Mar 23, 2015

Spring Cleaning!!

Spring is here.  Well maybe not yet in some places - like NYC - where we got snow yesterday flights were canceled.  It's still a good time to do some cleaning while you're waiting for the day to open your windows to the beautiful spring air. I've created a room by room key list to make it easier. But you can pick and choose as you like. 

Start with the Fridge coils.  Yep, it's hard to pull it out, but it's worth it.  Vacuum or brush off with a stiff broom since dust can interfere with their efficiency.   Don't forget to use a little bit of bleach and water solution to get the mold off the seal around the doors.

Clean the Microwave and dishwasher with vinegar to remove gunk in both. In a microwave safe bowl add 1-2 cups water with 2 T vinegar and let it run on high for 5 minutes.  You can add a drop of essential oil - I added Bergamot- if you want the microwave to smell fresher than the vinegar. Wipe off condensation and splattered food easily and that sour  odor will be gone. For the dishwasher, place vinegar in a shallow bowl on the top rack and run a cycle. Check your food trap and remove the gunk there.

It's a good time to check your pantry.  Toss expired items especially pancake and cake mixes, since the oil in the mixes does get rancid.  Same for your canned goods and spices.  If there something you haven't used in a long time, consider donating it to a homeless program. 

Clear the counters.  Kitchens are tough to keep clear with mail, children's artwork, plants, and everything that lands in the counters when your family comes home.  Hide paperwork ' in plain sight' in lidded boxes or baskets. Clear out dead plants. Freshen up pots and utensils that hang with barkeepers friend. 

 In the bath, collect your daily use toiletries in containers....even a collection of terra cotta pots looks better than a pile of bottles.  I transfer small amounts of products like witch hazel, alcohol, mouthwash and more to pretty apothecary bottles.  Keeps the main bottle grime free and the counter cohesive and clean. 

Have more time? Really work on the mold in the shower. Sometimes it's in the corners, sometimes it's around your door should you have a glass door, and  even your flow on your faucets and showerheads will be easier if you soak them in a bag of water and vinegar for a few minutes to remove hard water buildup.

Whole house : 
Flooring. Winter wet, mud, salt and more should be removed from your wood floors and area rugs. Start with a good vacuuming first then use Bona or other non-toxic product (like 1/2 c vinegar in  1 gallon of water - with a drop of essential oil for fragrance) to wipe down floors.  Microfiber cloths are best, so you do not saturate your floor, and then you can easily wash and reuse them for years. 
Freshen and clean area rugs by renting a cleaner or invest about $99 for a Bissell Little Green Machine. I've had mine for years, clean pet stains every week, and I lend it to people all the time. 

Blinds. Draperies . Time to vacuum rather than dry clean since most dust is easy to come up with the vacuum. That includes shutters and blinds. Try vacuuming or using special microfiber ones

Lightbulbs. Check the lightbulbs in all of your fixtures. Make sure they are burning efficiently. If you have not swapped for compact fluorescent or LED do so now. You will save money in the long run. Just remember that any lamps that are able to be knocked over easily should get LED bulbs since they are safer than breaking a compact fluorescent bulb. New led bulbs have warm or cool or daylight and are  dimmable, use one 10th the energy, and last up to 10 years.

Laundry room 
Remember your dryer vent.   This is really important because house fires can start if there is an overload of lint in the hose that leads the dryer vent.   After a winter of mud and salts on your clothes and outdoor gear, you might as well run a cleaning cycle for you washer with vinegar.  Fungus and soap gunk does build up and this will help. For your dryer  run a towel dampened with vinegar and water around the inside of the dryer and put it through one cycle through to dry.  Check the gaskets around both, because sometimes mold can grow there. A little bleach and water on a towel and you're done. Don't forget the front. Take care of the soap drips that happen as you use them.

Bedroom. After having been closed up all winter, it's time to wash your down comforters or have them dry cleaned. Consider doing the same with your pillows.  I use pillow protectors all year round I just simply pop my pillows in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet ( Grab Green Wet)  and a steam cycle and they're fresh and clean.  You can  simply add moist towels if you don't have a steam cycle.

Rethink what is out on your surfaces like dressers counters and nightstands. Can you neaten up the magazines and books? Can you place toiletries and tissue boxes into pretty holders? These are easy updates that make your place look clean and fresh.
Really purge your closet. If you haven't worn something in over a year, you probably won't. Try to sell it on eBay. Try to sell it in a resale shop. Otherwise, donate to  charitable organization where somebody else will appreciate it. There are many organizations who help men and women find business attire in order to get a job.

When you're all done, think I'll clean your house will be, you'll be decluttered and its cathartic enough to create peace of mind.