Spring is in the air, and with the flung-open windows comes the urge to clean and fix everything immediately. This is great! This is also unsustainable if it’s been, well, a pretty long time since the last “fling open the windows/clean/fix everything” session.
Ease back into a Spring Cleaning plan with these quick, satisfying household fixes, decluttering tips, and easy cleanups using things you probably already have around the house.
Let the sun shine in! (And then take a nap. You’ve totally earned it.)
1. Put stuff into timeout boxes
Sure, this one works best for kids’ toys, but who among us doesn’t turn into a—ahem—less-poised version of ourselves when faced with giving up our prized possessions?
Create a “maybe” pile of books, mugs, knick knacks, and housewares that everyone’s feeling medium about, and store them in stackable plastic bins. Don’t panic—they’re not going far. Keep them nearby in a closet, garage, or accessible attic space for a month (or slightly longer, if baby steps are needed).
Don’t need ‘em within that time frame? Guess what? You don’t need ‘em.
2. Dust with dryer sheets
Feel like you’re forever wiping stuff down? Extend a little more time between dustings by using a dryer sheet to clean surfaces, baseboards, and shelves. Not only are they great cleaning cloths, but their anti-static nature repels dust, pet hair, and everything else that settled between the last time your parents visited and now.
3. Turn that shoe around
File this one under the “Is this really going to make a difference?” category (with the subheading of “Yes, do it now”): When putting shoes back in closets or on shelves, turn the right shoe in the pair backwards and keep the left one facing forwards.
When placed this way, the shoes naturally form a yin/yang shape—and save a ton of space for more pairs to be stored, too. You’ll notice a crazy difference with high heels, the kind that normally take up a disproportionate amount of shoe real estate.
4. Refresh mattresses
If you’ve got the kind of mattress than can be flipped, now’s a great time to do so. If it’s a pillow top, just rotate it and strip all blankets, sheets, and mattress protectors. Sprinkle the bare mattress with a good layer of baking soda, let sit for an hour or two, and then vacuum it up. (Psst: While you’re doing this one, feel free to clean your comforter. It would love a little field trip out into the sunshine or to the dry cleaners.)
5. Flip your hangers
Here’s a great tip if you aren’t really sure if it’s time to part with that jacket or skirt: Put every last thing in your closet to the test by turning each hanger backwards. When you wear an item, replace it with the hanger turned the other way.
With the exception of special occasion garb, get rid of everything from that season still facing the opposite direction at the end of three months. If you didn’t wear it, you certainly won’t miss it.
6. Oil down fan blades
Ceiling fan blades are gross.
Ceiling fan blades in areas like the kitchen are even grosser. But guess what combats greasy buildup? That’s right, more grease.
After wiping down each fan blade with a pillowcase (to trap dust and prevent a greasy, dusty mess on the floor), wipe down the top of each blade with a little vegetable oil on a cloth. Rub in circles, repeat, and enjoy the fact that your ceiling fan no longer flings dust around your main living space.
There, now isn’t that a breath of fresh air?
Keely Flynn is the creator of Tidyish, a site that touts decluttering and design from a decided non-minimalist. Check our her DIY tips, organizational tricks, and more hyperlapse cleaning montages than you can shake an 80s flick at. She loves your stuff (and she loves you, too).