How to Avoid Spring CleaningAre you dreading the very idea of spring cleaning? Do you remember your mom or dad talking, sometimes for weeks beforehand, about this annual event coming up? If so, chances are good that the cloud is hanging over you as winter ends and we look ahead to spring and summer days.

Well, here’s an idea: Who says that we have to do spring cleaning? The stated purpose of this event has been to freshen up the house after winter days when our homes have been primarily closed up. Time to open the doors and windows and freshen everything up, right? Yes indeed, but maybe not the way we remember.

A Different Approach

How about doing your spring-type cleaning on a staggered basis? Let’s say, for example, you choose one area per month for a deep cleaning, and stop attempting to do the whole thing all at once? It doesn’t sound nearly as overwhelming, does it?

Think about seasonally focused cleaning. Kitchen and pantry would logically get special attention before Thanksgiving. Living and dining areas might be at the top of the list for Christmas and New Year’s. Bedrooms and baths might need sprucing up for the summer when we might expect houseguests. Garage and patio are likely to need consideration in spring, to get ready for outdoor enjoyment. Once you find the appropriate routine for your home, you can create a schedule whereby every room type gets its concentrated deep cleaning every six months (for instance, kitchen and pantry in early November and again in May), and it doesn’t need to be something that you dread!

Launch Your Plan

So, let’s say you decide that the first weekend of each month will be the designated deep clean regimen for your house. It’s still a concerted task; let’s not kid ourselves! What can you do to make it more enjoyable? The obvious answer is: enlist help! Who? Spouse, kids, best friends (you help them; they help you), a reliable teenager who would like to make some money for putting in perhaps five hours helping you out.

One more thing: don’t forget to include offsite storage units, basements and garages on your deep cleaning schedule. These areas are often given short shrift, which may be the reason they get too cluttered to function as well as they should. Part of your in-house cleaning should always include purging and reorganizing; these tasks will be more efficiently done on a routine basis, and you’ll find that your storage areas consequently will work better, too.

Above all, try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Be sure to have the necessary cleaning tools at hand. This will be much easier to do if you are deep cleaning on a routine basis. Play music while you work. Take planned breaks. Plan something fun as a reward for your hard work – order in a pizza, have a pot of chili ready, have a good movie to watch, enjoy a relaxing beverage. The possibilities are endless, and easy to fashion to your liking.

Here’s a simple check list that might help you, whether you go “all in” for spring cleaning, or do it on a monthly basis:

Things to Clean Outdoors

• Porches
• Patios
• Grills
• Outdoor furniture
• Windows
• Rain gutters
• All entries to home, including welcome mats

Things to Clean in the Kitchen

• Dust walls, ceiling and ceiling lights/fans
• Clean exhaust fan over stovetop
• Windows and window coverings
• Baseboards, rugs and floor
• Clear and clean counter tops, cabinets and drawers
• Clean dishwasher, stove, oven, and refrigerator
• Backsplashes and countertop appliances
• Furniture

Things to Clean in Bathrooms

• Walls, ceiling, light fixtures and fans
• Wash blinds, curtains, shower curtains
• Clean out medicine chest; discard outdated meds
• Scrub tub, shower stall, sinks and toilet
• Clean out drawers and vanities
• Clean out linen closet and launder towels and sheets that have been unused for an extended period
• Wash floor, clean windows and mirrors

Things to Clean in Bedrooms

• Dust ceiling, baseboards, walls, light fixtures and fans
• Clean windows and window coverings
• Dust/polish all furniture, and clean under and behind bed
• Dust/wash all lamps and decorative knickknacks
• Clean and organize/purge dressers and closets

Things to Clean in Living/Dining Rooms

• Dust ceiling, baseboards, walls, light fixtures and fans
• Clean windows and window coverings
• Dust/wash all lamps and decorative knickknacks
• Dust/polish all furniture
• Clear books off shelves and clean thoroughly
• Clean entertainment center
• Clean, vacuum or wash floors and baseboards
• Vacuum all upholstered furniture

Things to Clean in Garages, Basements, and Storage Units

• Clear out any accumulated clutter
• Sweep or shop vac behind or underneath shelving units or pallets
• Do a quick inventory: are there items that can be discarded?
• Look for any signs of water damage
• Check that no liquids – paint, fuel, automotive – have spilled
• If needed, spray for ants or set ant/rodent traps
• Reorganize to keep like items together by use, season, or holiday