SPRING CLEANING TIPS & TRICKS: There are a lot of myths about how “spring cleaning” came to become a rite of spring. But perhaps the most believable story has to do with the fact that in times past, when homes were heated with coal, oil, and wood, and candles were used for light, the coming of spring signaled an ideal opportunity to open the windows, and finally freshen a dingy habitation. And although our heating and lighting systems are considerably cleaner, spring cleaning persists as something many homeowners will be doing in the coming weeks.
Whether you take a day, a weekend, or spread out your chores over a period of time, here are some creative tips for making it easier, faster, and more fun:
FIVE WAYS TO GET MOTIVATED:
1. Turn on some lively music. Music gets us moving—so find something that makes you happy, turn it on, and watch how invigorated it can make you feel.
2. Plan a dinner party. Knowing that people will be showing up at your home can give you a deadline to get things done. Suddenly you begin to look at your home as a guest might, and the undone tasks stand out waiting to be accomplished.
3. Try a new product or cleaning gadget. Instead of looking at cleaning as a chore, it can seem like an opportunity to discover a new tool that lightens your load. If you don’t want to try an entirely new product, a new scent can make a big difference in our mood and attitude.
4. Clean up some clutter. Even if you find only a small space or area to rid of clutter, the feeling of watching unwanted items being removed from your home is invigorating and freeing. Even cleaning out a small area can help you get motivated to tackle bigger projects.
5. Rearrange a room. This is a great way to create a fresh perspective and motivate yourself to clean and organize. Do a 15-minute cleanup in the room before you begin. Rearrange the furniture, rugs, artwork, and decorative items. Changing up a room often gives you more motivation to keep it clean and uncluttered. Seeing the results can often let your cleanliness spill over into other rooms of your home.
GREAT GADGETS TO HELP:
Here’s a list of cleaning gadgets that can change the way we clean…and might make it a little more fun to tackle your chores.
Palmolive Dish Wipes: These are pretreated disposable cleaning cloths. No dishcloth to worry about germs—or sponges to wash when you’re done.
Clorox Toilet Wand: With six disposable cleaning heads that snap onto a long handle, you don’t have to worry about using gloves to do this dirty job.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: Erases dirt and grime off walls and other surfaces with little effort.
• Dust your cloth lampshades with a lint roller.
• Slip an old unmatched sock on your hand and dust as you go.
• Newspaper sheets work better than paper towels when it comes to cleaning windows and mirrors.
• When cleaning outside windows, wait for an overcast day because doing so will help prevent streaking and extra rubbing.
• Put toilet cleaner in the toilet but let it soak while you wipe down the outside.
• Buy a drop-in toilet cleaner dispenser, to increase the time between needed cleanings.
• Use baking soda to wipe down the inside of the fridge. It scrubs and eliminates odor without damaging the surface.
• Have all necessary supplies together at the beginning of the job to avoid distractions.
• Put your tools in a bucket for easy transport from room to room.
• Set a time limit for each room—and stick to it.
• Clean just what’s dirty. If the whole refrigerator door isn’t dirty, just clean the dirty spot.
• Be methodical. Work in a clockwise circle so you don’t lose track and skip or re-clean places.
• Grab a laundry basket and move around the room picking up things that don’t belong there.
• Switch to liquid shower gel instead of bar soap and you’ll eliminate the stubborn, greasy soap scum that’s hard to clean in the bathroom.
• To speed-clean the microwave: fill a microwave-safe mug two-thirds full of water and add a few splashes of lemon juice or some fresh lemon slices. Microwave it on HIGH for 4 minutes. When it’s done, leave the door closed and keep it in there for another 4 minutes. The moisture from the steam and the acid from the lemon will loosen the food particles.
• If your sink is stainless steel, put a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buff. This prevents water buildup and keeps the sink looking clean longer.
• Toss the paper towels and use microfiber cloths. They sanitize and clean and often eliminate the need for other cleaning products. And they’re reusable.
• Clean top to bottom. That way, any crumbs or dust that fall to the floor will get picked up last.
• Use the right broom for the job. Use one with fine bristles for indoors. Outdoor jobs work better with stronger, stiffer bristles.
• To prevent water spots and make shower doors easier to clean, use a squeegee after every shower.
• Sweep from the outside of the room to the center.
• Don’t know where something belongs? Have a “lost and found” box and toss it in. Ask family members to check the box and put things away.
• To avoid streaks on stainless appliances, use a stainless steel microfiber cloth for minimal effort and no chemicals.
• Try Magic Erasers and water to clean stubborn dirt from tile grout.