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Spring cleaning tips from an expert

Spring cleaning serves a number of purposes. It helps you get rid of clutter, which not only leads to increased storage space but can also make you feel more peaceful and relaxed. It can help you take an inventory of your things so you know what you need to buy when you go to the store and what you can skip (so you don’t end up with three bottle of bathroom cleaner, for example). Most importantly, it can help you prepare for the summer. Done properly, a yearly spring cleaning keep you organized and can even save you money. However, it can be intimidating to start. To make things easy we spoke with a home management expert and asked her suggestions on how to do a proper spring cleaning, then broke it down for you room by room. We recommend tackling one room per day (or per week) to make it easy and not too much work at any one time. Let’s get started . . .

spring cleaningPIN

Kitchen

Cupboards

Open up the cabinets and take everything out. Thoroughly clean them with a cleaner appropriate for the surface. Make sure the cleaner doesn’t leave a sticky residue- that’s a killer! If you have shelf liners, replace them. Remember . . . NEVER line your shelves with adhesive backed contact paper as it will make a huge mess when you have to replace it.

Now, look at the food. If you have things that you know you’re not going to make in the summer (for example, who wants to make chili on a hot summer day?), use them up in the next few weeks so you don’t store them for six months and then have to throw them out next fall when their expiration dates have passed. If you have multiple items (for example two half used packages of flour), consolidate them so you don’t lose storage space.

Oven

Make sure you keep your oven clean . . . not keeping it clean can cause fires. The best strategy, if you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, is to wipe up any spill right after it occurs. You can also line the bottom with aluminum foil so if you cook something and it drips, you can simply replace the foil. If you follow these two tips, cleaning your oven once per year should be more than sufficient.

When you do need to clean your oven, start by purchasing the most caustic oven cleaner you can find. Then, remove the rack(s) in the oven. Clean these separately in the sink. If you can remove the heating elements in your oven, do so as it will make it much easier to clean. Otherwise, make sure you don’t get oven cleaner on the elements as it can damage them. Then, start by spraying the back of the oven with the oven cleaner. Leave it on for as long as the directions state- this lets the oven cleaner do all of the work instead of you. Then, wipe it down and proceed to do the same thing with the sides. Next clean the door. After you’ve done all of these surfaces, then clean the bottom. When you finish, wipe down the entire oven a second time and then line the bottom with aluminum foil so you can keep it clean in the future. Remember . . .  always clean your oven in a well ventilated kitchen as inhaling caustic oven cleaner can be very dangerous.

Microwave

As with your traditional oven, we recommend keeping it clean on a daily basis. If you microwave something and it spills, clean it up as soon as you can with a mixture of baking soda and water- one tablespoon of baking soda for every quart of water.

For your spring cleaning, make start by microwaving an open bowl of water for two minutes. This will loosen all of the dirt on the sides. When the two minutes has finished, use the baking soda and water solution to wipe down the sides. Don’t forget to clean under the carousel of the oven (if yours has one). Leave the door open and let it air dry.

Bathroom

To quote one the home management specialist we interviewed: Bleach, bleach and more bleach! This can be used for all bathroom surfaces (including the floor), unless they are wood.

Toilet

Let’s tackle this first . . . For sanitation reasons, the toilet should be kept clean on a regular basis. We recommend instructing all family members on how to clean up after themselves so no one gets stuck with a disgusting job. For spring cleaning, our expert recommends buying a Clorox Toilet Cleaning Wand. You can find one at Walmart or Target. Use this instead of a traditional toilet brush so you don’t have to use a bacteria laden brush to “clean” the bowl after use.

Shower

Here’s a trick: remember that oven cleaner you bought? Use that in the bathroom too! The oil that comes off your body and gets on the walls of your shower is easy work for oven cleaner. Simply spray it on all your shower walls, let it sit the recommend time and then wipe clean.

Medicine cabinet

This is an excellent time to take an inventory of all your medications. First, check the expiration dates of everything. If any have passed, toss the medications. If some are close to expiring use those first. Take an inventory of anything that is running low and you need to reorder or restock. Finally, if you have more than one opened box or bottle consolidate everything.

Bedrooms

Linen

If you have dust ruffles, pillow shams and other fancy bed linens, those need to be laundered twice per year: spring and fall. Alternatively, perhaps experiment with a lighter look for the summer. Instead of a dust ruffle and comforter, we like the look of a light bedspread. When you pack the heavier items away for the summer, store them in cloth bags. A down comforter should never be stored in plastic as it needs to breathe.

Pillows

Remember, these should be replaced every couple of years. If not dust mites can become a serious problem.

Closet

Start by taking everything out. Wipe down the insides with an appropriate surface cleaner. Then, look at every item. If you haven’t used it last winter, give it away or take it to a consignment store! No need to store things year after year if you’re not going to use them.

Then, make sure everything is laundered and clean. After this, check to see that everything is in good repair. Replace any missing buttons, fix any hems, etc. Once you do this, fold and/or hang everything in your out of season closet. This way, when autumn comes, all of your clothes will be ready to wear.