Spring is here. It’s time to open the windows, and let the fresh air in. While you’re opening those windows, though, you might notice the curtains look a little less than pristine, which gets you thinking about other items in your home that have been neglected through the winter months.
Spring means decluttering and cleaning items and rooms that are often overlooked, such as ceiling fans, curtains, closets and garages. Think of it as spring home maintenance. The best part is you don’t need harsh and expensive chemicals to get a good clean. Your house can be freshened and cleaned while you stay eco-friendly and cost-efficient.
Decluttering can make a huge difference in how clean your house looks, and it is completely chemical free. Win-win! Your closet is a great place to start. First, toss items that no longer fit you, have stains or are damaged. Don’t try to make excuses like, “I’ll get this stain out next weekend” or “I might gain 10 pounds.” Just go ahead and get rid of them. Also, say goodbye to items you definitely won’t wear again—like that yellow satin bridesmaid dress from your cousin’s wedding. The same rules above apply to the shoes in the bottom of your closet.
Because you’re probably putting your winter clothes and shoes up for storage, look through them and donate or sell any items you didn’t wear all winter. You’ll do the same thing with your summer clothes and shoes in the fall when you swap summer for winter. To keep it eco-friendly, try to sell or donate items you’re clearing out.
Head to the bathroom next. Go through hair products, lotions, makeup and other toiletries. If you haven’t used an item in 30 days, just get rid of it. Take a look at your towels. Are they dingy and stained? They may need to be replaced. You can keep old towels and cut them up to be used as cleaning cloths for an eco-friendly option. Work your way toward the kitchen. Go through your cabinets and fridge, and toss anything that is expired or about to expire. It’s tempting to hoard condiments, but just throw them away.
Certain items in your home aren’t cleaned very often, so when you spring-clean, make sure you give them a good scrub.
Kitchen Appliances: You might wipe out your refrigerator periodically during the year, but spring is the perfect time to give it a major wash. Spills that aren’t cleaned well can become a breeding ground for bacteria. The best cleaner for your fridge is a simple combination of salt and soda water. Not only is this eco-friendly, but it’s super-cheap! Also, the bubbling action of the soda water combines with the abrasive texture of the salt to get a deep clean. Use this solution to clean other appliances in your kitchen, too, including your oven, microwave and toaster oven.
Windows and Drapes: Spruce up the inside and outside of your home by devoting some time to the windows. Cleaning windows is a breeze with a cloth and soapy water. You can either dry them with another cloth or use a squeegee. The screens in the windows don’t need much attention. Just a quick scrape using a piece of carpeting will do the trick. The carpeting acts as a powerful brush that removes all the dirt without the use of harsh chemicals. Freshen up your drapes by running them on the air-fluff cycle in the dryer for 15 minutes. Add a wet towel to draw off the dust.
Ceiling Fan: Although you can buy a tool specifically designed to clean the blades of a ceiling fan, you can get a deeper clean by covering them with a coat of homemade furniture polish, wiping off the excess polish and lightly buffing the blades. Don’t forget to clean your lampshades. A damp cloth with water should do the trick.
Once you’ve successfully decluttered and spring-cleaned the often-forgotten-about items around your home, you’ll really be able to enjoy the fresh air that the season brings. Chemicals found in cleaning products can hinder the freshness, so try to avoid them if you can. You’d be surprised how many products you can make at home with a few simple ingredients. Get out your duster and get to work.