When the snow clears, and the time for spring cleaning rolls around again, the task may seem insurmountable. After a long winter, it often looks like it could take several days to get your home back in order. Establishing a home cleaning routine sounds rather overwhelming at this point. But breaking the job down into smaller, more easily completed sections, can make a big difference. We’ve checked in on the experts for tips on how to get it done faster and came away with amazing results! Here’s how to spring clean your entire house in just eight hours.
Walk through each room and make a quick list of the necessary cleaning tasks, jotting down how many minutes each one should take. Then, once you begin cleaning, stick to each time limit as strictly as possible.
Tip: I know someone who does this with free time in mind at the end, using a timer and “racing” against the time limits of each task to see if she can beat them. For example, if washing the bathtub and sink should take 15 minutes, she tries to finish in 10 or less. Then she totals up all the time she saved and adds it onto her free time at the end of the day to enjoy as she wishes. Whatever works!
As you pass rooms with laundry waiting (bedspreads to wash before storage; curtains that haven’t been cleaned in a long time), go ahead and toss a load in between other tasks. Once dry, fold them into loose but wrinkle-free piles for the time being. They can wait for you to take care of them when you’re done with the rest of the cleaning.
While making your lists, you can simultaneously use your time in each room to get organized. Bring a large trash bag and a laundry basket with you. Toss anything that doesn’t belong in the room into the basket, i.e., misplaced toys, shoes, etc., and any trash into the bag. Continue until you’ve completed all rooms, sorting what’s in the basket into the appropriate rooms along the way. You should end up with very few, if any, items in the basket, which can be put away at the end. The trash bag can be thrown out if full, or continue to use until it is.
Cleaning from top to bottom prevents swiping up dirt from below, streamlining your cleaning, so you don’t have to do it twice. Start with wiping dirty walls and ceilings (having trouble cleaning off marks? Try Mr. Clean Magic Eraser — it even works on kids’ crayon marks), working down to countertop or dresser/tabletop level (depending upon which room you’re in). Clear your surfaces and spray down sinks, tubs, basins, or tabletops using the cleaning spray you prefer. Allow a minute or two to let it soak in while you grab any towels, washcloths, etc. that need to be washed and toss them into the washing machine(also, read our tips on getting rid of the gross washing machine smell).
Then, finish washing up and rinsing the basins, tabletops, etc., and sweep and mop the floor with your favorite floor cleaner. (We like to use a half cup white vinegar with one gallon hot water mixture for our floor cleaner.) Advise everyone that the floor is wet with a Post-it on the door, and leave the fan on (if there is one) until the room is dry. If you have a carpeted floor, just vacuum it up behind you on your way out. (Some vacuums, like the Shark Navigator, can clean all floors, carpeted or not, which is a great time-saver!)
I’m a big fan of fresh air over fragrance and insist on opening windows for at least a few minutes every day. Turns out the Victorian era was big on this as well, according to Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, which instructs readers when cleaning their bedrooms to “Throw the bed open, by taking off the clothes; open the windows (except in rainy weather), and leave the room to air.” Do this when you clean the bedrooms and allow the mattresses to air out for at least 30 minutes on up to a few hours. Evidence shows this will reduce germs, allergens, and more.
If you have an Audible subscription, pop on a story to listen to while you work. Not sure where to start? Some of our favorites include:
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
- Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron
- The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince by Mayte Garcia
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- A House of My Own by Sandra Cisneros
- Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America by John Waters
- The Queen, Aretha Franklin by Mikal Gilmore
One of the most time-consuming parts of spring cleaning involves kitchen appliances. It seems like nothing gathers gunk like these things do. Here are some super-easy time-savers sure to cut your scrubbing time down substantially:
Clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar: Make a paste of one half cup baking soda and one fourth cup water in a large bowl. Spread inside oven after taking the racks out. Let it sit overnight, then spray with white vinegar and wipe off with sponge, reusable wipe, or your preference of cleaning tool. It should come right off with any accumulated food or debris, and stains should be super easy to scrub off.
For the microwave: Cut a lemon in half and place it in a bowl of water. Cook until it boils, then turn it off, and let sit for 5 minutes. Use reusable wipes to easily clean the whole inside of your microwave, then enjoy the fresh lemon scent!
Keep your fridge fresh: Cut a lemon in half and sit it in a bowl, flesh sides out, inside your fridge. It will keep your fridge smelling clean, but do swap it out for a new one every week to make sure it stays fresh enough for the job.
Clean up faucets: Scrub a cut lemon around edges of faucets where mineral deposits build up, give it about 15 minutes, then carefully rinse off. They should be sparkly clean.
So how did it go? Did you save time and finish within eight hours or less? Tell us all about it, and we’d love to hear some of your best cleaning tips, too!
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