Home & Garden

Get a head start on your spring cleaning

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Get a head start on your spring cleaning

Spring cleaning can be overwhelming, but don't worry, you don't have to take a week off work just to clean your home. Here's how to freshen up, clean and organize your home – and keep it that way.

How to get organized
• Come up with a plan, writing down everything that needs to be done, no matter how small. Work room by room for a sense of satisfaction and completion, and to avoid unfinished jobs that never get done. Pick jobs according to the time you have available. For instance, if you only have 10 minutes, clean the bathroom taps.

• Always work from the top down, inside to outside, in order to avoid getting what you just cleaned dirty again.

Clear clutter and organize rooms as you go along.
For instance, don't just throw all your clothes back in your closet after you clean it. Label items you don't wear anymore and set them aside for charity. Be sure to deliver them to the appropriate charity immediately, instead of having them lie around the house for months.

When tidying up, reduce trips around the house by temporarily depositing items in one spot en route to, but not at, their final destination. Bring a basket from room to room to collect items that don't belong.

• Do two things at once. While you get the laundry going, scrub the shower stall.

Buy assorted containers and get the kids involved in organizing items, such as small toys or puzzle pieces, in their rooms.

• Dust before vacuuming or cleaning the floor. Try feather or lamb's wool dusters, especially extendable ones for reaching above window and door casings and into corners. Household rags are invaluable for jobs requiring a damp cloth ­ – natural fibres work best.

To clean hardwood floors, first use a dusting mop, a broom or vacuum attachment. Then use a damp-mop with a mild cleaner to finish the job. ­ Consider using the nontoxic water-based cleaners that are now available to ensure your home is kept as a healthy environment.

Page 1 of 2 -- From your bedroom, living room to kitchen, find helpful room-by-room cleaning tips on page 2
Invest in good rubber or vinyl gloves to protect your skin and nails. Use mops with a squeeze mechanism (great for vinyl, linoleum or ceramic tile floors) and a decent-size heavy-duty pail ­ one with a measuring scale helps get soap-to-water ratios correct.

Make small repairs. Don't just leave something that needs to be fixed ­ – a leaky faucet means clean water (and money!) gone down the drain. If you're not handy, hire someone.

Room-by-room cleaning tips
Bedroom
Organize your closet and try to keep it that way.
• Turn and rotate your mattress every three to six months.

Living Room
• Dust first, then vacuum any carpets.
• Polish the wood furniture with a soft cloth and wood polish.
• Don't let magazines pile up. Pass them on or recycle them.
• Keep it tidy. Teach kids to put things back in their place.

Kitchen
• Clean telephone receiver with a disinfectant.
• Add a few tablespoonfuls of baking soda to a cup of water; microwave on high for one minute. Clean interior.
• Keep mail and bills to pay in one basket.

Bathroom
• Wash the toilet bowl.
• Lay bleach-saturated paper towels on porcelain stains; leave on for 20 minutes.
• Clean the shower curtain with a sponge soaked in vinegar.

Laundry room
• Keep four baskets in the laundry room: Wash, Fold/Press, Mend, Recycle.
• Mount a stain-removal chart on the wall; stock a kit with cleaning supplies.

Front door
• Most household dirt comes in on your feet. Place a doormat inside all entranceways.

Read more:
Make your bathroom eco-friendly
House-cleaning tips from a professional cleaner
Natural stain removers

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