The days are getting longer and the temperature is slowly starting to creep higher. Spring is officially on its way! But before you throw open the windows and break out the patio furniture, you can take advantage of these winter/spring transition days to get a jump-start on your annual spring cleaning routine. Read on for chores you can cross off your to-do list now while you're still cozy indoors. Get some of the dusting and tidying out of the way early, and you'll free yourself up to enjoy those lovely spring days when they fully arrive.
Clean the Dryer Vent
Your clothes dryer has no doubt been working hard the past few months and is likely in need of some attention to continue to run safely and efficiently. If you’ve been a little lax about regularly sweeping or vacuuming around your machine, now is a good time to catch up. (And friendly reminder: always remove lint from the lint screen before every load!) In addition to this general upkeep, you should thoroughly clean the dryer vent at least once a year. Lint buildup not only makes your laundry take longer to dry, but it’s also a fire hazard.
To clean out the dryer vent, detach the tubing from the back of the dryer and vacuum it well or use a brush to dislodge any lint stuck inside. Finally, give your lint screen a quick scrub with a soft brush—a clean toothbrush works well—and soapy water, then rinse, air-dry completely, and replace.
Dust Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are notorious dust-collectors and sitting stationary for a few months really gives dirt a chance to settle. Fortunately, giving your fan a quick clean before you turn it on for the season is simple.
One way is to tackle dust with an extendable, microfiber duster. Before you start, put a sheet on the floor or over any furniture beneath the fan to catch wayward dust balls. If you’re comfortable on a step stool or ladder, try this popular pillowcase hack instead: Place a clean pillowcase over one blade at a time and then carefully slide it off, trapping the dust inside. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe dust from other parts of the fan as well as the lightbulbs. If your fan has glass shades, soak them in warm, soapy water and dry completely before putting them back on. Last step: Check that your fan is set to spin counterclockwise so it’s ready to cool the room as the days heat up.
Decrumb Your Couches
Remember all the crumbly chips and cookies you’ve been noshing on during your Netflix binges over the past few months? Well, now’s the time to do a serious clean-out of your couch and other upholstered pieces like chairs and ottomans.
Vacuum fabric-covered furniture with a handheld vac or the upholstery attachment on your regular vacuum. If the cushions are not attached, remove them so you can vacuum all sides plus the frame of the furniture. Fluff and flip cushions before putting them back in place. If cushions are attached, switch to your vacuum’s crevice tool to suck up debris from tight spots where the cushions meet the frame. For a leather sofa, use a soft cloth or a vacuum with a soft brush attachment. While you’re at it, toss any washable throws that live on your sofa into the laundry for a quick freshening.
Deep-Clean Kitchen Cabinets
Whether your kitchen is the site of impressive culinary feats or mostly a place where you plate some take-out, this hard-working room is a prime place for dust, grease, and fingerprints to collect. Since cabinets take up the most real estate, giving them a thorough cleaning will make the whole space feel fresher.
With cabinets, gentle cleaning is best, so skip the abrasive products and use a solution of warm water and dish soap. First, empty your cabinets and drawers and vacuum up crumbs and debris using a crevice attachment. Next, wet a soft cloth with the soap and water solution and wring it out until it is just damp. Wipe down the inside and outside of the cabinets as well as handles or knobs. Don’t forget to go over frames or trim where grime can accumulate. Follow with a cloth slightly dampened with plain water to rinse and then dry thoroughly with another soft cloth. Use a glass cleaner on any glass cabinet fronts.
Catch Up on Laundry
Is it just us or is the sound of the washing machine and the act of folding warm-from-the-dryer clothes actually pretty soothing on a gray day? Before spring is here, take some time to catch up on laundry that you’ve let go over the last couple weeks (or longer, no judgment!).
Some items may have taken up residence in the laundry area because they are in need of a little extra TLC. Now’s the time to tackle hand washables and other delicate pieces. Also, make a pile—or sort through your pile, if you already have one—of clothes or accessories that need minor repairs such as reattaching a button or fixing a fallen hem. Carve out some time to listen to a podcast while you make these simple fixes.
Show Small Appliances Some Love
Kitchen appliances work hard on a regular basis and even the smaller ones, such as your toaster and hand mixer, can benefit from a seasonal spruce-up. To banish dried-on batter, smoothie, or sauce from your hand mixer and blender base, rub the exteriors with a damp cloth. Don’t forget to wipe the cords (unplugged, of course) as well, since they can also be targets for splatters.
To clean your toaster, start by unplugging it and gently shaking it upside down over the trash to dislodge crumbs. Remove the crumb tray and wipe it and the exterior of the toaster down with a damp cloth. Dry the crumb tray completely with another cloth before replacing. Finally, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down your coffee machine base. Other parts, including the carafe, lid, and filter basket, can be washed in warm, soapy water. If you haven’t cleaned your Keurig recently, follow these steps.
Depending on the size of your home, this may not be the quickest task to tackle, but it is super satisfying, and a chilly day when you’re stuck inside anyway is the best time to get it crossed off your to-do list.
Start by removing dust with your vacuum’s brush attachment. Follow up by wiping down baseboards with a cloth dampened with a warm water-dish soap combo. Dry baseboards with a clean microfiber cloth. Work your way around the room to ensure you don’t miss any spots.
Take advantage of a couple indoor hours to cull the contents of your closet and get it neatened up in time for spring. Pull everything out and purge items you no longer wear and are ready to part with. Put the keepers back into your closet organized by type (all jeans together, all skirts together, and so on). For a simple upgrade, use all matching hangers and hang everything facing the same direction.
Want all the spring feels? Go full-on The Home Edit and arrange items in rainbow color order. Finally, bag up any pieces you decide not to keep, but are still in good condition. This way, you’ll be ready to donate to spring clothing drives or to sell online or at a good, old-fashioned garage sale. Bonus: The extra space in your closet means there's plenty of room for new spring purchases.