Remember when Mary Poppins sang “A Spoonful of Sugar” to the kids and she snapped her fingers and suddenly, the clothes were folded and put away, the beds were made, and the toys were back in their rightful spots? And then the kids started snapping, and “tidying up” was suddenly magical fun for everyone?
Unfortunately, there is no magical snap that cleans our homes. It’s called good old-fashioned elbow grease.
And whether we hate cleaning or just mildly tolerate it (does anyone really love it?), spring is the perfect time to do some of those not-done-on-a-regular-basis chores.
• Start by organizing your closets. Get rid of unused clothes and accessories. Have you worn it at all in the past year? What’s the likelihood you’ll wear it this year? Make your closet work for you.
• Clean your walls with a damp cloth. If that doesn’t seem to remove the marks, mix in a little dishwashing liquid.
• Have your carpet cleaned professionally. If you have area rugs, those should be cleaned every four to five years. (If you own a fine silk rug, it should be cleaned every 20-30 years.) For treating stains, try club soda.
• Wash your windows. They will be especially dirty after not being opened all winter. Use a squeegee rather than a cloth or newspaper for the best results.
• Clean your blinds. If your blinds are made of wood, use a gentle wood cleaner. If your blinds are made of aluminum, scrub them clean outside on an old sheet, then hose them down.
• Clean the lightbulbs in your lamps and light fixtures with a damp cloth.
• Even if you don’t eat on the couch, vacuum under the cushions.
• Clean out your refrigerator. Wash down all shelves and drawers.
• Vacuum, steam-clean, or dry-clean your curtains and drapes.
• Replace all batteries in your smoke detectors. (This should be done twice a year.)
*If—during your spring cleaning—you decide to de-clutter and get rid of items you no longer want, consider donating them to The Salvation Army, Goodwill, the Lupus Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation, Dress for Success, Habitat for Humanity, Arc’s Value Village, Disabled American Veterans, or Bridging.