The days are longer; the sun shines brighter. Throw open the windows and inhale in the sweet smell of fresh cut grass and the lilacs blooming outside! The world is coming back to life, and you’ve got more energy and enthusiasm. It’s time to shake off the darkness of winter with a good round of Spring Cleaning!
First on the list is bringing more light into your home. Take down your curtains and window shades and give them a good cleaning. Bring Venetian blinds outside and hose them down. Iron curtains with starch for a crisp clean look, but don’t hang them up again until you’ve washed the windows — inside and out! You can clean your windows in one day with a bucket of water and ammonia, a squeegee and a stack of newspapers. Clean windows are the number one feature of a bright, welcoming home. Replace dark insulated draperies with sheer curtains or perhaps just a window topper to allow the sunlight to illuminate the room.
Now that you can see more clearly, look around. Is your house filled with clutter? Have stacks of newspapers and magazines, scattered toys, piles of papers and various odds and ends taken over your counters, tabletops, chairs, and the floor? Throw out everything you don’t need — and chances are most of it can go out with the trash. Get some good-looking storage containers or bookcases/shelving units to hold the stuff you do need.
What shape are the walls in? Think about painting the walls after cleaning them with a lemon-scented degreaser. Pastel shades brighten up a room. Experiment, you might be surprised to find that light colors really brighten your mood. Or simply give your walls a good cleaning and stencil on a border, or hang a favorite print or dried flower arrangement. Think about using a hallway as a gallery for framed family photos.
Wow! Now that the walls are clean, you can see that the baseboards, doors and moldings are quite dirty. Clean the woodwork with a bucket of water and a bit of Murphy’s Oil soap to add a real sparkle to your rooms. Consider renting a buffing machine to put a shine on your wood floors. Get the carpets cleaned or buy some bright scatter rugs to add a touch of color.
If you’ve moved the furniture to get your cleaning done, think about putting it back differently. Rearranging your furniture, eliminating or adding one of two pieces, can give your room a whole new feel.
This is also a good time to go through your closets and drawers and get rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in the last three years. There’s nothing more satisfying than hauling some big garbage bags filled with clothes you no longer need or want to Goodwill or the Salvation Army — and you get a tax break! More expensive clothes in good shape can be brought to a consignment shop. How about putting a shelving unit into your closet to utilize the space to maximum effect?
Now that the heavy housework is done, have some fun. Pick up some new linens for your beds, wash them in detergent meant for baby clothes, and hang them outside to dry. You’ll love the clean sweet smell. New guest towels and fancy soaps can add pizzazz to bathrooms. Get a head start on your vegetable garden — and bring new life to your kitchen — by starting your tomatoes and peppers in bright ceramic pots on a windowsill or a sunny counter top. And a new tablecloth (or a new dining set!) will make it easier to eat the right foods so you fit into the swimsuit you’ll be wearing all too soon!
Candles with the scent of spring, like peach or honeysuckle, and fresh flowers — even a single daffodil, crocus, lily or tulip in a bud vase — in every room of the house will complete the resurrection of your home — from winter blahs to the new birth of Spring!
Quick! Have your mother-in-law over before the house reverts to its old ways!