The Essential Spring Cleaning Checklist

  • Winter’s Over!

    It’s time to emerge from our winter cocoons, unseal the windows and begin the transformation from warm and cozy to fresh and springy. Keep clicking for tips on where to begin, how to get organized and how a few easy tweaks can make your home feel like new again. Whether you feel your home needs freshening up or you are preparing your home for sale, the following pages are chock full of easy DIY tips and tricks. Photo Credit: aaron gustafson
    Attack Those Cobwebs
  • Attack Those Cobwebs

    We all know how to clean our homes so you don’t need me to go over the basics, but your spring clean should be more thorough than usual. It’s amazing how a serious top to bottom dusting can really brighten a room’s appearance. I’m partial to this Mini Duster with handle from Crate and Barrel, because it’s great for books, shelves, stairway railings, tops of windows, ceiling fans, etc. You can rinse it in the sink once you're done or throw it in the washer to give it a solid clean. It’s also small enough to hang inside a cabinet door. Dusting tip: On vertical surfaces, dust from the top down. Photo Credit: Crate & Barrel
    Secret Concoctions
  • Secret Concoctions

    Odors can hide in carpets, so a great way to get rid of musty smells is to sprinkle baking soda on your carpets and leave overnight.  The baking soda will the absorb odors and can be vacuumed away in the morning.  Remember to also vacuum your furniture and under the couch cushions while you’re at it. Baking soda is also handy for other cleaning tasks — for showers and interior walls, mix ¼ cup baking soda with ¼ cup vinegar with ½ cup water (be sure to clean from the top down!). Photo Credit: Jessica Mullen
    Polish the Floors
  • Polish the Floors

    There’s nothing like gleaming floors to lift your spirits. One of my favorites, Murphy’s Oil Soap, is no nonsense and always reliable.  Click here for more information and other uses for this old favorite. If you’d like to make your own cleaner at home, vinegar diluted in water is a great wood floor cleaner, add a couple drop of lemon oil to really make ‘em shine.  Best to spray the solution onto your mop first instead of pouring directly onto the floor.  Use this gentle, yet effective solution for wiping down cabinets, too. The kids can even pitch in by putting sheets of wax paper under their shoes and shuffling to their favorite tunes! Photo Credit: Allie Pasquier
    Window Cleaning
  • Window Cleaning

    Make sure you get your windows sparkling clean for spring. A lot of residue can build up (inside and out) throughout the winter months.  Windex is always reliable and comes in a number of varieties. Click here to check out all the varieties and some usage tips. To make your own window cleaner, mix a capful of ammonia or five drops of liquid dish detergent in two gallons of water. Dip a squeegee slightly into the solution, preferably one with a long handle and a sponge panel like this one from Ace Hardware ($6.99). Pick up just enough water to wet the entire window, then squeegee downward to clean. Repeat if necessary. Finish with a horizontal stroke across the bottom and wipe any water off the sill with a damp cloth. Tip: If you're cleaning both the inside and outside of the window, squeegee horizontally on one side and vertically on the other, so you can tell whether any streaks are inside or out. Photo Credit: ACE Hardware
    Organize Your Clothes
  • Organize Your Clothes

    Since you’ll want to switch out your cold weather clothes for warm weather clothes (unless you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate all year), this is a great time to organize your closets. First, empty your closets. Take out everything that is not season appropriate and store in trunks or boxes like these from Target ($38.99 for all 3, and so cute!). Store the boxes under your bed, on upper shelves or in the attic or basement. Bring out all your spring/summer clothes. Decide whether you will wear them or give them away. Separate the keepers by type and place them in an organized fashion in the closet. Photo Credit: Organize Your Shoes
  • Organize Your Shoes

    Now do the same thing with your shoes.  Pull out all if your shoes and store away those that are not season appropriate. If the remaining shoes don’t have an organized place to live, find a shoe rack that fits your closet. I don’t have much room for shoes in my closet, so I use a handy storage case like this, which I found at Bed, Bath and Beyond for only $14.99. Photo Credit: Bed Bath & Beyond
    Now, Spruce Things Up
  • Now, Spruce Things Up

    After this big spring clean, can you put your hands on your hips, look around, sigh and feel completely satisfied? If you answered "yes," you are fortunate. Many of us, even after a thorough clean, still feel like our homes need something. Keep clicking for great tips on how to make your home feel like new. Photo Credit: Iban Ramon
    Lighten Up!
  • Lighten Up!

