Spring Cleaning Hints And Tips For Organizing Your House

Spring cleaning is not the health necessity it once was, but a good yearly cleaning helps make your household run smoothly the rest of the year.

Today, spring cleaning is not the necessity it once was. Homes heated with coal, wood, oil, or gas all winter long, were coated with soot and smoke. Walls, carpets, draperies, ceilings, and everything in the house""even in the drawers--had to be scrubbed, washed, and restored to their pre-winter state.

Fortunately, modern heating systems are much cleaner and don't leave us with a mess in the springtime. Nevertheless, the tradition of spring cleaning is one that shouldn't be forgotten, for all homes require yearly maintenance and thorough cleaning, and springtime, with its newness and energy, seems to be the perfect time to do so.

It's best to plan your spring cleaning as soon as you stop using heat after the winter. This way you can open all of the windows and air out rooms that have become stuffy. You can also air out mattresses and bedding if you've turned off the heat.

Not all households will require the same tasks to achieve a clean, well-maintained home. You'll need to customize your spring cleaning checklist to fit your home's needs. Use the following list and descriptions to help you decide which chores you'll need to include in your whole-house deep cleaning.

--Wash blankets, comforters, quilts: If you don't have a front-loading washing machine without an agitator, you'll want to take these large items to a Laundromat or dry cleaner. An agitator can rip and ruin comforters and quilts.

--Go through closets and remove clothing that hasn't been worn in a year. Switch out seasonal clothing (put away winter clothes and press and hang summer clothes)

--Throw out or donate to charity unused items: This applies to all areas of the home, not just clothes closets. Go through toys, games, kitchen wares, bookshelves, and especially the garage. Your home will feel much roomier and less cluttered after this step.

--Clean and polish silver, jewelry, brass, etc: You're much more likely to use and wear these items if they're kept looking nice.

--Clean chandeliers and light fixtures: For ceiling fixtures, take down the glass part, wash them, shine them with Windex, and put them back. Don't forget outdoor light fixtures; they're often littered with spider webs and dead bugs.



--Clean walls and ceilings: Many flat latex paints are difficult if not impossible to wash. If your flat painted walls are dingy, you'll probably just need to repaint them. If your walls are painted with semi-gloss or gloss latex paint, however, you can wash them to get rid of the dinginess. Lay drop cloths on the floor to protect your floors, carpets, and furniture. Thoroughly vacuum or walls and ceilings before washing. Use a sturdy step ladder to get to the ceiling. Use a diluted, mild detergent, such as Spic-and-Span or Mr. Clean. Use a second bucket of clear water for rinsing. Don't do the whole wall or ceiling at once. Just do a couple of square yards at a time and rinse it before moving on.

--Clean the basement and garage: This is a dusty job, but you will find great satisfaction in getting everything organized and cleaned up.

--Vacuum books: Books collect a lot of dust while they sit on your shelves. Using the crevice tool on your vacuum, run the vacuum over the exposed edges of your books. This helps preserve them.

--Move heavy appliance, such as the range, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and clean underneath them.

--Shampoo rugs and upholstery: You can rent carpet cleaners, but they leave huge amounts of water underneath your carpet. If you live in a humid climate, the residual soapy water will probably mildew. You're better off calling a professional who has the equipment to leave your carpets relatively dry.

--Clean lampshades: Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to clean your shades. If your fabric shades need additional cleaning, you can use a mild detergent on a clean cloth to remove stains.

--Empty and clean all drawers, closets, and cabinets: Wash the shelves and doors and throw out items you no longer use.

--Wash window blinds and shades: You can purchase special tools for this job, or you can take them down and scrub them, making sure you thoroughly rinse and dry them before putting them back up.

--Wash or dry-clean all curtains and draperies: Curtains and draperies accumulate a lot of dust over the year. Bathroom and kitchen curtains may need to be washed more often than annually or semi-annually.

--Organize CDs, photos, and videos

--Organize household business papers and throw away ones you don't need anymore.

--Update household inventory: If your homeowner's insurance requires and inventory, make sure you've added items that have been purchased in the last year.

--Review insurance: Is your insurance still adequate? Are you overinsured? It's good to review this once a year.

A thorough yearly cleaning in the springtime will help your household run more smoothly day-to-day, and it gives you a standard to live by. Besides, having the entire house spic-and-span at the same time is a wonderful feeling. Why not shoot for it once a year?

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