Heading into May, we are on the cusp of Summer with Spring fading away and warmer weather on the horizon! You have probably spent the last few months hibernating indoors from the cold weather with high hopes of Spring cleaning as soon as the weather got nicer. If you put off that Spring cleaning a little longer than expected, don’t fret, we’re here to help you get your home Summer ready with this simple 8-step checklist.
1. Cleaning Outdoor Areas
Nice weather means more time spent outside – finally! Get started on that summer prep by sweeping, scrubbing, or power-washing your deck, driveway, patio, or any outdoor seating areas. This will remove the junk winter and spring have left behind like salt residue and snow run-off. Regularly wiping down your outdoor patio furniture and tables can keep pollen at a minimum, and ensure you and your guests don’t suffer from allergies while enjoying the outdoors.
2. Cleaning Your Grill
For those with outdoor grills, you’ve probably had it stored away in the garage all winter, and so when you finally break it out of storage, it’s best to clean it thoroughly before use. Use a stainless steel bristle brush to clean off your outdoor grill, and if you can remove the grills, give them a good power wash with the hose. Using a mix of vinegar and water can help disintegrate burnt on food and grease, with a food-safe cleaning solution (see step 8)! Make sure you replenish your supply of charcoal or propane so you can always throw burgers on the grill in a pinch, or be prepared for an impromptu grill-out.
3. Trap Dirt Before it Enters your Home
Having rugs outside or inside , or both, any entrance or exit doors to your home helps keep dirt and mud from getting tracked in through the house. This can save time on sweeping, mopping, and wiping them before you come inside can keep those sneakers looking good as new as well. Purchasing washable rugs makes clean up very easy, especially when you have kids and pets who create more mess coming in and out of your house. Have a backup rug for when the others are in the washing machine!
4. The Clockwise Rule
Cleaning the room clockwise helps from getting distracted on one specific area at a time. By moving clockwise around the room you can de-clutter as you go, and note any bigger, deep cleaning projects that you can go back to when we get to Step 7. When you go back to those deep cleaning tasks, continue to work around the room clockwise. So, if the dresser comes around before the closet, clean in that order, and let it act as a visual checklist. Watch the room get cleaner as you go!
5. Medicine Cabinet Refresh
This time of year is the perfect opportunity to clean out the often neglected medicine cabinet. Leave cold and flu season behind you and toss out any expired or empty cough and cold medicine. Organize loose cough drops, kleenex, vapor rub, etc. This allows room to replace all that cold medicine with Summer necessities like bandaids, insect repellent, allergy pills, aloe vera, and sunscreen. Being prepared for the sun, playing outdoors, and the times when the sunscreen fails you, will be far more useful to you in these coming months. Make your life easy!
6. Getting Rid of Winter Grime
With more sunlight shining through the windows, you might be noticing that unsightly dust on your blinds and window sills from everyone being stuck inside all winter. A dampened cloth can easily remove that dust from between the blinds. You can make a simple vinegar and water solution as well for extra cleaning power. Follow your damp cloth with a dry one to prevent more dust sticking right away. Another way to clear the air is either buy an air purifier, or make sure your air purifier gets cleaned, sanitized, and the filter replaced. This helps remove dust, allergens, and even mold spores from the air you breathe!
7. De-Clutter and Store Unused Items
First step is to schedule a de-cluttering weekend. Make sure you and your household can dedicate the time to focus, free of distractions, and maybe have some fun! Crank the tunes, order a pizza, and get to work. This time of year is a great opportunity to store your jackets, sweaters, boots to make room for sandals, t-shirts, outdoor gear to get ready for Summer. Some great tips to follow to keep on task when decluttering are;
- Take a moment to scan the room and pick your starting place. Clear off a counter close to the area to set things aside.
- Designate a “maybe” pile or box that you will deal with later. When you aren’t spending time deciding on whether to keep something during cleaning, you will accomplish a lot more.
- Set all incoming mail, papers, and documents aside in one area. You can quickly sort or toss them at the end.
- Purchase clear storage bins. This way, whether labeled or not, you can see what items you’ve stored inside quickly and easily.
- Pick up 3-5 small items, and find places for them right away. That place might be in the trash, your “maybe” pile, or just the drawer it belongs!
- When it comes to sorting clothes and other belongings, take Marie Kondo’s advice and if it doesn’t “spark joy“, toss it.
8. The Cleaning Power of Vinegar!
If you aren’t aware of the magical power of vinegar as a cleaning solution, you are missing out! Cleaning products for the home can be costly, and harsh on surfaces. Having a gallon jug of white distilled vinegar can ensure you always have a gentle, but powerful cleaning solution. Use the suggested ratios and mixes below for making your own solution, depending on use.
- Surface Cleaner – Spray directly with white vinegar and wipe clean with warm, wet rag. NOT Recommended for marble or granite surfaces.
- Window Cleaner – A 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar mix will do wonders on windows and glass surfaces. Wipe it off with a coffee filter for a streak-free shine!
- Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures – Tie a baggy filled with vinegar over your sink or tub faucet, let sit overnight, and run warm water through the next day. This will remove any grimy build-up around the faucet head. Pour vinegar directly into toilet or plugged drain and let sit overnight. Drain the vinegar and scrub with a little bit of baking soda to reveal bright white ceramic!
- Wood Floors – Add 1/2 a cup of vinegar to a bucket of warm water. This will also work for laminate and tiled floors.
- Wooden Furniture – 1:4 ratio of vinegar to olive oil will gently polish and shine your wood furnishings. A few drops of lemon oil can give an added burst of freshness!
- Disinfectant – A 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar mix can be used to wipe down toys, door handles, faucets, telephones, etc. Ridding everyday items from harmful germs. Also helps remove stuck-on grime from your stovetop, grill, or other cooking surfaces.