Cleaning....you either love it, or you hate it...or, if you are like me, you love the finished result but hate the endless task of cleaning (who knew kids, pets, and even spouses could be so much work!) :)
And now it's spring cleaning time....the time of year that, at least for us in the midwest, we find ourselves yearning to throw open the windows, strip down every curtain, clean every blind, wash every window....all in the "heatwave" of 30-40 degree temps!
Why is it that spring break is always in March anyway? Has anyone every truly enjoyed having, what is typically for us here in Wisconsin, a cold, wet, drab few days off? I believe it must be a conspiracy put into place to get us to travel south and west...to get us to recall what the sun truly feels like against your face and to make us believe that, upon return, we, too, will have that once again very soon...we just to make it through that last April snowstorm.... :)
But back to the subject at hand....getting prepped for spring cleaning time!
Here's an outline to make your dreaded (or not so dreaded, whichever the case may be) task a little easier, a few detail reminders, and some fun along the way...and, NO, I have not been paid to endorse any of the products I have mentioned/shown below...these are here simply as my personal recommendation and products that we have found work well for us.
Where to begin...that's always my question...I usually start in the kitchen and work my way from there....
Kitchen:Always the dirtiest part of the home, so let's get that out of the way
1) Appliances - wipe them down from top to bottom with your favorite cleaner
2) Clean the inside of the oven, don't forget to pull the drawer out from the bottom (how did that noodle get in there anyway?!?).
3) Empty the fridge entirely and seriously go through all the items discarding everything that is way out of date, tasted gross to begin with, or you will never use again.
4) Wipe down the inside of the fridge using just a wet rag and some Dawn
(no chemicals preferred in the fridge, please). Then take all the food bins and do the same.
5) Empty out that freezer...if you don't know what it is now, you won't know what it is in another 3 months so toss it.
6) Dishwasher..use this for more than dishes! You can wash glass globes, some toys, toothbrushes, etc..just use a gentle cycle and skip the drying
7) Microwave...amazing how no ever admits to how that marshmallow became glued to the roof of the microwave, isn't it? Never fear, just place a bowl with some lemon juice and water in it (equal parts is fine), run for 30 second implements, and wipe it down in between. Depending on how bad yours is, it may take a few times around to get all the crud off. Don't forget to wipe exterior as well.
8) Coffee maker running slow? Now's the perfect time to fix that! Brew a pot (or half pot) of straight vinegar! Yes, I said vinegar! Stay with me now...once that has gone through the cycle (and yes, it does stink a bit), run 2 additional cycles of just clear water. When you are done, there will be no more vinegar smell or taste and your coffee maker should be running good as new!
9) Get that pantry cleaned out! If it's old, toss it. Before putting everything back, wipe everything down (shelves, bottles, etc), sort and group the items by type and arrange neatly. You will find that once things are "clustered", they are easier to find.
10) Shelves, tops of cabinets, door fronts...they all get grimy at some point in the kitchen. Take the time to wipe everything down and don't forget about those cobwebs hiding in the corner that you can only see if you're on a ladder...
11) Floors..do a good, thorough cleaning this time of year. Get into every corner, and pull appliances out to get behind/underneath them as well...that has to be the worst area in any kitchen! Yuck!
12) Don't forget to take the vacuum hose and carefully clean any coils you may have on your fridge. Many newer appliances have the coils encased now, but it still pays to remove the front vent cover by the floor and get all the dustbunnies out of there.
13) Under the sink...the holy grail of a catch all for cleaners! Take a moment to reorganize that space and donate any cleaners you bought but never cared for.
14) Drawers...reorganize the chaos that has slowly built up over the year and be strong while going through that junk drawer!
15) Wipe down the walls.
16) Wash the windows...Windex and paper towels work great!
17) Remove any curtains and wash them, or wash the blinds. Depending on many factors, you may be able to simply dust the blinds off, or, you may have to remove them entirely and hose them off outside..all depends on your home, cooking style, and how long it's been since you last cleaned them. ;)
Dining Area:As the reward for getting through the kitchen, on to what I feel is the easiest area of the house to clean! Woohoo!
1) Wipe down the table, chairs, legs, etc.