    Exchange heavy, insulated curtains for sheer, flowy ones. Allowing some light to show throw can give a fresher, more breezy feel to any room. Curtains can sometimes be expensive, but there are inexpensive options, like these from Ikea. Ikea offers great variety and these sheer panels are only $14.99 for the pair. Photo Credit: IKEA
    Got Something to Hide? 
  • Got Something to Hide? 

    A stained carpet can really do a number on how a room feels — stains can make an otherwise sparkling clean room look and feel dingy.  First try removing the stain with a professional stain remover like Spot Shot ($7.29). If you are not successful, try covering the stain with another rug. The layering of rugs can be quite elegant and cool if done tastefully. Rugs.com is a wonderful source for rugs of all shapes, sizes, colors and prices. They have a search function that really helps you find the right rug for you. Photo Credit: Spring globe
    Is Your Kitchen Making Your House Feel Old?  
  • Is Your Kitchen Making Your House Feel Old?  

    The kitchen is really the showpiece of the house. Most of us love our homes but that love is not the same for our kitchens, especially if we haven’t been able to make the investment for a renovation that reflects our personal tastes. A good compromise is to make small updates like changing your cabinet hardware. You’ll be amazed by what some new knobs or pulls can do. Check out Web sites like this one that have a large variety at decent prices. Photo Credit: hastingsgraham
    How About the Bathroom? 
  • How About the Bathroom? 

    Bathrooms present similar problems to kitchens. They are expensive to renovate and they are very taste specific, so if it isn't in the budget to update the bathroom(s), we often end up living with a room that we don't enjoy being in. A nice, inexpensive fix is to repaint, especially if there is wallpaper that seems dated or is past it's prime. Strip the walls, and replace the wallpaper with a paint color that makes you feel happy. Stripping wallpaper isn't difficult, it's just messy. And thankfully, there are tons of online resources with easy to follow how-tos like this one. Once you've updated the paint, change the shower curtain, add new towels and switch out whatever hardware you can that doesn't require a plumber. What a difference! Photo Credit: Joe Shlabotnik
    Lighting and Faceplates
  • Lighting and Faceplates

    If the lights and lighting hardware in your home don’t match with your décor — change them! Changing faceplates and light fixtures around the house can give your home an unexpected face lift. Don’t know how to change your own light fixture? Don’t worry — there are plenty of online resources that will show you in a step-by-step fashion. Try this one. Check out sites like Lightinguniverse.com for ideas on how to easily, and cheaply, update your lights. Wallplatesonline.com and other sites like it are good places to check out a large range of faceplates to suit your tastes. You’ll be amazed by what a small change like this can do to your home. Photo Credit: jagwired
    Add Some Plant Life  
  • Add Some Plant Life  

    Plants and flowers are a simple way to spruce up your home — and they improve air quality! Most of the bigger home stores, like Home Depot and Lowes have a great variety of plants at very reasonable prices. Local nurseries are also good to explore. If you don't have a green thumb, ask someone in the plan department to advise you on which plants might work with the level of light you get in each room, and which plants might be hearty and easy to maintain. Have fun — put a plant in every room! Photo Credit:  Eric Monroy
    Hold Off on the Knick-Knacks 
  • Hold Off on the Knick-Knacks 

    Are knick knacks taking over your home? Try to look at each knick-knack shelf with a very critical eye and ask yourself, "Does this look or feel crowded?" If the answer is yes, remove a few things, walk away and then turn to look again. Does it look better? Do this exercise wherever you have keepsakes around the house — it will surprise you how might lighter your home will feel after a good editing. Photo Credit: Paper Cat
    The Dreaded Staircase 
  • The Dreaded Staircase 

    Repaint your trim and stair fronts (remove scuffs with a pencil eraser) with a white high-gloss paint. This will make the whole room look like it has been recently painted! Photo Credit: miyukiutada
    Improving Curb Appeal
  • Improving Curb Appeal

    If you have siding, spray wash it. Also, make sure that the shutters look good — if you have one that is broken, try to find a replacement. Another easy way to update the look of your house is to replace your number. Be sure to replace drab looking porch lights and add a plant or two to make the house look more inviting, too. Photo Credit: m74reeves
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