Spring is in the air, but the pandemic winter’s dreariness might still be taking residence in forgotten corners of your home. Yes, you’ll need lots of elbow grease to undertake the annual spring cleaning ritual, but the benefits are immense, including improved mental well-being.
We’re not talking about daily or weekly tidying up. This means visiting long-neglected nooks and crannies. To start, air out your house by opening all the windows and doors. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that circulation and ventilation are key. (Sorry, Purell. The best sanitizer in the world is free.)
Once you’ve filled your lungs with all that clean air, it’s time to roll up those sleeves. But, Elena Ledoux of Superb Maids (superbmaids.net) cautions, be prepared to spend more than one day on this undertaking.
“I would recommend tackling and breaking it up into chunks, because most people don’t realize that to do a good, thorough professional cleaning takes four to five times more hours than what people would assume,” she says. “Let’s say you casually clean your house on the weekend on a regular basis. That could be a three-hour project. But if you want to do a thorough, top-to-bottom clean, it could be like 16, 20 hours. I feel like it would be discouraging for somebody to say, ‘I want to do spring cleaning today’ and expect that will end today. [You’re] just setting yourself up for failure.”
So have a plan in place. Start with the least-used room, like a guest bedroom, and clean from the top, starting with the ceiling fans. When you’re done with the room, sanitize and polish the door knob and close the door. You’ll feel like you accomplished something and be mentally set up to tackle the most trafficked rooms, like the kitchen and the living room, Ledoux says.
And if spending hours doing a deep clean feels too overwhelming, consider enlisting help from a professional service. “Typically what someone wants done in the spring cleaning package are the things they don’t get to all of the time,” says Kimberly Mazzone of Kimberly’s Kleaning (kimberlyskleaning.com) in Henderson, “like wiping down the baseboards, maybe wiping down the doors, getting all the blinds, cleaning the oven and refrigerator, moving things in the house to get behind them.”
As for cost, every house is different; it’s not necessarily about square footage as how lived-in your house might be. The more people and pets, the more cleaning that will need to be done. But you don’t have to do the whole house at once. Kimberly’s offers a two-hour special for $135 with two cleaners, and you can specify which part of the house you want them to focus on.
“What we do is individualized custom cleaning, where we do what the customer wants,” Mazzone says. “We’ve had calls where people will go, ‘Kimberly, can you send the girls out just to get my blinds, my baseboards and my ceiling fan.’ Because they enjoy cleaning their house and they have a budget, and we’re OK with that.”
To get the ball rolling on your spring cleaning, here are five areas in your home that need that special attention this time of year.
Closets. If you’ve looked in your closet and immediately felt the need to close it, you’re not alone. The best course of action is to be merciless in discarding things that no longer serve you, including clothes rendered obsolete by pandemic weight gain. Donate them so they can be of use to someone else.
Ceiling fans, windows and curtains. For most of us, cleaning is an out of sight, out of mind proposition, which means things higher up, like ceiling fans, rarely get a second glance. Windows, too, don’t get the attention they deserve. Clean your screen and vacuum out all the bugs that get stuck in the crevices. Curtains need professional cleaning at least once, if not twice a year, according to Elena Ledoux of SuperbMaids.
Air filters. Air filters typically need to be changed every one to three months, depending on the type you buy. Spring is a good time to remember to replace them, and you should—they make all the difference in the quality of air you breathe at home.
Degrease the kitchen. There’s a reason you don’t look too closely under the hood (or the tops of your cabinets and fridge)—there’s a layer of grease there that looks like it could come to life. Clean these hard-to-reach places with soap and hot water or a degreaser, and wipe clean. Ledoux then suggests cutting out a piece of paper (like parchment) and layering it on top to catch the grease, so the next time you look up there, it won’t be as scary.
Patio. Here’s one part of your house that provides a lot of joy, especially when the weather is nice. Give your patio a good sweep and spruce it up by replacing beat-up furniture cushions. “If you do a one-time cleaning in that area, you get to use it for quite a while,” Ledoux says.