Friday, May 3, 2013

A Simple Spring Cleaning Strategy

Image source: stock.xchng
After a long, cold winter, don't you just love to open all the windows and doors and do a deep cleaning of the old home place? When our kids were home, we would usually take a few days off from our homeschooling to tackle the spring cleaning in a flurry of activity, each of the six of us doing our part. However, there were also times, because of our hectic schedules, I chose to only take one room/area each day and work on it until noon. That way, we didn't keep putting it off and had a definite stopping time. This plan worked very well for our family.

Below, you will find some tips and tricks which helped us streamline this annual chore:

Step 1: Inventory cleaning tools and supplies

  • If you have a designated area or closet for cleaning tools and supplies, lay everything out where you can see them and figure out what you really need. Discard or give away any extras. 
  • If you've decided to go green with your cleaners, you can either use up what you have now or give them away to someone who will use them. Disposing of them only adds a burden to the environment and defeats the purpose of "going green." 
  • Only put back the things you are keeping. Move the rest to a designated area for giveaways.

Step 2: Tackle decorations and window treatments  
  • Wipe frames with a soft cloth. Spray glass cleaner on a soft, lint-free cloth before wiping the glass of framed photos and artwork. Do not spray the glass; doing so may cause the cleaner to leach behind the glass and destroy your photos/artwork. 
  • Wet wipe any washable knick-knacks or other collectibles and dust shelves where they are displayed before replacing them. 
  • Launder washable fabric curtains and valances. You may either line dry or hang them back up to dry. If cotton fabrics are too wrinkled, you may want to iron them. Have lined draperies professionally cleaned. 
  • Mini blinds may be soaked in the tub with warm water and 1/2 cup ammonia. After soaking, lift them up and down out of the water to remove dirt. Any stubborn dirt may be wiped off by hand with a cloth or soft brush. Drain the tub and fill it with clean water to rinse. Again, lift the blinds in and out of the water. Drain the tub and lift the blinds to let the excess water run off. Place the wet blinds in a laundry basket and take outdoors to dry. Keep them out of the sun to avoid discoloration. They do not have to be thoroughly dry to be hung again, just not dripping wet. (Note: If you hate this chore as much as I do and you can afford the cheapo blinds at Wal-Mart, then you may skip this step and just get new ones.)
Step 3: Use a dust mop -- or broom with a soft cloth tied around it -- to get the cob webs from the corners.

Step 4: If the walls are washable, use warm water and a mild soap. Using a sponge or soft cloth, wring out the soap and begin at the top of the wall working your way down in small sections. If desired, rinse with another bucket of plain water with a clean cloth or sponge. Make sure the cloth/sponge is not dripping or it may leave trails down the wall surface.

Step 5: Using a soft cloth and dusting spray or "green" alternative, dust all hard surfaces.

Step 6: Pull all furniture away from walls and sweep/mop or vacuum.
 Let mopped areas dry before replacing furniture. Place any stray items found under furniture and around the room into a box for putting away later.

Step 7: If you haven't already, replace window treatments, hang framed prints, and put knick-knacks and collectibles back on shelves.

Step 8: Collect trash and put away stray items.

Voila! You're done.

Special use rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room will require the cleaning of appliances, sinks, and tubs/showers, but the strategy for deep cleaning mentioned above is a basic way to thoroughly clean any room in your house.