Speedy Spring Cleaning Checklist

woman and man having fun with their spring cleaning tools

Spring cleaning is one of my favorite times of the year--said no one. Ever. Unless you’re one of those unicorn cleaning overachievers. The rest of us will have to force ourselves to get in the game so we can officially get 2020 out of the house. For those who would rather spend time performing a different Sisyphean punishment, like counting grains of sand on the beach, we’ve compiled a list of spring cleaning duties that will (hopefully) make you feel like you've accomplished a Herculean feat with minimal time and effort.

In the Kitchen

No-Stink the Sink

There are many tasks in the kitchen, so why not combine two jobs into one? Start with the sink. Would it surprise you to hear that the place where you prepare your food may actually be more of a bacteria playground than your toilet? Whirl that around in your noggin a bit. This tidbit of information might be enough to move us toward the idea of kitchen-less homes, but we’re being dramatic. Besides, how would you be able to enjoy the harvests of your garden labors without a kitchen?

So let’s all commit to being a little less gross by keeping that sink properly cleaned and sanitized. Stainless steel can handle the abrasiveness of a baking soda and lemon juice paste for scrubbing, while enamel sinks can benefit from a mild cleanser like Bon Ami Powder.

hands cutting lemons on a cutting board

While you're at the sink, take care of that funky odor emanating from the garbage disposal. That eau de rotting vegetable scent can linger even after you’ve run the disposal to remove whatever remnants were festering there the last few days. Grinding up a couple used lemon halves is a popular solution, but keep in mind you’re still sending solid pieces down the drain.

Another unconventional solution is to soak a loaf of bread in some vinegar and pack it into the disposal. Let the mash sit undisturbed for 15 minutes, then grind and flush with cold water, letting it run a few minutes after it’s been cleared.

Don’t do the Dishes

It's only a reprieve while you clean the filter of your dishwasher. Afterward, run the dishwasher through the hottest cycle with a cup of vinegar in a dishwasher safe bowl set on the top rack. Run a second cycle at the hottest setting, this time empty. Alternatively, you can sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom and run a hot cycle if you don’t like the smell of vinegar.

A word of warning for the squeamish: mold and disintegrating leftovers may accompany this task, so if you can, buy lunch for a friend in exchange for their bravery in tackling the dishwasher filter.

Do Your Windows

gloved hand wiping window clean

Windows aren't the least time-consuming task, but it's one that gives a maximum sense of accomplishment when done right. With days getting longer and brighter, the grime that's built up over the winter will be much more noticeable, so get those windows clean with a little good old-fashioned DIY elbow grease. Unfortunately, you may not be able to bask in the fruits of your labors if dingy curtains detract from their glamour.

Check the tags and follow the recommended directions specified for your window treatments. If they happen to be dry clean only, you may want to tackle only a few at a time, just so you're not living in a fishbowl with the rest of the world looking in...unless you’re comfortable with that, then by all means, let it all hang out.

In the Bedrooms

Freshen Up the Bed

By freshening up, we mean more than just changing the sheets. Pillows tend to get yellow and stained from sweat and drool. If you’ve never washed your pillows before, please make this the year you start. You'll have peace of mind knowing you can sleep in comfort without that nest of germs infiltrating your facial orifices.

washing machine with pillows and towels

While the pillows are in the wash, get the bed spruced up by vacuuming the top and sides. Follow this initial cleaning with a sprinkle of baking soda, and let it sit a few hours to deodorize the mattress. Lavender can be mixed with baking soda to add a pleasant scent and promote sleep. Vacuum thoroughly. Now you can make your bed with those fresh pillows and sheets and get ready to indulge in a restful night’s sleep.

Deodorize the Closet

After you’ve gone through and donated, upcycled, or trashed what you don’t need, get rid of that musty smell that's been lingering all winter. It's a familiar trick you’ve probably done with your fridge, so next time you're at the grocery store, pick up an extra box of baking soda. Set it in the closet to absorb that seasonal staleness.

Have Your Tools at the Ready

woman with headphones having fun while she gets ready to mop a floor

It doesn't matter what space you tackle first. The trick to getting it done in record time is to keep what you need within arms reach. Don an apron with pockets or a toolbelt that'll hold spray bottles, rags, gloves, scrubbers, etc., and anything else you'll need for the job, so you're not going back and forth between cleaning and restocking your supplies.

You don't have to spend the weekend cranking out the chores to achieve the satisfaction of a successful spring clean.