Alright, you Martha wannabes—happy Spring Cleaning. Just don’t curse me when you are scrubbing that refrigerator coil with a toothbrush—you were warned!
Remember, too, that Spring Cleaning happens both inside and outside of your home so don’t neglect either area.
In addition, here are two suggestions to make the process fun, fast and almost effortless.
1) Get Help
Many hands really lighten the load so form a team — either within your family or hook up with a friend or two or three, and over two weekends, take turns cleaning each other’s homes.
Suggest a reward in exchange for help like a day trip to a nature preserve, zip line or other outdoor adventure, amusement park, fairground or maybe a nice meal. Just be sure to deliver or you’ll get serious pushback the next time you ask for help.
If it’s just you and friends, put on some favorite tunes, throw back the blinds, and start cranking. The work will fly by and you’ll get to spend some time with people you’re fond of and probably get to see less often than you’d like.
Swap out toxic chemical cleaners with environmentally friendly products.
The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
Take a walk around the outside of your house and any other outbuildings.
Inspect the exteriors for any needed repairs.
Climb on the roof, inspect gutters, trim, downspouts, windows, shutters, etc.
Make a list of any repairs and maintenance, then schedule them with a handyman or add them to your calendar to do them yourself.
Power wash the exterior of any buildings—your home, any sheds, studios and garages.
Clean any windows in those buildings.
Empty out the contents of any out buildings and then sweep the interiors.
Inspect all items to make sure they still function as intended.
Repair or replace any parts including batteries.
Clean and repair outdoor grills.
Before putting back any items, sort them like with like.
Add any hooks, shelves, pulleys and other storage accessories to better store your things.
As you put things back inside, put all your sporting goods together.
Put all camping equipment together.
Gather all garden tools and supplies together.
Arrange all outdoor furniture together.
Gather organic debris like leaves, branches and other dead foliage from planting beds and lawn.
Plan and begin any major Spring landscaping projects.
Now is the time to plant shrubs and trees — just make sure your plans line up with recommendations for your planting zone.
Your local extension office is a great resource for native plants, timing suggestions and other information on everything from wells and sewers to composting.
INSIDE THE HOUSE
Clothes + Closets
Swap cold winter clothes for warm-weather clothing.
Inspect clothing for needed repairs.
Review clothing for fit and style, and create a donation pile for things you are finished with.
Recycle clothing that can’t be easily/inexpensively repaired.
Recycle clothing missing parts, mates, etc.
Store winter clothing carefully with cedar or mothballs to prevent infestation.
Load donations into the car or by the door to leave the house on the next errand run.
Walls + Structural Elements
Wipe down all the ceilings and walls.
Dust thoroughly, including hard-to-reach places, such as ceiling fans, window casings and crown moldings. Always work from the top of a room down.
Wipe down all baseboards.
Clean around all outlets.
Clean and polish metal hardware on doors and windows.
Contact an air conditioning service company for an annual inspection of your cooling system.
Deactivate any heat system humidifiers once the weather stabilizes.
Drain sediment from hot water heaters.
Wash windows inside and out.
Wash window screens with warm water and mild soap, scrubbing each screen with a brush, then rinsing thoroughly.
Clean drapes and window treatments. Read labels for cleaning instructions. Dry-clean fabric shades.
Swap out heavier drapes for lighter drapes.
Wipe wooden blinds with a damp cloth. Metal and vinyl blinds can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap. Vacuum any dust.
Furniture + Rugs
Clean upholstered furnishings.
Take cushions outside and gently beat them.
Clean stains according to any care labels. Use the vacuum’s upholstery or crevice tools to clean inside all furniture seams.
Move furniture and vacuum beneath it.
Vacuum and clean any rugs. Note any wear and send valuable or antique rugs to a reputable cleaner to be cleaned and repaired if needed.
Flip and rotate mattresses.
Change out bedding. Swap autumn or winter colors for colors or bright whites, neutrals or natural linens.
Discard expired medicines, cosmetics and beauty products.
Clean and reseal grout lines.
Empty all cabinets and shelves.
Thoroughly wipe down the insides and outsides of all cabinets and shelves.
Inspect canned food, spices, etc. for expiration dates and freshness.
Sort items like with like then reload cabinets, keeping categories distinct and easy to understand.
Label shelves for clarity.
Empty the fridge and wipe down all shelves, drawers and other elements.
Review contents for spoiled/expired food and discard.
Recycle any glass, metal or plastic containers.
Dust refrigerator coils. Be sure to turn off power at the circuit breaker first.
Defrost the freezer.
Wipe down the inside of the microwave and any ovens.
Run a sanitizing cycle with special cleaners through the dishwasher.
Wash the exterior and interior of any washing machines and dryers.
Clean the dryer vent.
Check and clean as needed the dryer duct.
Papers + Home Office
Review your files and update any household inventories.
Discard owners manuals and other instructions for anything you no longer own.
Clean computers outside and in.
Wipe cases down and dust keyboards.
Organize your files on the computer, clearing off the desktop and creating subfolders in your DOCUMENTS or MY DOCUMENTS folder.
Change batteries in smoke detectors (twice a year) and remove any dust around sensors.
Check the status of all fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarms.
Make sure everyone knows how to operate a fire extinguisher.
Review all escape plans.
Check any collapsible ladders, ropes and other emergency exit supplies for 2nd floor and higher rooms.
Review emergency and first aid kits, replacing any outdated supplies with fresh ones.
Make sure the kit includes a list of emergency numbers, especially the nearest poison-control center.
While this list is comprehensive, it doesn’t include livestock or other particularly rural chores.
Feel free to let us know if we’ve overlooked anything, big or small.
What are some clever ways you’ve found to make Spring Cleaning more fun? We’d love to hear from you.
Other articles to check out: How To Approach Your Taxes Like A Recipe
One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.