Yup, it’s that time of year again, winter freeze has passed, Punxsutawney Phil came out of his hole, and MLB has reported to spring training. For my husband and kids, it’s an exciting time. They have their minds on the new season and all the fun things that come along with it, like bicycle riding, shopping for new clothes, and of course seeing the cherry blossoms popup. But for moms like me there is only one thing on my mind, spring cleanup 2020.
Last year, I was fortunate to have over a cousin of mine, Libby. She is from Gibraltar and was in town for a conference on childhood behavioral and emotional disorders. Luckily, I benefited from her spring cleanup tips and tricks. Where she comes from the living quarters are quite small and in order to survive, space saving techniques and home decluttering are essential for urban life survival. Here are the top ten spring cleaning tips & tricks which I picked up from Libby that made my cleanup much easier.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 1 – Wear something that can hold your phone
Make sure you have something you can put your phone into that will allow you to pick up phone calls, play music, and texts without interrupting your cleanup. A simple waist apron with pockets would be perfect. It can hold your mobile device as you make your way through each room in your home. At the same time, waist aprons will give you some splash protection from house cleaning agents and other residue which you might encounter.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 2 – Always start from the top of the room
When you begin with the bedrooms you want to clean areas which accumulate dust that are not usually cleaned. Molding on ceilings, fan blades, and air vents pick up lots of dust throughout the year. Affix the brush tool to the vacuum hose and make sure to suck up all the dust and dander that you can see. If you don’t get everything use a good old cloth to clear off the remaining elements. Yes, they will fall onto the floor or carpet, but you will be able to clean that up when you run the vacuum or sweep the floor.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 3 – Use old socks to move heavy furniture
It’s Monday morning at 10 am and no one is home to help you move the bed to clean underneath. How in heaven are you going to move a 215-pound king bed? If you’re lucky enough to have a hard floor, take two old pairs of socks and wrap each of the socks around the bed legs. Now you will be able to maneuver the bed to be able to vacuum or sweep directly underneath the bed.
If you do live in a home where the bedrooms are carpeted, get slide glide furniture cups. These cups come in a circle or square and can be placed on pretty much any piece of furniture. Once affixed properly you will be able to push the bed with ease in order to clean properly underneath. Maybe a week before pickup the slide glide cups from the store and ask your husband to install them. And one more thing, ask him to flip the mattress. In general, a mattress should be flipped once every six months.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 4 – Microfiber car wash mitt for express dusting
Since you have many tasks ahead of you before the kids come home from school you want to make sure that you are covering everything but doing it quickly. In your local Dollar Store, you can find a microfiber car wash mitt that can be used to dust quickly and efficiently. No need for picking up or searching for a rag, just run your hand and go. You can pick up delicate décor items, dust them and set down again without any mishaps. Best of all is that this magic mitt can clean silk plants which tend to accumulate lots of dust.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 5 – Bounce® Dryer Sheets to clean baseboards
After a long winter, baseboards and floor moldings get scuffed and lose their shiny white appearance. Yes, this can happen from toys, vacuums, mops, shoes, and even food spills. This is one of my favorite hacks that not too many people know about. Take a Bounce® Dryer Sheet and rub it against those marks. You will be surprised how easily stains come off. When you come to a corner give the rubbing a bit more time to get rid of all the dirt that has accumulated there. Just keep in mind that this can’t repair any dents or scratches. For that you will need to paint it over.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 6 – Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge
Walls in the house tend to pick up strange things especially with a house full of kids. I found the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge to be extremely helpful and quite effective in removing stains and residue from the walls. Just the other day, the plug of my cordless phone charging base fell out and I had to go underneath the dinette to plug it back in. I found a whole section of the wall surrounding the outlet stained with meatball sauce. I am not sure how it got under the table, but the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge removed all the residue.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 7 – Giving unused clothing away
Yes, I know items of clothing are very sentimental (specially to grown men) but something I learned from my cousin Libby was to only keep clothing which will be used in the future. Besides, if the clothing is still in good condition why not let someone else benefit from it rather than sitting in a bin for the next century. When giving away clothing you want to have different color garbage bags so as not to confuse the contents with regular trash.
There are three categories: Clothes which have no use go into regular black trash bags. Clothes which can be worn but are no longer in style can go into a pink color garbage bag, and be dropped in the local donation box. Clothes which can be worn and are still in style can be washed and pressed and be given to family or a neighbor. The rule of thumb is, that if you won’t wear it, chances are that no one else will either.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 8 – Clean the outside of your window by squeezing the tilt latch
True, you clean the windows in your home now and then, but with spring cleaning you want to get ultimate window transparency. With most new windows you can simply squeeze the tilt latches which will give you access to the outer part of the window. Now you can remove all the dirt that has accumulated throughout the winter which enhances both the inside and outside of your home.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 9 – Decluttering and Organizing
This is by far the hardest part of spring cleaning, decluttering and organizing items lying around. If you have no use for it anymore get rid of it. Remove old books, papers, toys, cell phones, wires, flat pillows, and whatever else is taking up extra space in your home. You want to be sure that this year, the only items which remain in your home are essentials for you and your family. If you’re living in an apartment you might want to check out The Container Store to find space saving solutions. Every inch of space saved can make a big difference in keeping your home organized. There are many other benefits of keeping a clean house like, lowering stress, reducing allergies, and even lowering your weight.
Spring Cleaning Tip # 10 – Celebrate by taking out the family for dinner
You have accomplished a daunting task in cleaning up your home and making it more livable. The last thing you want to have to worry about is putting together supper for the family. Treat yourself to a neat home for the next 24 hours. Yes, the clean atmosphere might not last for long but holistically the house is fresh from top to bottom.
Each year I find myself in the same scenario, dreading spring cleanup. However, as time goes on, I can come up with new hacks that make the cleanup easier. In fact, I get a little buzz when a room is all tidied up within twenty minutes. When the job drags out, you begin feeling tired and stressed which is quite normal. Stop and take a coffee break. If you can’t finish the house in one day, spread the tasks out over a week. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. You might want to get creative in organizing your kitchen by purchasing food storage bags & containers. This will keep your pantry looking nice and neat with stackable containers. Take the food items out of the box and place them in clear storage containers. Getting rid of the boxes will make it look neat and organized. Creativity helps move spring cleaning along without the stress. Good luck!