When I think of spring cleaning, I think of Full House’s Danny Tanner getting a little too into the annual spring-cleaning tradition (much to his family’s chagrin). Contrast that with their neighbor Kimmy Gibbler: “We never clean at my house. We move in, trash the place for five years, then move out.”
The key is to make it fun for the whole family. Turn on some music, promise yourself a glass of wine afterward or talk to a friend on a headset while you clean. You can even get the kids excited by making it a competition or a game for them.
And of course, you don’t have to clean every inch and take all of this on at once. If spring and fall cleaning stresses you out, break it down into smaller, doable chunks. “Keep a home maintenance list and once a month pick a really big task,” suggests Pam Helms, chief innovation officer for Caldrea and Mrs. Meyer’s. “You could say, ‘January is my closet month, February is my light fixture month.’ Break it down across the calendar.”
Even if you’re busy and less-than-enthused about cleaning, a spring spruce-up can wipe away the winter blues and give you a fresh start for the summer. To help you out, we’ve ranked the spring-cleaning task list from must-do’s to bonus points do’s so you can pick what works for you—guilt-free.
The Must-Do List
Oven. Before you break out the barbecue, give your oven a once-over. “People go outside to cook more in the summer, so it’s important to do a final cleaning inside before you move outdoors,” says Helms. The black sludge that builds up on the bottom of your oven can be a beast to scrub off, but you can do it naturally: Sprinkle it with baking soda, then spritz it with water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, it should come right off, and if any is still caked on, a regular all-purpose scrub can do the rest.
Refrigerator. The key with the fridge is cleaning the rubber seal around the outside of the door and getting into those little creases. That’s because they get food and mildew buildup, which makes the seal less effective, explains Helms. “The refrigerator becomes less efficient and wastes energy,” she says. While you’re at it, take out all the food and do a thorough wipe-down of each shelf and drawer with some baking soda water.
Air vents. If you have a forced air system, then your air vents collect tons of dust that just gets pushed into the house every time you blast heat or cool air. That’s especially bad if you have allergies. “Pull the grates off and stick a vacuum down there,” says Helms. “And if you have an air filter, then it’s good to change your filter in the springtime as well.”