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As we countdown to spring, we look forward to leaving the stale, cold air of winter to welcome the vibrant, sunny days of spring. The outdoors quickly become an oasis of beauty and life and often inspires us to embark on our annual spring cleaning ritual.

With today’s busy lifestyles, a thorough spring cleaning of our homes can seem an impossible feat to accomplish. But, with a little preparation, our 2018 countdown to spring cleaning guide can make the project seem more manageable.

The key is to accomplish some of the larger tasks before the arrival of the season. Let’s look at what you should get done before it’s time to scrub your home from top to bottom.

  1. Rid your home of clutter

    If you didn’t already do so for the holidays, minimizing unwanted items in your home is a great first step. The easiest way to do it is to work one room at a time, on different days. Have a bin with you to place unwanted items in as you go through each room. You can donate the unwanted items or have a yard sale if you can use the extra cash. You can also have a garbage bag handy for items to be thrown away or recycled. Any items that are out of place can also be moved back to where they belong. Go through drawers, closets, cabinets, etc. For all items that you decide to keep, place the items you use the most at the front for easier access. This step does two things at once: it declutters while organizing what you decide to hang onto.

  2. Clean areas that are hard-to-reach

    For instance, clean under and behind your beds and flip your mattresses over. You may also want to vacuum your mattresses while you’re at it. You’ll also want to clean behind other big pieces of furniture and vacuum sofa cushions. You should also clean under and behind your refrigerator and any other large appliance you feel is warranted. Don’t forget to clean the coils of your refrigerator by vacuuming up any dust that’s accumulated. The coils will be located either at the back of the refrigerator or in front. You can also clean the gasket and hinges of the refrigerator with a brush dipped in warm soapy water. While your fridge is moved away from the wall, wipe and clean the walls behind it. You should also use the opportunity to clean the floor there before you put the refrigerator back in place.

  3. Clean those windows to a sparkling shine

    One of the most enjoyable things about the spring season is the abundance of sunshine streaming through your home. But if your windows have accumulated mold, grime, or other elements from the dampness of winter, the light won’t make it through very well. Both the inside and outside of your windows will need to be cleaned to a shine. Choose a warmer and sunnier day to tackle the job. Have a cleaning solution ready to spray on the windows. You can buy one or make your own that’s made up of  ¼ cup of white vinegar, two cups of warm water, and a tablespoon of cornstarch. You can use a squeegee, old shirt, or towels to get the job done. Don’t forget to clean the window sills and screens while you’re at it.

  4. Steam clean the carpets

    Carpets tend to get extra dirty over the winter. They get trampled by muddy and wet boots while everyone is just trying to get in from the cold. Once winter is on its way out, it’s time to give your carpets a deep cleaning. The best way to do it is to rent a steam cleaner to clean them. Be careful not to get the carpets too wet as it can lead to mold growth.

  5. Wash pillows, bedspreads, blankets, comforters, etc.

    While you likely wash your sheets on a weekly basis, most of us wash our bedding much less frequently. Now is the perfect time to get it done. Throw your bedding and pillows, one by one, into the washer using a hot water cycle. This will help kill any dust mites that are around and perhaps help knock out some of your allergies. There’s nothing like a completely freshened bed to help you get a good night’s sleep. And, you’ll need your sleep after tackling these spring cleaning tasks.

These are the big things you should have on your to-do list as you countdown to spring cleaning. Accomplishing these major tasks will allow you to be one step closer to a complete spring cleaning of your home.

Always remember that you can choose to hire a cleaning company to help you spring clean your home. In doing so, you free yourself up to enjoy more of the spring weather you look forward to once winter has made its exit.