Planning for Spring
Don’t let spring fly by without getting in all the activities that will make this season special for you. Make a list at the start of the season and keep it up somewhere visible so that you can use it to guide you as you schedule plans with friends.
Schedule your summer time-off from work now, before you get edged out by your co-workers.
Planning on doing some spring cleaning? Space it out over a few weeks to take off some of the pressure. Create a schedule to help you decide what to do when.
Getting Your Car Ready for Spring
Winter was rough, and now your car is showing the wear and tear. Wash the underbody to get rid of all that built-up salt and replace the wiper blades, if needed. Give your car a thorough interior cleaning by vacuuming it from top to bottom. Take out the kids’ car seats and remove the lining to throw it in the washing machine. Hose the seats down to get them thoroughly clean. If you can, treat yourself to a super interior clean job at the car wash. It makes for a well-deserved twice-a-year treat.
Check your glove compartment for smashed granola bars and replace them with fresh ones.
For a complete list of everything to keep in your car and where to put it, check out:
Heading into the Great Outdoors with little ones this spring? Bring along this scavenger hunt on a clipboard to help keep them from complaining that they’re bored.
Getting Your Home Ready for Spring
Replace your interior and exterior air conditioner filters before the weather starts to heat up.
Bring your outdoor furniture/padding back outside again.
Plan your spring gardening. Set up all you will need in a designated bin, so that whenever you have some free time and the weather is right, you don’t need to go searching for supplies, only to find that once they are gathered you are out of time.
Spring is the traditional time to deep clean homes. While many of these tasks can be done any time of year, giving your home a thorough cleaning in spring can help prepare you mentally for the new season. Here is a list of cleaning tasks that are often done only once or twice a year.
Empty out your bathroom drawers and wipe them down thoroughly. Chances are, makeup, toothpaste or some other gel is sticking to the inside of some drawer. Toss toiletries you don’t need or have expired. Make sure all your bathroom items are organized so that you can easily find what you want.
Toss your shower curtain into the washing machine. Wash in cold water on the gentle cycle. Let it air-dry all the way in the shower before getting it wet again.
Spray your tile grout with a strong cleaner and let it sit for several minutes before scrubbing it with a hard brush.
Freshen less-used drains by mixing half a cup of baking soda with a quarter cup of salt. Pour this down the drain. Then, pour a cup of heated white vinegar. After ten to fifteen minutes, run hot water for half a minute.
Clean your showerhead by filling a plastic bag with one cup of water and one cup of white vinegar. Tie the bag around the showerhead so that it is fully immersed. Leave for an hour, then remove, wipe down and run the hot water.
Unscrew the toilet seats to get every bit of them clean, then screw them back on again once dry.
Use the crevice tool on your vacuum to reach for crumbs that have fallen between the stove and counter. Then, place a stove gap cover on top of the gap to avoid having any more food fall in there.
Give your oven a thorough cleaning. If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, put a hot, wet cloth over gunk to soften it before scrubbing with an oven cleaner.
Clean out your fridge. Unless your fridge is nearly empty and all your items can fit in a cooler, this is best done in pieces. Move all the items off of one shelf or drawer and spread out among others. Wash the shelf or drawer in the sink, just like any other dish. Let it dry thoroughly before returning to the fridge and starting over again with the next one.
Freshen up your kitchen sink by putting some lemon rinds into the garbage disposal and running it for half a minute. Flush it out with cold water. Use a toothbrush to clean the underside of the garbage disposal splash guard.
Clean your microwave by filling a microwave-safe bowl with one cup of water and a lemon cut into slices. Turn your microwave on high for five minutes and let it fill with steam. Wait another five minutes before opening the door. Wipe down the microwave with a sponge. You can also replace the lemon with five tablespoons of vinegar.
Toss your machine-washable reusable grocery bags into the laundry. Cooler bags that can’t be machine washed can be cleaned in the sink with a sponge and dishsoap and air-dried.
Polish your countertops.
Scrub stained cutting boards with a half lemon and some salt. The acid will bring out many stains you may have thought were permanent.
