With the arrival of Spring and warmer weather, there is a sense of renewal, refreshing and cleaning – hence the name Spring Cleaning. This is a perfect time of year to open up the windows, let in fresh air and tackle those items which only really need a once or twice a year deep cleaning.
As we talked about in March for National Nutrition Month, you can refresh eating habits and clean out the pantry and refrigerator. As you’re throwing away and tidying up those items, use the opportunity to wipe down your cabinets and clean the refrigerator. Switch out a new box of natural deodorizer baking soda. (Side note – baking soda is an all-star cleaner, which will appear again.)
We think of the sink as a place where we clean other things, but now is a good time to give it a cleaning. Put baking soda (there it is again) around the sink and down the disposal, followed by vinegar and very hot water. Run your disposal with ice cubes. Throw your sponges (soak them first) into the dishwasher. If they’ve been around a while, better to throw them out all together and replace with new ones.
Similarly, we rely on the dishwasher to clean the dishes, but it can only do so if it is in good shape itself. Check any filters or drains for bits of food. Run the machine empty with baking soda (yup) and vinegar.
Make sure to stay well ventilated with all cleaning and that includes running a self-cleaning oven.
Literally let the sunshine in by washing windows – inside and out, as well as screens and sills. You want to be sure to get rid of winter dirt and accumulating pollen, so that it doesn’t blow into your now clean house. Wash curtains to remove dust and dirt that may have gathered over the winter.
Change HVAC filters and clean the vents. Allergies can hamper breathing enough and you don’t want to add to it with dirt and dust being blown through the house.
Vacuum couches and furniture – underneath and behind. Also clean outside furniture and cushions as you get ready to spend more time outside.
As you are putting away your winter clothes and linens and bringing out your spring/summer items, it is a good time to evaluate what needs to be mended, what doesn’t fit or you just don’t wear anymore. As a side incentive, you’re more likely to get outside and exercise with the proper gear that fits and is in good shape. There are a number of organizations to which you can donate your gently used items. You’ll get a tax deduction, feel good about someone being able to use the items – and now you have more room for new things.
Wash winter items such as coats, gloves, scarves and hats before storing them, so they are ready to go next season. It is also a good time to wash pillows, comforters, blankets and mattress covers. Before making the bed, flip the mattress, sprinkle some baking soda (can’t escape it) and maybe some essential oil like lavender and vacuum.
Like the sink and dishwasher, the washing machine is often overlooked as something that needs to be kept clean to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Run a cycle with hot water, add distilled vinegar and (you guessed it) baking soda. Let it sit for 30-60 minutes and then let the machine continue through. Wipe the inside of the machine after the cycle has completed.
As you did with the pantry, take a look in the medicine cabinet for past expiration dates, as well as anything that smells bad or looks odd. The Drug Take-Back Network can point you in the direction of where to safely dispose of medications.
It is also a good time to review make-up. If you aren’t using it, it smells funny, has separated and/or is a funny color, probably best to get rid of it to avoid adverse reactions. Use these timing guidelines as a general rule. And be ready for the warmer weather, by making sure that you are stocked with new sunscreen and bug spray.
Just as you are seeing what clothes you don’t need/fit anymore – are there attitudes/worries/behaviors that no longer are a fit for who you are and/or want to be? We may associate the start of the year with resolutions, but Spring is a perfect time to let go of what isn’t best serving you to make room for new and better things.
Giving your home and yourself a thorough Spring Cleaning provides a healthy start to the new season. Happy Cleaning!