Monday, May 08, 2006

Almost Summer Spring Cleaning

Dallas has been lucky enough to see several days of rain over the last few weeks. We certainly don't want to complain about giving our sprinklers a break, but all that being cooped up indoors has brought to attention all of the nooks and crannies we've been neglecting while we spent the winter holed up with our Netflix subscriptions.

The idea of spring cleaning can seem like a level of hell reserved for obsessive compulsives and Martha Stewart, but if you start with a game-plan you can make fast work of the whole house. The first task is to stock up on cleaning supplies. If you don't have a plastic bucket, you might want to pick one up so that you can keep all of your supplies in one handy carry-around tote.

Cleaning Bucket Supply List:
1) All purpose cleaner
2) Glass cleaner
3) Furniture polish
4) Bleach spray
5) Bleach wipes
6) Micro-fiber cleaning cloths (these are reusable)
7) Paper towels

Other Equipment:
1) Mop with disposable wet cloths (such as Swiffer)
2) Dust mop (for hardwoods)
3) Hard-bristled scrub brush with handle
4) Reusable toilet brush with flushable cleaning pads
5) Vacuum
6) Hand Vac (I recommend Shark)

Next, make a list of the rooms you want to tackle and itemize what needs to be cleaned. Take any rugs and curtains out to the yard to shake them. This will probably result in dust being blown all over you, so don't wear your Sunday best. Curtains can be hard to wash, so have them dry-cleaned or pop them in the dryer with a home dry-cleaning cloth.

Pull your furniture away from the walls in each room(be sure to put towels under the feet to prevent scratches if you have hardwood floors) and dust mop or vacuum the floors. While the furniture is pulled out, wipe the baseboards clean (this may require a damp cloth). If you have paneled doors, give them a good dusting too, as stuff tends to collect in the recesses. Run a clean microfiber dust cloth over your walls and anything hanging on them, as well as your light fixtures and fans.

If you have house plants, take them outside and give them a gentle spray with the hose. Leaves and pots get dusty over the winter. For broad-leafed plants, you may want to run a damp paper towel over each leaf. It's a pain, but the plant will look so much better with out the spider webs and dust bunnies. This works on blinds too.

In the kitchens and bathrooms, use all-purpose cleaner or glass cleaner to remove dusty residue from any accessories or picture frames. These rooms tend to build up layers of grime due to all the moisture. Vacuuming the floor before mopping will prevent the dust from being pushed around the room. For tight spaces in the bathroom, use the hand-vac. Give the sinks and tubs a scrubbing with a handled scrub brush and bleach spray and give the toilets the once-over as well. Use bleach wipes to clean the counters and faucets.

If you are feeling really adventurous, go through your cabinets and make-up drawers and throw out anything you don't use. Plastic baskets are a great way to reorganize in bathrooms and pantries and are easy to maintain. You can group things you use together into the same basket, like your hairdryer, brushes, and hair products, or various kinds of pasta. When you need things, just pull down the basket. When you are done, shove everything back in the basket and into the cabinet.

In the bedroom, turn your mattress if necessary. If you have a bedskirt, pull it off and have it dry cleaned along with you comforter. For dusty cloth lamp shades, use a lint roller to clean them off. Use plastic containers to store winter clothes and bed linens.

Lastly, clean your windows inside and out, relax, and enjoy.

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