Clean stained metal pots and pans by simmering water and a bit of dish soap. After it has cooled, use a scouring pad to get out the bits of food that have now been softened. For really stuck-on stains, try scrubbing them with ketchup first. You’ll be surprised!
Garage & Basement
Review everything being kept in your garage to see if any items need to be donated or tossed. Move large items out of the way and sweep/vacuum all the dirt and cobwebs from the corners.
Now is a good time to re-evaluate your garage storage system. Consider adding shelves and hooks to walls to maximize your storage space.
Take your garbage and recycling bins outside and hose them down well. Choose a warm, sunny day when they will dry out quickly.
Wash your washing machine by adding bleach to a clothes-free cycle. Your machine may also have a self-cleaning cycle. Use a cleaning cloth and toothbrush to get grim away from crevices. Use a damp paper towel to wipe away grime from the base of the washer.
Use a lint-cleaning tool to get the lint that can’t be reached when you clean out the lint trap after every load. Vacuum around the base of your dryer.
Wash out brooms in warm, soapy water, then vacuum after they have dried.
Scrub your trash cans with dish soap and a designated cleaning sponge.
Clean your doormats. Vacuum indoor doormats on both sides. Hose down outdoor mats, then let them air-dry.
Dust away cobwebs from the corners of your doorway and porch.
Clean your grill and move it to a usable location.
Get rid of dead plant debris around the side of your house and fence.
Choose a cloudy day to wash your windows. Use glass-cleaner and a micro-fiber cloth. Use a duster to clean blinds and vacuum drapes and fabric shades.
Take out removable ceiling and wall vents and wash them thoroughly. Those that can’t be removed can be cleaned with a cleaning cloth attached to kitchen tongs, or vacuumed with a brush attachment.
Use a microfiber wipe or mop to wipe down walls. Start from the top and work your way down. Get baseboards and doorframes, too.
Give your carpet a deep-clean with a portable carpet cleaner. Mop your floor thoroughly if you don’t already do it regularly.
Get out the step ladder and dust off your ceiling fan blades. Try using an old pillowcase to capture the dust. After you empty it, just toss the pillowcase into the washer.
Wash comforters and quilts. Those that can’t fit in your washer can be sent to the dry-cleaners.
Wash pillows, (not just the cases).
Flip your mattress. Use a clothing steamer to kill dust mites on the surface of your mattress, then vacuum them away. Use a disinfecting spray. Sprinkle baking soda for added freshness, then vacuum it up.
Wash non-battery operated plastic toys in the dishwasher. Use the crystal cycle and skip the heated drying. Wash cloth toys in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. Use non-wash cleaning spray or a lint roller for items that cannot be machine washed.
Getting Your Wardrobe Ready for Spring
Time to pull out your warm-weather clothes from the back of the closet, the attic or garage. Start putting away winter clothes that you don’t anticipate wearing again this year.
Set aside a time to dry-clean your winter coats. Add items to a pile as you are done with them for the year to make sure they get properly cleaned before being stored away till the fall.
Properly wash and fully dry boots, scarves, hats, etc. before storing them away. Any moisture could wreak havoc on these items as they sit for the next six months. Moths and other critters are more attracted to the smell of food or perspiration than to the cloth, so if in doubt whether you have worn something since last washing it, give it another wash before storing, just to be safe. Be sure to use basic detergent as fabric softeners, bleach and starch can also attract unwanted guests.
Hang filled coats if possible, and if not, don’t put them in vacuum-sealed bags, as these can take out the fluff. Fully zip and button them, whichever way they’re stored, to help them keep their shape.
Use shoe-shapers to help boots keep their shape while not being worn. If you don’t have these, use newspaper instead. Don’t stuff them too tightly into plastic bins.
Bags of lavender, charcoal and cedar balls are best for keeping moths away.
If you’re short on space, consider under-bed storage or keeping stored clothes in suitcases.
Clean white sneakers with a toothbrush and this mixture: one tablespoon of baking soda, half a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide (skip this for leather), and half a tablespoon of warm water mixed in a small bowl. Use this paste to gently scrub away stains and then rinse thoroughly with a damp cloth. Air dry your shoes away from the sun.