The Big Spring Clean Checklist
This time every year, we suddenly feel the urge to scrub, wash, declutter, organise and get rid of the messiness that was 2020, and all that last year brought to our homes.
No doubt, we’ve all spent lots of time – probably the most time ever – at home. Our spaces became multi-functional: kitchens turned into school canteen, dining tables transformed to home office, living rooms became home gyms and workout rooms.
With all that stuff laying around, and with those tiny – or not so tiny – feet ruining our freshly washed up tiles, now’s the time to bring order back into these areas. With our exhaustive list for the great 2021 Spring Clean event – hopefully the last at-home event for the foreseeable – we’d like to help you, guide you, remind you of the sneakiest corners, most hidden of places as well as the obvious areas.
This is the area we use the most. Cleaning it actually feels like creating more work for yourself, but the results are rewarding, not to mention the return on investment in the long run: greasy stains or clogged drains may cause more trouble if you leave them build up. Watch out for ideas on how to get rid of both at the bottom of this post!
Start from inside out
- Scrub and clean the inside of the oven, microwave, the dishwasher, run a cleaning cycle on the washing machine with vinegar
- Tidy your cupboards and drawers: clean inside & out, toss any expired food and before putting items back, line the bottoms with lining paper (you’ll thank you present self later in the future!)
- Clean refrigerator and freezer, including the door, top & underneath, vacuum the coils: get rid of expired items, add new storage solutions if necessary
- Clean out the drain
- Clean out spice racks: make a list of spices you’re running low on for the next grocery shop
- Organise the storage containers: pair them with the lids, get rid of mismatched or scratched/ stained ones
- Clean the small appliances and all their attachments: blender, food processor, toaster, coffee maker, air fryer etc.
- Clean out your ‘everything’ drawer: we all have a drawer we store misc item in, if yours happens to be in the kitchen like ours, declutter it and go through it with a careful eye. It may help to create a list of things you keep in here in case you’re looking for batteries or rubber bands
- Scrub and disinfect the sink, clean and organise under the sink
- Empty trash cans and disinfect them
- Scrub the backsplash and tile grout
- Declutter and clean countertops, cabinet doors and handles
- Tidy and find a home for every item, allocate a home to all the newly acquired equipment and lockdown purchases
- Shampoo the carpet, remove stains from the furniture
- Clean behind: the TV, the cupboards, the sofa
- Disinfect remotes, headphones, gaming controllers
- Pay attention to cobwebs and dust corners, baseboards and doors
- Dust blinds and picture frames, clean windows and wash curtains
- Wash pillow cases, throws, or if you can remove the cover on the sofa, give that a rinse, too. Update pillow cases and blankets with spring or Easter themed colours and motifs
- Get rid of old magazines and junk mail, put books back on the shelves
- Finish with your usual routine: dust surfaces and hoover underneath the furniture and the whole room
- Wash bedding: sheets, bed skirts, comforter, duvet cover, mattress cover
- Declutter and clean out dressers, drawers, and nightstands
- Dust blinds, wash curtains, clean windows
- Dust lampshades, nightstands, check bulbs in all lamps
- Go through your closet and put away thick winter knits, bulky clothes you won’t use in the spring/ summer
- Get those in need of a dry cleaning sorted before you put it away (i.e. wool winter coats)
- Go through your accessories and see if anything needs fixing, watches need new battery
- Home office
- Dust and wipe down table and other furniture
- Dust and wipe down electronics – computer, keyboard, mouse, printer etc.
- Backup your files: get a hard drive or subscribe to a cloud service and make sure you create an organised system for file storage
- Clean and organise drawers and paperwork, bills and print outs, and toss/shred what is no longer needed
- Declutter office supplies and restock what is needed
- Clean windows and blinds, wash curtains
- Vacuum the floor, pay attention to cobwebs and dust corners, baseboards and doors
- Clean out the drain and scrub bath or shower cabin, wash shower curtains (if you can) or replace with a new one if mouldy or has soap scum. – Clean shower head, the hose and shower door
- Wipe down mirrors and tiles all around the bathroom
- Thoroughly clean toilet (all around and underneath)
- Declutter and toss expired beauty products, medicines, and toiletries
- Wipe down the area under sink/cabinets and organise them
- Disinfect toothbrush holder and change your toothbrush or head
- Wash hair and make up brushes, empty your make up bag and get rid of any expired / used up products. Check expiry date for replacement products
- Wash bath mats, towels, declutter and re-organise linen closet
- Disinfect trash can
- Mop the floor
- Check carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguishers
- Change batteries in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights
- Change AC filters, water filters
- Disinfect light switches and doorknobs
- Clean ducts and vents
Top tips for keeping up with your new order
- Create a system to keep everything organised: make sure every item has a home, that they are labelled if necessary and that you always, ALWAYS put them back to where they came from. This will save you a lot of time on sorting things.
