“We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”
― Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
The Netflix hit, Tidying up with Marie Kondo, recently put many Americans in the mood to purge their homes of anything that did not “spark joy.” Although Kondo’s KonMari method is more about getting rid of objects than getting rid of dirt, most homeowners know it is impossible to deep clean a room that hasn’t first been tidied. So this winter’s declutter-fest was the perfect warm up to a real spring cleaning.
Many of us have learned to do our cleaning by going room to room, but Kondo’s decluttering method recommends tidying by categories- such as clothes, books, and miscellaneous items. The idea is to start with the group that is easiest to make decisions about, then move to more difficult categories. Success in the easy categories creates the momentum to get through the more difficult ones. Also, the difficult tasks often tend to bring the most joy when they are completed, which will make finishing them feel like putting the icing on a cake.
Determining which category is easiest will be an individual process. One person may enjoy dusting, while another finds it tedious. One person may think finding the time to schedule a professional to come power wash is “difficult” while another may think any task that can be hired out is “easy.” The key is for each person to do it in the order that works best for them.
Spring Cleaning Categories
Spring cleaning is done in the spring because the weather is warming up! That means both indoor and outdoor areas can be tackled. And there’s no need to keep them separate. When cleaning inside, feel free to open the windows and let in some fresh outdoor air.
Walls, Ceilings, and Baseboards
Use a solvent-free degreaser to wipe down walls, ceilings, and baseboards. There are quite a few brands to choose from, including environmentally friendly options. But no matter how mild a solution seems to be, always spot test it in an inconspicuous area first.
Dust everything. Take down items like books and knick knacks to give them (and their shelves) a thorough cleaning. Feather dusters are suitable for surface dust, cloths are good for wiping off books and curious, and for hard-to-reach areas, use the crevice tool on a vacuum.
Take cushions outside to beat off the dust. Use a vacuum crevice tool to vacuum out all the creases and corners. Use an upholstery attachment to vacuum large surfaces. Finally, deep clean with an upholstery steamer. Keep any change you find.
Floors and Rugs
Every type of flooring needs a good cleaning. Vinyl, linoleum, or laminate floors should be swept, then polished with a polish that has been specially designed for that type of floor. Using the wrong kind of polish can leave residue or strip the surface of the floor. Stone and tile should be scrubbed, with particular attention paid to the grout. Carpets and rugs with waterproof backings should be vacuumed and then shampooed.
Reseal Grout and Caulking
To help keep that grout from molding or staining, use a small foam brush to apply grout sealer. This helps prevent things from seeping into the pores. Check areas that have caulking, such as bathtubs, showers, sinks, and pipes. Freshen up any areas that are starting to peel or look dirty by taking off the old caulk and applying new.
Windows and Screens
When the weather is nice, clean windows and screens. Make any needed screen repairs so the upcoming summer breezes can be enjoyed without letting in bugs. Check the screened-in back porch or sunroom, and do any necessary cleaning and maintenance to get that area ready for use.
Siding, Gutters, and Driveways
Pressure washing is the most effective way to clean siding, gutters, and driveways. Pressure washing requires special equipment, a bit of skill, and using proper safety precautions. While many of these spring cleaning tasks can be assigned to a professional, pressure washing is probably the most common one to hire out.
Details, Details, Details
Homes are individual in the features that make them unique- whether beautiful cabinetry, crown moulding, grand pianos, custom window treatments, art displays, or outdoor entertainment areas. Help those details stand out by giving them some polish and shine. Cleaning and refurbishing focal points keeps a home looking fresh and new.
Instead of viewing spring cleaning as a drudgery, it can be seen as an opportunity to evaluate and celebrate. Evaluate what to intentionally keep in the home, then celebrate the privilege of being the caretaker of things and spaces that bring joy.