Around the House ~ Spring Cleaning

Cleaning windows and mirrors with newspaper,  instead of paper towels, leaves your glass surfaces shining and lint free.Housekeeping is the decidedly unglamorous, but incredibly necessary, side to interior design.  A dirty, dingy home can never be stylish regardless of how carefully chosen its furnishings may be.  Though scrubbing floors and wiping down baseboards isn’t nearly as fun as picking out pillows and paint colors, cleaning and maintaining your décor plays just as critical a role in creating a comfortable home.

Spring, with its encouraging glimpses of green and invigorating fresh air, is the traditional time of year to throw open the windows, sweep out the cobwebs, and dust off all your beloved treasures.   Follow this Spring Cleaning Checklist to get your home spic-n-spanned in a single weekend.

At right, Cleaning windows and mirrors with newspaper, instead of paper towels, leaves your glass surfaces shining and lint free.

Organizing cupboard items in clear bins makes wiping out cabinets an easy task to cross off your cleaning checklist.  When there's a spill, just wipe out a single bin instead of clearing off a whole shelf.Wipe Down Your Walls and Doors
Take a look at the walls near the doorway where you take your boots off and the doors you frequently open and close.  Chances are, you’ll be surprised at how dingy they look up close.  Use a slightly damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – the “magic wand” of decorators and stagers everywhere – to wipe away fingerprint smudges and other marks on your walls without wiping away the paint.  You’ll be shocked at the difference this simple step makes!

Give Your Furniture a Good Polish
Despite interior designers lamenting the damage and dingy build-up popular dusting products can create on good wood furniture, many people still use these on a regular basis.  Do your furniture a favor and give it a nice
polish with a product intended to save and protect your furniture, rather than just repel dust particles.   Using a soft, lint-free cloth, apply small amounts of furniture polish or wax, rubbing the polish gently in the direction of the wood grain.  Then buff away any excess to leave your favorite pieces looking their best.

Clean Glass Light Fixtures
Ever lie in bed for a luxurious Sunday afternoon nap and notice dark spots up in your overhead lighting fixture?  Oh, the telltale shadow of dead bugs – pretty gross, but a common sight in glass ceiling fixtures.  In addition to being notorious graveyards for black flies, ceiling fixtures manage to capture an enormous amount of dust and debris, so it’s definitely worth devoting an afternoon to cleaning these out.  Using a sturdy step stool, remove the glass from each fixture and wash with basic dishwashing soap and a soft cloth.  Leave them out to dry overnight and make sure they dry completely before you replace them.  Note the type and watt of bulbs needed for each fixture as you replace the glass, so you can stock up on light bulbs accordingly.

Vacuum and Wipe Out Cabinets & Closets
The bottom of cupboards and closets seem to attract dust bunnies and crumbs like no other place on earth.  At least once a year, make sure you completely clear the floor of every closet and give it a good hearty vacuum, then wipe it down with a damp cloth.  Take the time to clear and wipe down the shelves in your kitchen cabinets as well to avoid attracting ants and small critters.  To make cleaning out cabinets a breeze, consider stowing items in various clear bins on your shelves, so it’s easy to spot-clean spills when they happen – you can just clean out the one bin, rather than clearing an entire shelf.

Launder Duvets and Pillows
Though you probably wash your sheets every week or so, how long has it been since you washed your actual pillows or comforter?  Though you should always check and follow the instructions on care tags, many pillows, comforters, and duvets do not require dry cleaning.  To launder these items, wash them in cold water with a minimal amount of liquid detergent.  When washing pillows, place two in the machine at once to prevent the machine from getting out of balance and give them an extra rinse to make sure no detergent lingers.  Dry your bedding on the lowest possible heat setting and toss in a few new tennis balls covered with white socks to ensure your duvet doesn’t become limp and clumpy.  Make sure everything is completely dry before putting it back on your bed, or you risk getting a mildewed mess!

Make Your Windows Sparkle
After a long winter, it’s a gift to be able to open the windows and let the fresh air flow.  But the longer days of sunshine also point out just how dirty windows may have become in the long winter months.  Make yours shine again with your favorite glass cleaner and old newspapers – they work so much better than regular paper towels, you’ll never reach for the Bounty again.  Just make sure to wash your hands the moment you’re finished, or you’ll transfer ink to whatever you touch!

Replace and Re-stock Supplies
Take a close look at your kitchen and bath towels, doormats and bath mats, and replace any that are stained or worn too thin.   Order extra bags for your vacuum cleaner, stock up on light bulbs, and carve out a space to store extra sponges and cleaning supplies you use on a regular basis.  Assign a shelf in the basement, pantry, or garage for your supplies so you’ll have everything on hand when you carve out time to clean.

To make keeping your home clean, quick, and easy, create a few stations throughout the house stocked with supplies you use in that area.  I keep small spray bottles of glass cleaner in each bathroom, along with disinfecting wipes, paper towels, and a microfiber cloth for quick dusting in nearby rooms.  Anytime the inspiration to clean up strikes, everything I need is right there.

[blockquote class=blue]Kitty Burruss is an interior designer, wife of an avid outdoorsman, and the mother of a two-year old. She therefore spends a lot of time cleaning. For a complete list of the products she recommends to clean, protect, and maintain floors, furniture, countertops, and appliances, visit www.WestchesterDecorator.blogspot.com.[/blockquote]

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About the Author: Kitty Burruss