Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a touch of OCD when it comes to keeping an organized, clean house. For example: at this moment my stress level is probably a 7 or 8 out of 10, and that is solely based on the fact that we have had workers in and out of our house for the past two weeks working on our basement. This, in turn, means that everything that previously resided in our basement is currently occupying almost all of the available space in our guest bedroom, office, and garage. Needless to say… it drives me more than a little nuts!
To try and take back some control of the clutter, I began devising my personalized “Spring Cleaning 2015 Checklist.” Call me crazy, but I’m a “checklist-person.” We are a rare and quiet breed of individuals who just love to make lists simply because of that sense of accomplishment felt when we can finally check off a box. And everyone knows that paper lists are better than digital lists when at all possible. Therefore, without any further ado, I present my Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist:
Fairly daunting, am I right? And for those of you with homes that are larger than ours, even more scary! Here are some of my tips for how to tackle your yearly spring cleaning.
1. Break up the tasks! Nobody wants to spend (or can afford to spend!) an entire week cleaning their house from roof to foundation. So I’ve taken my master cleaning list and broken it up into seven sections. Choose one or two to do each week for a month and you’ll be finished before you know it! I will highlight each of these sections in a different post, giving my tips and tricks for each specific room and what products to use:
- Living Spaces
- Basement and Storage
- Outdoor Area
2. Keep it to cleaning only. All too often I can get carried away wanting to make sure every inch of my home is perfect and somewhere that I love to live in every day. But the reality is that our homes are a constant work in progress. While you are cleaning, focus on that task. I am always noticing things that need to be finished: the shelves need to be put up in our master bathroom, that new piece of artwork needs to be hung… I recommend jotting down a small note about these types of “non-cleaning” fixer-upper tasks that you want to complete and saving them for later. Otherwise, this task can become even more of a daunting chore than spring cleaning already is!
3. Clean from top to bottom. Gravity dictates that all things return to the ground eventually. Therefore, the best way to clean is to clean from the ceiling down to the floor, so that the dirt and dust all falls onto an area you haven’t yet cleaned. This also ensures you won’t miss anything! Start with ceiling fixtures: fans and lights. Then clean any crown moldings and walls. My favorite product for this is Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers. They work really well for cleaning off scuff marks from moldings, doors, walls, etc. Next clean any artwork or windows in your room. Finally work on furniture pieces – dusting or wiping down wood items with your favorite wood cleaner or polish. Throw everything you can into the washer: pillow cases, pillows (yes, pillows!), sheets, duvet covers, towels, rugs, blankets, etc. When everything else in the room has been cleaned, I finally turn to the floors. Sweep hardwood floors before washing with a great spin mop and some cleaning solution mixed with warm water. For carpets, we like to use the Arm & Hammer Oxi Clean Carpet Odor Eliminator Powder, specifically the pet version because we have two adorable dogs (who love to shed and bring mud into the house). This powder gives a really great freshness to the room. I also will typically use our carpet cleaner on the stairs and other areas that get the most use each year.
4. Throw open the windows! Especially if you will be using any bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, these have the potential to cause headaches, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms if used in small quarters without proper ventilation. Plus, this is what spring cleaning is all about: throwing up the windows, airing out the house and giving it a nice deep cleanse.
In the next post, I will be focusing on everyone’s least favorite area of the house (also known as the “okay let’s just get this out of the way first” spring cleaning checklist): bathrooms. Until then, you can download the complete checklist in PDF or .doc format below:
Click here to download PDF version (131 KB).
Click here to download .doc version (156 KB).