Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Spring Cleaning Challenge: 4 Weeks to a Cleaner Home

After spending the weekend in Minnesota’s below freezing temperatures, it was nice to get home and open the windows to Alabama’s fresh, warm breeze yesterday and today. There is something about the spring that kicks me into full-fledged Monica mode!

It helps that one of my favorite things to do is clean. Weird, I know. When I'm stressed out, I use cleaning as a means of de-stressing (which is much less crazier than people who run to de-stress as far as I'm concerned).  I love when spring is finally officially here and I can clean the house from top to bottom while playing my favorite podcasts with all the windows open letting in the spring air. I've learned that most people aren't like me in that respect, so I wanted to break down a full house cleaning spree into manageable tasks.

Fun fact: Did you know that this coming Saturday (April 7) is No Housework Day? Take Saturday to yourself, no cleaning allowed, then start this challenge on Sunday!

Grab a box or garbage bag and designate it as your donate container. As you clean, throw anything that you don’t need, that doesn’t have sentimental value, etc. and is still usable by others.

4 Weeks to a Cleaner Home

Day 1: Start with the junk drawer(s). Clean the junk drawers first, so you can’t throw stuff in them during your spring cleaning spree. If there are other spaces that you toss the things that you don't know what else to do with, clean those now too.

Day 2: Clean out all bedroom closets, making sure to donate anything that doesn’t fit or won’t be worn, and trash or mend anything with holes, missing buttons, etc. Repeat with dressers. Pack away winter clothing.

Day 3: Organize your email. Delete old messages, unsubscribe from junk and old newsletters you don’t read, and create folders for important content you want to save.

Day 4: Clean out the kitchen cabinets. Remove dishes, pots and pans, etc. and wipe down the shelving. Organize as you put everything back, getting rid of anything you don’t use. Wipe down the outside when through. If your cabinets are painted, patch up any chips if possible.

Day 5: Clean and organize end tables and night stands. If they have drawers, clean them out. Then dust and polish.

Day 6: Clean out your pantry. Remove everything and wipe down the shelves/drawers. As you put things back in, toss expired products, and organize the rest.

Day 7: Organize your storage room/area. Whether you have shelving in your laundry room or your garage, take it all out. Purge anything you truly don’t want or need. Often times storage is full of stuff we just don’t know what to do with. If it’s not seasonal (and used during that season), ask yourself if it is something you really want to keep. If not, donate it. 

Day 8: Wash all the windows and mirrors. Use an old toothbrush and bucket of soapy water to clean out the window sills. If possible, remove window panes so you can wash both sides. Also remove screens and hose them down outside.  Remember to wash shutters and blinds as well.

Day 9: Clean out the vents. Remove vent covers and wash them. While vent covers are removed, vacuum the vent out. Replace your air filter at this time too if needed. Wipe down furnace, water heater, washer/dryer and other utilities. 

Day 10: Clean out the fridge. Throw out old food, expired produce, etc. Sort through the condiments and toss anything that’s expired (or don’t if expired condiments don’t bother you; I’m weird about expired stuff). Remove the shelving and wash it with soapy water. Wipe down the outside of the fridge as well, including the top. If possible, pull the fridge out from the wall so you can sweep or vacuum underneath.

Day 11: Organize all desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. Delete apps you don’t use, files, etc. that are no longer relevant, and bookmarked internet tabs you no longer have a purpose for. If you’re really ambitious, organize your photos at this time too!

Day 12: Laundry day! Bring out the spring bedding if you haven’t already, and wash the winter blankets before packing them away. Also wash common blankets, such as living room blankets, etc. that are used year round. Replace pillows and rotate and flip mattresses at this time.

Day 13: Pull your vehicles out of the garage and give them a good spring cleaning. Take out anything not meant to be in the car, vacuum and wash seats, mats, and the floor. Wipe down everything else. Wash and wax the exterior of each vehicle. Bonus points if you Rain-X the windshield!

Day 14: Clean out the freezer(s). If you have a lot of frost build up, remove everything and defrost it before wiping it down. As you put things back into it, throw stuff you won’t eat. 

Day 15: Sort through paper files. Put loose papers that need to be kept into a labeled binder or folder. Shred personal documents that you no longer need.

Day 16: Break out the duster. Dust off all shelving throughout the house, as well as the items sitting on them.  Use a broom along your wall/ceiling line to make sure you get any hidden cob webs. Dust picture frames and wall hangings. 

Day 17: Pull out the vacuum. Vacuum each room, moving furniture if possible. Use the hose to get along the base boards and into otherwise hard to reach places. While it’s out, use the vacuum hose on couches on chairs as well.

Day 18: Sanitize your bathrooms. Clean buildup in faucets and shower heads. When cleaning out your medicine cabinets, set aside any old prescriptions and take them to a pill recycling bin (Walgreens typically has them).

Day 19: Organize and clean other closets (linen closets, coat closets, etc.)  Donate or toss items that are not used.  Pack up winter jackets so they're not taking up space in your closet all summer.

Day 20: Disinfect everything! Pull out a bottle of Lysol wipes and wipe down everything including door handles, railings, remotes, phones, light switches, etc. Wipe down the walls and doors and use a magic eraser to remove dirt and spots.

Day 21: Spend some time in the kitchen. Clean out the microwave and oven. Clean stove and wipe down range hood and vents. Wipe down the garbage bin. Wipe down/dust/vacuum kitchen chairs. Clean anything else in the kitchen that needs to be cleaned.

Day 22: Sweep and mop all wood, tile, etc. floors. Finish anything from the first three weeks of the challenge that you have not finished.

Day 23: Clean entry ways, mud rooms, and any outdoor common areas (patio, porch, deck, etc.)  Wipe down tables and chairs, and sweep floors.

Day 24: Spend some time outside. Clean outdoor buildings (garage, shop, shed, etc.) Organize and get rid of items that are not used. Sweep the floors and wash the windows. Clean out the gutters.

Day 25: If you didn't do it at Daylight Savings Time, replace the batteries in your smoke detector. Then, take some time for yourself. Take a bubble bath, cook yourself a fancy meal, go for a mani/pedi, whatever you need to do to relax! It's been a long month of cleaning, celebrate that you're almost done!

Day 26: Clean all kid and pet areas.  Wash or sanitize toys.  Clean pet bedding and wash food and water bowls, etc. (depending on the pet).

Day 27: Anything that hasn’t been cleaned or organized yet, do it today. Sort through your books, DVDs and CDs (am I the only one who still has those??), get rid of old accessories, etc.

Day 28: Buy some fresh flowers to spring-ify your newly cleaned house! Take everything in your donate box(es)/bag(s) to the nearest thrift shop or homeless shelter. Make some lemonade or sun tea then sit back and relax- you've earned it!


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