Spring is in the air here in DC and when we aren’t experiencing April showers, we’ve begun to crack our windows and let in the fresh air. When the weather warms, a natural inclination to give ourselves a fresh start sets in. We become motivated to clear out the clutter and make room for fresh accents and new visitors. If you’re anything like us though, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Fear not, we’ve got some great spring cleaning tips to give you a jumpstart.
Clear the Clutter
Before you can really dig in to the deep cleaning, you’ll need remove the obstacles. This task does not need to be a painful one if you set yourself up for success. Tackle one room at a time and start with a smaller space like the foyer, bathroom or closets. Set up four different baskets or bags: one for items that will be thrown away or recycled, one for items to be donated, one for items that belong in a different room, and one for items to be reintroduced to the space.
Spring offers a fresh start for everyone and everything, so take this as an opportunity to change the way you clean. Harsh chemical cleaners may give off a recognizable “clean” scent, but the impact on your health and the environment is something that should give you pause. There are some great eco-friendly options on the market today, such as Seventh Generation and Grab Green, both available at our local Harris Teeter. If you want to take your greening a step further, there is an abundance of homemade recipes for everything from tile cleaner to laundry detergent available at the click of your mouse. Go ahead and check out this Pinterest board for some inspiration. Say hello to your new best friends, baking soda, white vinegar, borax and citrus fruit!
Now that the clutter is minimized and your cleaning cabinet has a renewed sense of pride, it’s time to throw in some elbow grease. Make a game plan before you begin: decide whether you will tackle one room at a time or one category at a time (such as the floors, the upholstered furniture, mirrors and surfaces), then get started! As a general rule, start your cleaning at the ceiling and work your way down to the floor or you will end up cleaning your floors and surfaces twice. Scrub the tub and sinks, clean out and defrost the fridge and freezer, de-grease your kitchen appliances, clean and disinfect the insides of drawers and cabinets (emptied during your “clear the clutter” step), and move the furniture aside to do away with dust mites and pet fur.
Now that every nook and cranny in your apartment is cleaned and you’re left with a blank canvas, it is time to tackle your box of items that need to be re-introduced to a space. With the cabinets, drawers and surfaces clean and empty and all of that rooms items consolidated, you’ll be able to strategically decide where you want the items to go. The old adage “a place for everything and everything in it’s place” is made easy with this technique. If the item does not belong in that room or is simply unnecessary, it will become abundantly clear. Add storage as needed for the items that do belong but don’t yet have a designated space.
You’ve worked really hard to get your place ready for the new season. Take the freshening a step further by introducing a few new decorative items to your apartment. A new throw pillow, fresh bed linens or a unique piece of flea-market art are all great ways to give your space an update with minimal cost and effort. Now that your apartment is looking magazine-cover worthy, invite some friends over for cocktail hour or a dinner party. Toast to your success and share your spring cleaning tips with the envious masses. Or don’t; it’s your call.