Although spring cleaning is not the most exciting activity in the world, it is an undeniably easy way to refresh your home from the winter blues. If you have a lot to tackle, have no fear. Just because the neighbors are going heavy-duty in the cleaning department doesn’t mean you need to break the bank (or your back) doing so. Here’s an easy checklist to make sure you’re getting all the major parts of your home sparkling for spring.
Reorganize your closet.This is the easiest and most effective place to start. When tossing out old clothes from past seasons and years, use the one year rule: if you haven’t worn a garment in a year, get rid of it. If it’s still in wearable condition, head over to your local consignment shop; if not, drop a bag off at the nearest donation center. Kill two birds with one stone!
Rearrange furniture.Not only will you feel like you moved into a brand new space, rearranging will increase cleaning space. You’ll tidy up some spots you wouldn’t have seen anyway! If you’re working on wooden floors, put towels under furniture to prevent scratching.
Disinfect the kitchen disposal without chemicals.A handy trick I’ve learned from my mother: instead of throwing out a used lemon half into the garbage, dump it into the kitchen sink disposal to get a fresh lemon scent naturally.
Break out the lint roller.Dust can hide in tricky spaces. Instead of dancing with your vacuum to clean the upper half of your curtains, get on a step-stool and roll the dust away. This also works great on lampshades and other delicate spaces (curtains, couches, ottomans, etc).
Use vinegar.Vinegar is a great, natural way to clean up different parts of your house. Just a few of its uses: it makes stain removal easy, can freshen up your laundry, can lift a wine stain with a combination of water, and can lighten up the harsh smell of a litter-box, all according to Good Housekeeping (http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/a16417/vinegar-uses/). Be careful, though! Vinegar is acidic and should be kept away from granite, marble and stone floor tiles.
Ease lime buildup cleaning.Speaking of vinegar, here’s a great use for it in your kitchen. HGTV suggests soaking a paper towel in vinegar, wrapping it around the faucet and head, and to let it sit for an hour. It will make the deposits a lot easier to clean off (http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/7-spring-cleaning-tips).
Don’t ignore the walls.The walls in your home are probably getting a heavier beating than you would think. From splatters on the stove while cooking to the space around your vanity, stains are everywhere. Grab a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ( or some soap and water) and scrub off those little messes.
Do more than vacuum.According to Better Homes and Gardens, the best way to maintain your carpet until warranty is to have them professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months. You can also do it on your own; carpet cleaners are available for rent at a variety of places for a low price (http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/tips/spring-cleaning-guide/#page=5).
Scrub out your refrigerator.Those funny smells that are coming from the refrigerator can only be blamed on the Chinese takeout for so long. Clear out your entire refrigerator and wash each shelf with soap and water and a dash of abrasive salt. You’ll have this appliance looking like new.
Keep your sponges longer.We’re all guilty of dumping kitchen sponges as soon as they start looking the slightest bit dirty. The Home Depot (http://blog.homedepot.com/spring-cleaning-tips-10-tricks/) has a creative solution to this problem: put a semi-damp sponge on a paper towel in the microwave with a microwave-safe container with some water. Pop them in for about two minutes and nearly all the bacteria will be gone. Be careful! The sponges will be hot, so give them a couple minutes to cool.
Shireen Mohyi is a senior graduating from Michigan State University this spring with a major in editorial journalism and a minor in public relations. Her favorite things are Instagram, celebrity gossip and a great place to brunch.