Spring-cleaning is a term that many busy moms dread. Not only does it imply a renewed acquaintance with the herd of dust bunnies under the beds, but it also implies a close encounter with the thus-far ignored cobwebs and layers of dust on the tops of shelves and hard-to-reach places. A spring-cleaning checklist can help get you started – particularly if you have kids underfoot, high schoolers with busy calendars and a job to keep as well.
2-3 Weeks Ahead of Time: Purge and Declutter
Two to three weeks before you are ready to put the mop to good use, purge and declutter your home. This is the time that each family member pitches in. Kids sort through toys and put those that are broken into trash sacks. Toys that are in good working order but no longer hold much interest go into a donation bin. The same is true for clothes and shoes. Set aside at least one hour a day to go through your accumulation of papers and file them away. Shred what you do not need.
Day 1: Clean and Organize Closets
Again, this is a job where everyone in the family pitches in. First, everyone empties out an assigned closet. Then, vacuum the floors and ceilings, wash the walls and freshen the carpeting inside. If shelves are loose, fix them. Next, return everything to the closet nicely sorted and organized. With winter being on the way out, pack up most of your cold-weather wardrobe and bring out your warm-weather clothes.
Day 2: Clean and Organize Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers as well as the Bathroom Cabinets
Is it not amazing what can accumulate in a kitchen cabinet in just a short year? Look for expired food packages and toss them. Re-evaluate your need for plastic cups. If you have young kids who frequently go out to eat with you, there is a good chance that you have quite an assortment of these cups by now. While it is always good to have two or three on hand, you do not need 10 or 15. Wash down the shelves and return everything neatly stacked and organized.
Head to the bathroom next. There are probably plenty of outdated medicines and over-the-counter products that you can get rid of. Do not throw these items in the trash! Inquire with your municipality for a proper disposal station. Most pharmacies will also take outdated medicines off your hands.
Day 3: Focus on the Soft Things and the Glass
Curtains, cushions, rugs, lampshades and bedding are just a few examples of the soft items that need a good cleaning. This may be the day that you make a few trips to the dry cleaner to take in rugs and window treatments for a deep-cleaning treatment. Your duvets, comforters and mattress pad need washing. Turn around the mattresses, too, while you are working with them. With the windows exposed, now is a good time to tackle the glass. Clean it from the outside first and then from the inside. Look around for other glass surfaces. Since you already have the glass cleaner out, you might as well tackle them all right now.
Day 4: Clean the Refrigerator and Vacuum the Home
Find babysitting for younger kids. With all the food out on the floor, the last thing you need is a youngster careening around the corner and spilling everything you have put out. If you can find a preschool or kindergarten mom who is willing to entertain your kids for a couple of hours, take advantage of her generosity!
Cleaning the fridge may take a little while. Plenty of sticky spills take a bit to clean up properly. Toss out the old food and the freezer-burned meat that has been hiding in the back of the freezer for a while now. Vacuum the coils of the fridge and the whole home while you have the appliance plugged in.
What about the Garage?
Spring-cleaning a garage is a project unto itself so set up a separate checklist for this task. It rarely lends itself to getting it done in day simply because many garages have become families’ dumping grounds for unwanted items. If you are the one solely responsible for maintaining the space, tackle this project when you have sitters for the younger kids. Since there are frequently power tools, small sharp objects and chemicals in the garage, this is not the place for little ones.