2) Get rid of cobwebs hiding in corners and any dustbunnies lurking
3) Wash these windows as well
4) Curtains and blinds again...if you have drapes, take them in to be cleaned professionally
5) Wood floors? Give them a nice shine...but warn your family that you did so they don't go for the ride of their life unexpectedly!
6) China cabinet? Now granted, the pieces in here are supposed to remain free of all dust, but I have seen some that haven't done such a great job. Gently wipe everything down with a soft cloth and you should be fine.
Since these vary so vastly from home to home, just a few basic tips
1) Furniture....remove all the cushions and clean underneath...you will be amazed at what you find under there if you have kids! Or pets even...we had a dog that used to steal candy and hide it in the couch! Seriously! Unopened stash for her I guess :)
2) Again with the curtains and blinds....
3) Dust and shine every piece of woodwork
4) Vacuum...and yes, pull that couch out and get under and behind it as well. Try to not suck up that Lego or Matchbox car while doing so!
5) Speaking of vacuums...clean yours! Changing the bag is expected, but did you know you should clean/change any filters? Snip off any threads that magically became wrapped around the brush underneath as well...but make sure the unit is unplugged before doing these things!
6) Wipe down the walls
7) And again with the windows....
8) TV's and other electronics...use care when cleaning/dusting these! Personally, we do not use any chemicals on the electronic items, we use the Swiffer Dusters
instead and have found those to work great!
9) Clean the baseboards/trim around the room. May seem like a lot of work, but it goes very quickly and does make a big difference.
10) DVD's and games...many of us still have DVD's and maybe it's time to go through them, keep what we really want and donate the rest. Keep in mind that even though you can find most movies online somewhere, there are times when you really want to see your favorite flick and it's not on Netflix! Gasp!
Welcome to the minefield! Where smuggling out broken crayons may as well be a call to war!
1) Get tough, but understanding...have the kids make a donate pile and a keep pile. Explain why you donate good/gently used toys and they will be more likely to pitch in.
2) Go through the clothes...kids grow fast and there are probably several pieces that no longer fit hidden within that room somewhere. If you have teens, they like a style one day and don't the next (if they're the ones buying them, or they love Goodwill, more power to them...if I am buying the clothes then it's another story) so donate or re-donate.
3) Clean everything...and have them lend a hand as well. Don't forget to look into the drawers and closets...amazing how kids stuff everything imaginable into those when they are told to clean their rooms during the week.
4) Again with the windows, walls, trim
5) Matresses...strip and, if possible, flip them. If you can't flip, then make sure you vacuum them.
1) Pet peeve of mine...the toilet! Not only the grossest thing in the house anyway, but it's made worse by the poor design at the bottom...who on earth thinks you should have those curves of the unit exposed?? They are only good for one thing...holding all the dust and gross stuff! Make the toilets smooth sided all the way to the floor and we will be happier!
2) Tub/Shower...wipe it completely down from top to bottom. Remove all the nearly empty shampoo bottles, pitch the old razors, etc
3) Shower curtain liner? Spend a few dollars and buy a new one...only this time open it outside, spray with Lysol and then hang
up. This keeps mold at bay (from my experience). If you have shower doors, remove them from the track and give everything a good cleaning. We have hard water here so we take the doors outside, clean with Lime-A-Way, spray off with the hose and reinstall (don't forget to clean the track while the doors are off!)
4) Make-up...pitch the old stuff already, like the bright blue eye shadow you simply had to have...
5) Go through the medicine cabinet and get rid of out dated items
6) Clean the cabinets out...get rid of all those free sample size items you never used, the old hair spray that won't spray anymore because the cap is petrified shut, the old hair supplies that you had for when you, or your kids', hair was long and needed styling and now you all have short hair.
7) And it goes without saying...curtains, woodwork, blinds, etc once again
Let's leave those areas for another time...or better yet, let your spouse handle cleaning those...you've done the rest of the house, you deserve a break!
Time to grab that sunscreen and relax, on the beach chair, in your tv shirt and shorts, while you do some grilling in that beautiful spring snowfall of March....it's 30 degrees after all, it's a heat wave here! :)
Thanks for reading..and we hope you found this both helpful and enjoyable!
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