Clean Sweep: Housekeeping How-Tos
Spring cleaning. Those two words often trigger panic, stress, and anxiety. But spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore, says Renee Miesse, owner of Got It Maid Domestic Agency (gotitmaidhousecleaning.com). “Get the family together, turn on your favorite music, and plan a nice reward at the end of the day,” she says. Miesse recommends a deep clean at least once a year. “More often is even better,” she says. Colleen Benson Rathe, owner of Village General Store & Refillery (villagegeneralstore.co), likes to use the changing of seasons as a reminder to perform certain home maintenance and recommends three or four thorough cleanings a year.
Whether you’re overwhelmed by where to begin or ready to tackle every nook and cranny, we asked the experts for their top tips and tricks on getting your home clean, organized, and functional this spring.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
“Start by decluttering and organizing. Go through junk drawers, makeup drawers, your home office, closets, etc., and get rid of expired items or things you no longer want/need,” Miesse says. Rathe agrees. “Take stock of what you have. [Doing so] will reduce the likelihood of redundant purchases in the future, which lead to more clutter and waste,” Rathe says. “If you're on the fence about getting rid of items, place them in a purgatory box. If you don't reach for them within six months, it’s time for them to find a new home.” While organizing, don’t neglect the fridge and pantry, either. “Take everything out, wipe shelves down, check expiration dates, and then put everything back in an organized and categorized fashion,” suggests Gabi Miszti, owner and founder of Organizing Beyond Expectations (organizingbeyondexpectations.com).
Before throwing unwanted items away or donating to charity, Rathe encourages you to “utilize local groups (like Buy Nothing and Facebook Marketplace) or turn to your social circle to find them new homes.” And if you must dispose of products? “Utilize websites like how2recycle.info or calrecycle.ca.gov to find out how to responsibly do so.”
While the obvious places (kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms) and tasks (vacuuming, mopping, etc.) are probably part of your regular cleaning routine, spring is the perfect time to pay attention to other, often-forgotten places that collect grit and grime.
“Work from top to bottom. Start with cobwebbing, cleaning vents, taking down light fixtures, and cleaning fans,” Miesse says. “This is also a good time to change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace furnace filters.”
Other commonly forgotten areas? The refrigerator and washer/dryer. “Remove the lower cover in your fridge, vacuum any dust that has accumulated, and clean the gasket,” Miesse says. “Be sure to move the washer and dryer out and clean the floor/walls behind them.”
According to Miszti, “The primary suite walk-in closet is an area nobody [typically] cleans, even housekeepers.” She suggests emptying the entire closet then wiping down shelves and light fixtures, and vacuuming baseboards and the carpet. “It’s incredible to see how much dust can accumulate in an area that everybody tends to forget. I reset mine at least twice a year.”
Remember: Cleaning and maintenance go hand in hand. This includes regular care of things like cast iron cookware, raw/unsealed wood cutting boards or utensils, mortar and pestle, and knives. “These items require conditioning, seasoning, oiling, and/or sharpening. Yes, it takes extra effort, but you’ll lengthen their lifespan, which saves you money and saves them from the landfill,” Rathe says.
COMMON CLEANING MISTAKES
Most people underestimate the time it will take to do a thorough cleaning. To make it feel less overwhelming, Miesse recommends “concentrating on one room at a time.” Miszti says "regularly tidying" up rooms and doing light vacuuming daily (especially in the kitchen/dining room and especially if you have kids or pets), having designated places for belongings, and thoroughly vacuuming and mopping floors weekly can all be helpful to lessen the load when it comes to doing a bigger clean.
The products you’re using and the materials you’re using them on are also incredibly important. “Research the materials used in your home and clean appropriately. Unsealed stone, concrete, stainless steel, and porcelain all have different care requirements,” Rathe shares. “Liquid bleach or bleach-based products such as Tilex have the potential to spill or overspray, causing bleached spots on carpet/rugs; an eco-friendly option is using a steam cleaner. Also, baking soda, white vinegar and dish soap can be used if you prefer,” Miesse says. Other sustainable options? “Using washable cleaning cloths (dusters, mop heads, rags) and all-purpose cleaner concentrate with degreasing properties,” Rathe says.
Top photo © Rawpixel.com - stock.adobe.com. Other photo courtesy of Organzing Beyond Expectations. Photos courtesy of Organzing Beyond Expectations. Top photo ©Andrey Popov - stock.adobe.com. Bottom three photos courtesy of Organzing Beyond Expectations