Spring cleaning is a time to restore and rejuvenate the home and peel back the layers of dirt and clutter that accumulate over the long winter months. While cleaning is a huge part of the job, we like to make sure the organizing gets done too. Below is the Maeve’s Method three-part plan for a complete spring cleaning and spring organizing routine, to freshen up your apartment or family home.
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Part 1: Clean Sweep
When it comes to spring cleaning, a great place to start is with simple, impactful projects that motivate and pack a punch. Here are our favorites to get started:
Still feeling a bit gloomy from winter? Well then look no further than your windows. Take one sunny morning to clean all the windows in your home as best as you can, inside and out. Let your home take advantage of the longer days and higher sun by letting the sunshine in. The extra light creates a big impact and often motivates you to keep going with all your other cleaning and organizing tasks.
Increasing exposure to sunlight is a also a proven mood booster, as it’s packed with vitamin D which helps to boost both our immune system and our neurotransmitters. If you need a one-two punch to kick-start springtime cheer then Light Therapy your windows today.
Home Organization Expert Maeve Richmond shares the importance of washing windows each spring to bring light and sparkle into our homes.
Urban Living Tip: Many apartments have windows that pull forward into the room, for easy access to the outside on top floors. If your windows pull forward, take advantage of this great tool and clean your outside glass too (watch this video). And if not, a long-handled squeegee works great for out-of-reach outdoor glass.
Remove The Top Layer
Winter months leave a layer of dust and dirt on surfaces. As you move through your home, wipe down all surfaces, including window sills, side tables, countertops and shelves. Use your preferred cleaner, from simple soap-and-water to a store-bought solvent. Pro-dusting tools like Swiffer pads or microfiber cloths are great too as they are collect dust, not spread it around (check out Maeve’s Method pro tips #5, #8 & #9 in GoodHousekeeping.com). And do the same for your floors. Sweep, mop or vacuum your floors, or shake out your rugs outdoors, if you can.
Home Organization Expert Maeve Richmond shows us how to remove dust from books using simple household tape.
Urban Living Tip: If you don’t have outdoor space, try shaking out rugs in your shower or bathtub. Make sure to close or protect the drain before you do, though, so you don’t cause a clog.
Create an Out Bag or Box
Spring cleaning usually means paring down, so get yourself ready to let a thing or two go. Place a donation bin or bag nearby your entryway door table or hang a give-away bag on an easy-to-access coat hook. As you clean, drop in items into these containers so they are one step closer to making their way out of your home.
Not yet ready to start spring cleaning? The simple act of creating an outbox almost always kick-starts spring cleaning fever, so give it a whirl!
Part 2: Organize Room By Room
With the prep work done, it’s time to start organizing. We recommend going room-by-room and focusing on small projects, like kitchen goods, tabletops, or paperwork. These can be time-consuming projects, so take them in small bites.
Most people think closets are the place to start when it comes to a spring cleaning the bedroom, but that can be a big job as a starting project. If you only have a few minutes, start instead with table-tops: nightstands, bedside tables and dressers. Remove the winter layer by taking away cold medications, extra reading books, boxes of tissues, flannel sheets and fuzzy blankets, and other snuggly stay-in-bed items that have accumulated over the long winter months.
Refresh Your Closet
With the light organizing done, move on to your closet. Now, at the end of a season is a great time to sort items and decide what to keep and what to let go. While switching out your wardrobe, reorganize your closet with warm weather months in mind. Small changes, like rotating spring and summer clothing up front and to more accessible sides of the closet will make a huge difference in your daily routine. Want a step by step guide? Check out the Maeve’s Method Guide to Closet Organization.
Need help with your wardrobe rotation? Home Organization Expert Maeve Richmond shares her top three tips for how to do it right.
When it comes to spring cleaning the kitchen, the most rewarding fix is to toss five old or expired items from your refrigerator, pantry, junk drawer, and any busy countertop space. Look for then toss half-used condiments, old juices or sodas, ripped menus, almost-empty snacks, and multiples of take-out containers and grocery store bags. Start by tossing five, and if you can do more, keep going! This is a great habit to do once a month, as unnecessary kitchen items quickly stack up.
Spring and summer are filled with months when we gather with our friends, so prepare your kitchen for hosting parties, picnics, and potlucks by bringing out your summer items. Bring forward your large serving dishes, your blender, and tuck away your heavy winter cooking pots and pans to the back of your cabinet where they can hibernate until the weather turns cold again.
Clear The Air
The best quick fix for a bathroom in spring is to clear the air. Take 10 minutes to wipe all surfaces with soapy water or a disinfectant of your choice. And use an old toothbrush to dig deep in between tiles and around your faucet. Make sure to use a cleaner with a smell that you like. The smell will permeate your bathroom, invigorate your senses, and freshen the air.
It’s spring, so plants are a no-brainer, and bathrooms in particular are great place for plants. Not only will they look lovely, but they’ll help to clean the air and revitalize your bathroom. Look for a plant that likes low light and doesn’t mind humidity. Some great options are philodendron, pothos, peace lily, snake plants, and spider plants. Need a suggestion? Ask your local nursery or Home Depot or Lowe’s plant department for help.
Already have plants already in your home, now is the perfect time to spring clean them by washing down leaves and freshening the soil (check out our How To Spring Clean Plants video).
Update Your Drop Zone
A drop zone is one of our top suggestions for how to keep order at home. If you’ve got a drop zone in place, it’s time to update it for the warmer months. Look for loose ends, winter knick-knacks or or no longer in use items cluttering up your space. And check in with your daily routine. Did you start a new job or expand your family? Think about what comes in and out of your front door everyday and update your drop zone accordingly.
Update your entryway for the warmer months. Rotate heavy winter coats and scarves to a less used portion of your coat rack or hall closet then put away boots that piled up near the front door. Once done, do a deep clean in this area. Wash the floor to remove salt and dirt stains that winter boots tracked in. When done, pull out your spring jackets, hats and farmer’s market bags. It’s time for lighter things to come in and out of your front door.
Dirt collects in the tiniest places. Take five minutes to run a mild cleanser or rubbing alcohol-soaked Q-tip into the crevasses of your computer keyboard, phone keypad and electronic equipment power buttons. Remove the layer of dirt that has accumulated to-date, and start fresh. Your office equipment will feel like new.
Have an extra five minutes? Keep unnecessary paper from showing up in your home by removing yourself from catalogue mailing lists. Locate the toll-free customer service number and customer code on the catalog’s back cover and give them a call. Paper comes into our homes two ways — either we print it or we carry it in, so help yourself out by reducing the flow of what comes in your front door.
Part 3: Fine Tune and Enjoy!
With your home cleaned and organized, fine tune with two tiny errands, then sit back and enjoy the results of your hard work. Grab a spot in the sun, curl up in a cozy chair and rest and relax in your spring-ready home. Open your clean windows, play some fun music, or read a book, and let the fresh spring air into your home. You’ve earned it!
Schedule a trip to your nearest donation center and drop off everything that you are ready to release and let go, from clothes to unused kitchen appliances. Gather items from your front hall out bag or box and anything else you’ve identified as you’ve worked. These items will be greatly enjoyed by others – so say goodbye, with a smile!
Fill Up Your Fridge
With your home refreshed, it’s time to renew your body and spirit. Celebrate with a trip to the grocery store or local farmer’s market and pick up some fresh fruit to make a smoothie or other fresh snack. And as you work, keep our top 9 kitchen organization tips in mind to set you up for year-round success.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2017. It has been updated to include new content.