Spring Cleaning

By: Missy Sorg

I don’t know about anyone else, but with all this crazy weather happening the past couple of weeks, it seems like anytime I’ve wanted to go outside and do some gardening, Mother Nature has had other plans – that has included snow…in April.  With that said, I figured it was as good a time as any to get started on some of my spring cleaning instead.  

I find that my house generally gets a good once over in spring.  And another in fall.  Maybe it’s because I remember spring meaning change from when I was a kid.  My mother and grandmother would swap out the winter bedding for lighter spring and summer fare.  Winter clothes would be put away.  We’d do a nice scrub down of walls and floor boards.  Windows would get extra cleaning to let the sunlight in.  Whatever the reason, spring normally brings about a sense of freshening up for me.  

And, it doesn’t take much to get started on your spring redd up.  (Did I say that right?  I’m a transplant – but, I’ve heard the term “redd up” as a means of tidying.)

Here’s my top 10 essentials for spring cleaning!

 Windows:  While some folks would think of it as PC talk (yes, I’m a PC girl – not a Mac girl) I mean those large pieces of glass that have been shining a little brighter the past couple of weeks.  Grab some Windex, or you can use a nice homemade, less-chemically kind you can find over here [http://homeguides.sfgate.com/natural-homemade-streakfree-glass-cleaner-79110.html].  Grab some paper towels or rags and a ladder or step stool, and you’re ready to go!  Channel your inner Karate Kid and “wax on” and “wax off” to get streak-free panes to let as much sun as possible in!
Window and Door Frames:  Since you have that handy ol’ ladder or step stool, and you’re already working on windows, there’s no better time to give your window and door frames some attention.  When was the last time you scrubbed the top of your door frame?  Unless I’m paying attention to it, the top overhang part of the doorframe generally gets overlooked when I’m doing my general scrub down where I focus on the dirt and grime that collects around door handles and hinges.  I’m 5’4”.  It’s not like I see the top of the door frame.  But, spring and fall make a great time of year to give those overlooked spots some TLC!

Ceiling Fans:  My house doesn’t have central air.  But, we have ceiling fans in just about every room of the house.  While I’ve got that ladder/step-stool out, I should take full advantage of it!  Besides, there’s nothing worse than forgetting about the massive dust bunnies that have collected on your ceiling fan over winter and finding them flinging themselves upon you in an aerial assault when it gets warm enough to turn the fans on, right?  Right.  Save yourself the hassle, and take the opportunity to give them a good cleaning.  The ceiling fan in my dining room has a really nice, ornate wicker on its blades.  I’ll definitely be utilizing some of my lavender cleaner [http://littlegreendot.com/lavender-household-cleaner-recipe/] and an old toothbrush to get the best possible clean – while leaving a nice after-effect lavender scent.  

Ceilings:  How often do you clean your ceilings?  Again, with me being 5’4” and having 8’ ceilings, I generally don’t pay much attention to the things that are out of my line of sight.  Spring cleaning is the big exception to this rule.  Again – since I already have my ladder/step stool out and in use, I want to make sure to get the biggest bang for my buck.  I have the added pleasure of having textured ceilings.  This means that a simple cloth and cleanser won’t do the trick for me.  I wind up with fuzzies from the cloth, and the little creases where the plaster folds (my ceilings are swirled) tend to collect the dust – so it looks like I have a lemon meringue ceiling with swirls of white and brown meshed together.  I take a small hand brush and some of the lavender cleaner with a bit of water to thin it down a little, and we’re good to go!

Walls:  Now that we have the top part of things all cleaned up, one can’t help but notice how dingy the walls look in comparison to the nice fresh ceilings and windows.  Spoiler alert – I love my Swiffer.  Clip on a wet pad, and I can have my walls washed down in no time flat!

Baseboards:  Since we’re going top down, now that the walls are all cleaned up and sparkly, you’ve got to do something with those baseboards.  As much winter blah as was built up on the top of the door casing you barely notice has also accumulated on the baseboards.  I swore I just cleaned them, but what the heck, I’m in full-on spring cleaning mode! Let’s do this!  Grab some more of that handy dandy lavender cleaner, a good cleaning rag, and you’re done before you know it.  

Floors:  We’ve done the ceilings, ceiling fixtures, walls, and baseboards.  Now, it’s time for the floors.  Sure, we all clean the floors on a regular basis.  But, spring cleaning means giving your floor some extra TLC.  If I’m cleaning my carpeted floors (i.e. bedroom, office, etc.) I’ll do the general vacuum cleaner.  But, I’ll also pull out the carpet steamer.  (Don’t worry if you don’t own one yourself – you can rent one!  Since I assume you’re reading this from somewhere here in Pittsburgh, there are plenty of places if you look.  I know Kuhn’s grocery store on Banksville Road, for instance, has rental options for steam carpet cleaners!)  As for my non-carpeted floors (wood floors, kitchen laminate, bathroom tile, etc.) I do the standard sweep and mop.  Then I do a little more.  As far as my wood floors are concerned, I pull out the wood conditioner.  You can use a commercial product such as Orange Glo or Murphy’s.  Or you can do a more homeopathic option using coconut oil [http://www.kibbysblendedlife.com/natural-diy-coconut-oil-wood-polish-conditioner/].  

Throw Rugs:  As a kid, cleaning the throw rugs was actually one of my favorite things.  I was allowed to hit something with a broom!  It was so exciting.  And, it’s one of the things that I continue to do with my throw rugs.  Pull them to the back porch and sprinkle them with baking soda to help get rid of any funky smells.  Let it sit for a little bit (a couple hours?) and then hang the rug over a clothesline and take the opportunity to take out any aggression you have by beating the ever loving crap out of it with a broom – making sure to spread the wealth by beating both sides of the rug.  When you’ve gotten what you can from it, take it down and shake it a couple times before returning it.

Spot Dusting:  Spot dusting is by far one of the tasks I admittedly don’t do as often as I should.  But, we’re already in full swing in this spring cleaning thing – and there’s no stopping me!  Again, thank you Swiffer for giving me an easy “feather duster” option.  That little handheld gem works wonders.  Not only does it reach in between everything on my shelves, it also attracts dust particles.  I’m not just pushing dust around, I’m actually removing it!  Woo!

Cushions and Pillows:  Why is there not a surefire way to clean sofa and chair cushions?  It’s not like I can toss my sofa in the washer and dryer.  So, I try to make the best of it by mixing a combination of efforts – primarily removing them to the porch and beating them “softly” so as to not ruin the cushiony aspect.  I also generally try to run a small vacuum (I have a nice hand vac that works wonderfully for the task) to pick up whatever happens to have found its way between the cushions.  And, then I Febreze it all to freshen it up.  If you’re not a fan of Febreze, you can do a homemade version [http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Febreeze/?ALLSTEPS] of that, too!

I know the list makes it look like it will take forever, but trust me when I say it doesn’t.  I can generally get most, if not all of it done, in a matter of hours.  And, I have a 2-story, 3-bedroom house!