- Purge unnecessary doubles, think about areas in your home that may be overrun with duplicates and donate/ sell the unnecessary extras: kitchen utensils, junk drawers items (pens, pencils, notepads, bag clips, take out menus, bits and bobs), closets & dressers, linens, shoes, kitchen accessories.
- Usually we have two, almost identical, of these, yet for some reason we hold onto the ones we don’t even use or need anymore.
- The size of your family may determine and even justify duplicates of certain things, but the purpose of this exercise is to open your mind to thinking about places where you naturally collect excess, and get rid of it.
- Implement the 2 minute rule: we tend to leave things out, but if you determine an action can be done in two minutes or less, you actually should do it right then because it’ll take longer to organise it and review it than it would be to actually finish it the first time you notice it. Great examples: socks on the floor, that empty teacup by the sink or pillows and blankets all over the sofa.
And now onto the cleaning products, we have a secret weapon that is sustainable and cleans just about anything and everything in your home: castile soap. It is a vegetable-based soap that is made free of animal fats and synthetic ingredients, so perfect if you are leading a plant based life or you’re vegan. This natural, nontoxic, biodegradable soap is available in bar or liquid form.
The versatility of this soap is probably endless, but we thought to list at least 10 of those things you can use it for. Can you imagine? Buying just one bottle of liquid castile soap that you can use all around the house? Saving on all those plastic bottles is definitely worth the try. Our favourite: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap
Washing up liquid
One part of castile soap to 10 parts of water will make liquid dish soap. Store it in a lovely dispenser and you’re good to go.
Mix equal parts of castile soap and water in a bottle. Fill your detergent compartment as normal.
Work a small amount of undiluted soap into wet hair, as castile soap works great as a shampoo, too. If you have dyed hair, this may not be for you as castile soap can strip away some of the colour. On the contrary, if you’re trying to get rid of or tone down a harsh new hair colour you may want to give this one a go.
Castile soap is mild to use on your face and strong enough to potentially prevent acne and kill harmful bacteria. Rub a few drops of soap onto your wet face and rinse as usual.
Add two tablespoons of castile soap to 12 ounces of water. It’s optional to add 1/2 a teaspoon of a carrier oil or a few drops of essential oil. Fill your soap dispenser with the mixture.
For all kinds of surfaces: pour 100 ml of castile soap into a 500ml spray bottle, fill it up to with water and you have a cleaning spray.
Add 100ml of soap to a load of laundry. If your skin is sensitive, this will be a particularly good use of castile soap.
Castile soap can be used to make your floors sparkle. Add 50ml of soap to 10 litres of hot water and mop as usual.
Surprisingly, castile soap can be used to wash your pets! Depending on their fur, use a small amount first with some water to lather and rinse them with clean water.
Make up brush wash
Add a few drops of castile soap to some water in a cup. Soak your brushes in this mixture and rub the make up residue off by adding a few more drops of soap directly to the brush, as needed.
Tips on using castile soap effectively:
- make sure you use soft water as castile soap will leave a white film residue behind, when mixed with hard water
- do not mix castile soap with vinegar or lemon juice, see above mentioned issue with the white film residue
Natural scouring powder
Sodium bicarbonate works wonders on a lot of surfaces, all you need to do is fill up a salt shaker with some of the sodium bicarbonate powder, and sprinkle it on the stain you want to remove. Make a paste out of it with some water for a smoother scrub.
Use corn starch or dishwasher-detergent paste on them.
Red berry stains
Pour boiling hot water from a height on the stain and it will miraculously disappear
Invest in some loofah sponges
They are amazing, natural sponges. Did you know that they are actual little (well, not so little) gourds? Once you feel like they’re not doing the cleaning so well anymore, you can add it to the compost and it will biodegrade.
The power of vinegar
The recipe: Fill up a bottle with one orange’s peel, 2-3 rosemary branches, 3 oz of vinegar, 3 oz of water and 15-20 drops of citrus essential oil. Leave this mixture to stand for 2 weeks for the ingredients to have a proper soak in the vinegar water, and fill up a spray bottle with the liquid once strained.
This can then go on the tiles, taps, floor, basin, shower cabin, bath tub, mirrors and grouts. If you want to remove limescale from the shower head, let that soak in this mixture overnight,
You can fix a clothing item’s colours as well, by soaking them in vinegar before putting it in the washing machine. Always wash these clothes individually though.
Clean the drains by sprinkling a 3/4 cup of sodium bicarbonate down the drain, and pouring half a cup of vinegar on top. Cover the bubbling action while it’s working and doing its job, then rinse with plenty of water to wash away the dirt.
Use high concentrate vinegar on chopping boards as a disinfectant.
Fill a cup with the vinegar mixture and pop it in the microwave to get rid of smells and stains.
Now you’ve seen the power of simple ingredients when it comes to cleaning your home and keeping it fresh as well as the power of a well established system to ensure every item has a ‘home’ in your home and remember: the less you own, the easier it is to keep it neat.