ROOM BY ROOM, HERE’S WHAT THE EXPERTS WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT GIVING YOUR SPACE A REFRESH.By JEN ANDERSONAPRIL 6, 2020
As many of us are spending more and more time at home, the tradition of spring cleaning is taking on a new meaning. The seasons are changing, the weather has warmed up, the energy is shifting, and the dust bunnies that have been under the bed since December need to be vanquished. Keeping your space clean and organized can have a lot of positive benefits to your physical and your mental health, plus, you likely have more free time these days to complete the chores you usually put off. Whenever you’re ready to get started, consult this spring cleaning checklist
We reached out to cleaning and organizing experts about the can’t-miss spots in your home that deserve some love and care, from the proper fridge clear-out protocol to the quintessential closet overhaul. We’ve taken the guesswork out of your spring refresh to keep you on track. And for more deep cleaning tips, check out 11 Things You Can Deep Clean Yourself and How to Do It.
Spring Cleaning the Kitchen
1. Sanitize All Surfaces
Your day-to-day routine might include wiping up food crumbs with a sponge or using a Clorox wipe to quickly clean up, but for this time of the year, you’re going to want to really sanitize. Jonathan Browne offers these step-by-step instructions:
“The first step is to clean the surface with a cleaning spray and use a fresh rag to actually wipe the surface,” he says. “After you’ve cleaned the surface, spray with Lysol and leave for 10 minutes. This is what’s known as dwell time and it is necessary to actually sanitize a surface.” The final step? “Dry off the surface, and spray it again with a cleaner to do a final clean of the sanitizer,” he sums up.
2. Clear Out and Organize the Pantry
According to Corrie Jackson you should absolutely overhaul your pantry during your spring clean. First, make sure to remove anything that’s past its prime. (Yes, even pantry staples can expire.) Then, move onto organizing what you have in order to set up healthy habits. “We’ve started creating a Wellness Zone for our clients,” Jackson says. “We decant healthy snacks like nuts, seeds and dried fruit into sustainable glass storage and display them front and center. We also decant smoothie mixes, protein shakes, and collagen.”
3. Give Your Junk Drawer More Purpose
Jackson also has a strategy for taking on your “drawers of doom.”
“Find a spot for all your stray objects: pens, phone chargers, bills, hair bands etc. If it doesn’t have a designated place, it doesn’t stay,” she advises. Then take things a step further by completely discarding the “just in case” objects. If you haven’t needed them so far, you likely won’t anytime soon.
4. Clean Out Your Entire Fridge
“Check the labels on the products and throw out the ones that have already expired,” says organizer Judit Laszlo. To do this, remove every single item and put them all out on your kitchen counters. Then, only keep the items that are still good (and you know you’re going to eat). Once, you’ve done that, “scrub and polish the inside of the fridge,” adds Kadi Dulude, owner of Wizard of Homes. “The shelves and drawers slide out and can be washed in the sink with warm water and soap.” Finally, put everything back in according to its category. Voila: a seemingly brand new fridge.
5. Show Your Appliances Some Care
Your appliances are likely the last thing you remember to clean on an everyday basis, but not taking care of them can affect the taste of your food in the long run. This includes everything from small pieces such as your toaster and coffee maker to your microwave and oven. For the oven, Browne says the best tools are a pumice stone and a stainless steel pad. “Use the pumice on very difficult areas. You’ll need to spray it with oven cleaner and let that sit for about an hour,” he says. “Spray it again when you come back as it will have dried and go at it with the stainless steel, making sure you’re wearing gloves.”
Spring Cleaning the Bathroom
1. Tackle the Bathroom Shelves
Whether you have a medicine cabinet, an above-the-toilet unit, or open shelves, your bathroom organization can easily get over-crowded and in need of major decluttering. “The simplest way to start is to pull everything out,” says Jackson. “Piling all your skincare and makeup into one space forces you to consider it in context.” Group everything into categories, such as cleansers, hair products, and foundations, and then consider each one carefully before you put it back. For Jackson, this means checking the expiration date, checking the “period after opening” date (it looks like a jar with a number), and performing a quick sniff test. If it smells off, toss it.
2. Scrub Down the Toilet
And we don’t just mean the toilet bowl. To truly give your toilet a detoxifying cleanse, “Clean your entire toilet, [including] the space around it including baseboards,” Browne says. Don’t forget the parts you might not think of right away, like the floor in front of and behind it, as well as the porcelain below the bowl and the handle…definitely don’t forget the handle.
3. Remove Bathroom Mold
If you’re not careful about properly ventilating your bathroom, you might notice some mold and bacterial growth. This is due to the excess moisture. It’s gross, but not too difficult to tackle.
First, remove all towels from the space and give them a good wash. Then, get rid of the mold with a spray bottle of white vinegar. You can also buy mold and mildew cleaners specifically for this. “If you see mold coming back too quickly after you clean, then make it a habit to keep the bathroom door open after showers. This way the steam can go out and the bathroom dries,” adds Dulude.
Spring Cleaning the Bedroom
1. Overhaul Your Closet
You knew this one was coming. Spring cleaning is almost synonymous with closet clear-outs. First, start with your out-of-season clothing. “Stash your bulky winter gear in clear containers and store it under your bed,” suggests Jackson. “When it comes to streamlining your closet, follow the 3F-rule: makes sure each item fits, flatters, and functions.” If you’re really struggling and holding onto most items, try Jackson’s hanger trick by turning everything away from you. When you wear the item, you can turn the hanger the other way. At the end of the month, the hangers that are still facing away from you are clearly not items you wear very often. Unless they’re special occasion wear, those are prime candidates for donating.
2. Get Crafty with Accessory Organization
Pay close attention to smaller clothing bits, accessories and shoes when you’re tidying up. These items can add up to a big mess. “Consider investing in tension rods to hang your shoes or simply put them in a basket,” Laszlo suggests. For your dresser, “use drawer organizers to separate your underwear, bras and socks from messiness.”
3. Wash All Linens
Springtime is the best time to refresh your bedroom linens. Start with the obvious linens you likely clean often, such as pillowcases, throws, and sheets. But don’t stop there. “Now may also be a good time to switch up the duvet covers for a happier pattern,” Dulude advises. Other things to clean while you’re at it: your curtains, pillows, duvet insert and rug (if it’s washable).
Spring Cleaning Everywhere Else
1. Tidy Up the Front Entryway
“The way you enter and exit your home sets the tone for the whole house,” explains Jackson. Because of this, she recommends doing a deep cleaning there every season. First, remove all of the items that don’t belong. Then, assign everyday objects their own space. “Pretty baskets hide a multitude of sins, so use them to store shoes, kids’ sports gear, accessories etc.,” she says.
2. Work on Your Workspace
It’s hard to be productive if your workspace isn’t looking its best. “Dust, wipe and disinfect your desk (including the keyboard and mouse!) to prevent being contaminated by germs,” Laszlo says. Then take this opportunity to organize your important documents. “Keep your files and important papers vertically rather than horizontally; it will help save you some space. Then, put your sentimental files into boxes or folders and label them so it [will] be easier to navigate through them.”
3. Use the “Spark Joy” Method
“Yes, like the Marie Kondo show,” Browne says. Use the tidying up expert’s rules for sifting through stuff as guidelines. Go through all the items in your home that are causing mess. If you don’t feel like an item is serving you or sparking any sense of joy, get rid of it, store it, sell it, or donate it.
JEN ANDERSONJen Anderson is a health and lifestyle writer. Read more
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