Daylight savings has hit, the sun’s out and flowers are blooming — it’s officially spring. Before you start enjoying the fresh air, take some time to clear out the winter blues from your home. (We get it — if your holiday decor is still lingering in your living room, you’re not alone.) After many months of being cooped up indoors, there’s no better way to usher in the new season than with the time-honored annual tradition of decluttering and organizing your life. Tackling the dust and grime that’s built up over the winter can be a daunting task, so we’ve put together our favorite spring cleaning tips to give your place a much-needed reset.
1. Make a Detailed Home Cleaning Checklist
Deep cleaning your entire home can be overwhelming, so break up the work by tackling one room at a time. It helps to go into your cleaning spree with a detailed plan. If you’re aiming to finish everything up in a three-day timeframe, for instance, create a checklist for each day that covers the areas you want to target and the key tasks you need to complete. Split up rooms or responsibilities with your partner, or, if you have kids, find opportunities to get them involved. (And don’t forget to create a spring cleaning playlist to help you declutter to your favorite jams.)
As you’re going through your home and jotting down your checklist, follow this three-step approach:
- Identify your storage/organizational issues — e.g., are all your books lying around on the floor, disorganized? Is your kitchen pantry a disaster?
- Assess the reason(s) for the clutter — e.g., do you need to give your room a makeover? Do you need to invest in better storage solutions?
- Determine long-term solutions (and implement!) — e.g., turn your closet into a cloffice to create more space in your room, or invest in glass jars to store your bulk grains.
2. Work From Top to Bottom
When you tidy up, always start from the ceiling and work your way down. That means cleaning with gravity and letting dust and debris from higher places settle to the ground before, as a final step, taking care of the floors. (In other words, wipe your stovetop, cupboards and counters before you Swiffer the kitchen tile, and dust ceiling corners and hard-to-reach shelves before you vacuum.) Remember that cleaning out of order might mean you’ll have to redo a spot or two down the line. It also helps to get any pre-treatments or soaking out of the way first, so you can let the cleaner do its magic while you organize the rest of your house.
3. Categorize Your Belongings
Spring cleaning isn’t only about moving your belongings around. In fact, it might be time to part ways with some of your little-used items or pieces that are due for an upgrade. As you’re organizing your stuff, sort everything into four piles: keep, donate, store or sell.
- Keep: These are items you aren’t ready to part with yet, but may need a new home within your home. Don’t be afraid to do a shuffle — the shoe rack in your room may fit better by your front door, and the decor on your counters may be better suited to your mantel or the top of your bookcase.
- Donate: Donating your items to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or even a family member or friend can be a great way to rehome some of your gently loved belongings. An easy rule of thumb is to think about how many times you used an item in the past year. If it’s once or twice, it may be time to give it away.
- Store: Storing your seasonal items is an easy way to clear up space without getting rid of items you know you’ll need again later in the year. Be sure to consider the storage conditions you need, whether it’s humidity and temperature control or twenty-four-hour access.
- Sell: Selling furniture, tech and other expensive items is a much more eco-friendly alternative to tossing bulky pieces on the curb, and can help offset some of the original purchasing cost. Check out our tips on how to sell on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to craft eye-catching listings.
4. Protect Your Winter Wardrobe
With the weather warming up, now’s the time to stow your heavy coats and scarves and bring out the tees, skirts and shorts. Before you tuck your winter garb away, be sure to run it through the wash or take it to the dry cleaners to remove any dirt or grease that can attract beetles and moths. Plastic bins are the best option for storage, but some materials — like wool — need to breathe and might fare better in a zippered cotton bag. If possible, tuck everything under your bed or outsource your storage needs.
5. Allergy-Proof Your Rooms
Spring isn’t all idyllic — along with the weather is plenty of pollen that can trigger allergies. As you’re cleaning, you might be releasing all kinds of pet dander and dust mites into the air. Keep the windows open to encourage air circulation, and wear a mask if you’re using harsh cleaners or chemicals (we recommend swapping to eco-friendly DIY versions, when possible). It might also be a good idea to invest in an air purifier or vacuum with an EPA-approved HEPA filter that sucks in and traps any particles that might make your sneezer worse.
6. Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions
Too many expired or single-purpose cleaning products cluttering your cabinets? Using common pantry items such as distilled vinegar, essential oils and baking soda, you can actually DIY sustainable and effective solutions for a variety of home cleaning needs, including degreasers, carpet stain removers, stainless steel polishers, toilet bowl cleaner tablets and more. They’ll make your entire house smell fresh all year long — and best of all, you can control the amount of product you create, minimizing waste. Check out our 10 favorite eco-friendly cleaning product recipes, with store-bought alternatives if you’re in a pinch.
7. Tag-Team Common Areas With Your Kids
If you have young children, your spring cleaning checklist can feel like a much bigger chore. This year, bring them into your cleaning routine by turning the process into play. You can download and print our Clean Your Room BINGO Game, full of kid-friendly tasks such as hanging up clothes and putting shoes away. If they complete five in a row, they get a reward! Don’t forget to tell them how much you appreciate their help — and consistently remind them that their efforts help keep the house feeling clean and organized. For more tips check out our blog post on making cleaning fun for kids.
8. Bonus Spring Cleaning Tip: Don't Forget the Odd Jobs
Spring cleaning is the time to take care of those odd jobs you only do a few times a year. It’s worth it to get these often unpleasant or dreaded tasks out of the way, whether it’s wiping down the walls with disinfectant, cleaning the oven, removing bins from your refrigerator and giving them a good scrub, or even removing stains on carpeting and countertops. Here are some other home cleaning tasks you don’t want to forget:
- Clean air vents
- Dust blinds and windows
- Clean or replace sheets/linens
- Polish hardwood floors
- Wash outdoor furniture
- Unclog drains
- Toss expired makeup, pantry items or cleaning products
- Replace water and air filters