,” then straighten up your dresser and side table surfaces. Only keep out the things you use every day. Everything else gets stored away.
Want more decluttering tips? Check out my ultimate guide to decluttering here!
Flip the mattress, if necessary.
Under the Bed:
Pull out the extra stuff hidden under the bed. Go through it, and give it a careful look. Can any of it go in the “trash” or “donation” box? If it’s been under the bed for more than a year, you might not need it any longer.
Clean the Closet:
Similar to under the bed, be sure to go through your closet and drawers; carefully look for other opportunities to downsize your wardrobe. I know, this can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to help you create a minimalist wardrobe and start saving space.
If you’re new to the minimalist mindset, check out my Minimalist’s Guide to Minimalism post: 3 Key Steps to a Minimalist Life. It walks you through the process of downsizing without stress.
Dust everything. The ceiling fan that you haven’t turned since last fall is collecting dust, and so are the picture frames, dresser tops, side tables, lampshades, and baseboards around the room. Grab a duster (I’m a fan of the Swiffer dusters) and get cleaning.
Wash/Vacuum the floors:
Now that you’ve cleaned up the worst of the dust, it’s time to vacuum or wash up the rest. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, use a steam cleaner. (I seriously love this thing.)
Wash the Mirrors and Windows
This one is pretty self-explanatory 🙂
2. Spring Cleaning the Bathrooms:
Okay, the bathrooms are my least favorite thing to clean, and I doubt I’m alone here. Let’s get it over with quickly, shall we?
*Note – don’t forget about your trash and donate boxes! The bathroom is a major culprit of accumulating “stuff.” Old hair products, lotions, makeup, and medication can all get tossed.
Put the throw rugs in the washing machine while you tackle the rest of the space.
Ceiling and walls:
Believe it or not, but grime can build up in these places. If you take time once or twice a year to wipe them down, however, it’s much easier to manage.
Grab the hose attachment for your vacuum and clean the corners of your ceiling, walls, and floors. Then, wipe down those walls with your favorite cleaner. If you’re a regular user of hair products, pay particular attention to the wall where the hairspray hits; it’s amazing how much buildup accumulates there.
Spray down the surfaces:
Give the toilet, shower, sink, and bathtub a good soaking with your cleaner. Then, let them sit; we’ll come back in a minute.
Clean the mirrors:
As the surfaces soak, wash the mirrors and windows. Then, go switch a load of laundry and head back to the bathrooms. By the time you’re finished, the other surfaces should be disinfected and ready for a wipe down.
Clean the surfaces:
Give everything a good scrub.
If you find you’re battling with stubborn grout, check out Meg’s suggestions on how to remove grout stains and get everything spiffy clean.
Wash the floors:
Once you have all of your other surfaces clean, then it’s time to give your floors a scrub. If you want a deep clean, I’d recommend a steam mop. There are plenty of options out there; I bought this Bissell mop a few years ago, and I absolutely love it.
Replace the show curtain, if needed.
3. Spring Cleaning the Kitchen and Dining Room:
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, my kitchen used to overflow with every kitchen gadget imaginable. Cupboards were crammed, drawers were stuffed, and everything had to fit “just so” to ensure the doors properly closed. It drove both me and my husband nuts.
Then a few years ago, I did a MAJOR purge of unnecessary junk. I set a goal for myself: cut my utensils and kitchen supplies in half, and remove everything (except the microwave) off the countertops.
You know what? I did it! And it feels fantastic. So if you too have overflowing cabinets, use this post to declutter first. Not only will you have a much easier time working in the kitchen, but it will also make the cleaning process much quicker.
Once you declutter your kitchen, it’s time to get down to business.
Fridge and Freezer:
If you have the foresight to start eating the food in your fridge and freezer a few days ahead of time, this will make the process a little bit easier. Frankly, I never seem to think that far ahead…but I thought I’d share that tip for those of you with a better memory than mine 😉
Take all the food out of the refrigerator and freezer. (WikiHow suggests putting the food in coolers to keep it in the “safe zone.”) Then, get scrubbing. Remove the shelves and crisper drawers and give them a wash. And don’t forget to wipe down the walls, too.
By using a cleaning solution of either 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 quart hot water OR 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts hot water, you avoid filling your fridge with hash-smelling chemicals. Considering your food can easily absorb those smells, a more natural/neutral option might be best.
Remove grease from appliances:
Grease tends to build up in the kitchen and especially around the stove. There are a few ways to say goodbye to grease, with the traditional option being steel wool and soapy water. My favorite way, however, is with Magic Erasers; they are fantastic at removing grime. Once the build-up is gone, just wash the surface as normal and you’re good to go!
Wipe down the kitchen and/or dining table, cabinets, countertops, and backsplash:
Like the stovetop, you may notice grease and spills buildup on these different areas as well. Be careful about the products you use for cleaning, however. Different surfaces, whether you’re cleaning linoleum, metal, wood, or granite counters, may need slightly different cleaners to keep them in beautiful condition.
Wash/vacuum the floors:
Kitchen floors are notorious for sticky spots, crumbs, spills, you name it. As I mentioned above, I love using my steam mop to keep my floors clean and disinfected. Use whatever method you prefer, of course. The important thing is that they’re clean 🙂
If you have rugs or carpeting in your dining room, be sure to give them a good vacuuming, too.
4. Spring Cleaning the Living room and Family room:
Similar to the other rooms of the house, start by decluttering and making heavy use of your donate and trash boxes. Like the bedroom, the main living space also becomes a collection zone for toys, board games, puzzles, magazines etc. Once you’ve sorted through the clutter, then start cleaning at the top of the room and work your way down.
Bookshelves, television consoles, ceiling fans, end tables, lamp shades, baseboards…almost everything gathers dust. So grab your Swiffer and get dusting!
Just as grime builds up in the bathroom and kitchen, the walls in your living room and family room can get pretty bad, too. Give them a scrub.
If you have leather furniture, start by vacuuming up excess crumbs, pet hair etc. Then, if necessary, wash it down before conditioning the sofa to increase its longevity. If you need a tutorial, check out these tips.
If you have upholstery furniture, the steps are very similar. Be sure to vacuum excess crumbs, pet hair, debris etc. Rather than washing and conditioning the area, however, try using a fabric upholstery cleaner and/or the portable upholstery steam cleaner I mentioned earlier to keep your furniture looking fresh.
Vacuum the floors:
This is pretty self-explanatory 😉
5. Spring Cleaning the miscellaneous:
Go through each closet looking for donation items (clothing, towels, linens, coats, etc.) Refold blankets and towels that need it, remove unused hangers, and if space is limited, store off-season clothing.
Do they need replacing? Then, replace them!
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries. Then, check to ensure they’re in good working order.
Recycle or file paper clutter.
And there you have it, my ultimate spring cleaning checklist. Tackle it over the course of a few weeks, or dive in and have an all-out cleaning weekend. Whatever you choose, I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.
And remember, if everyone in the house continues tidying up as they go, you’ll have a much easier time keeping up with the task. Need some strategies to maintain consistency? Check out my “One Minute Rule,” and keep your house spic-and-span one minute at a time.
Need a spring cleaning checklist to keep yourself on task? You got it! Snag yours here 🙂
How do you feel about spring cleaning? Do you love it or hate it? What’s your least or most favorite thing to clean? Have you ever made your own cleaning products before? Do you have a spring cleaning checklist? Let me know below!