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According to a survey of 2,000 adults by OfferUp, a local buyers and sellers marketplace online, 70 percent of Americans say cleaning their home gives them a sense of accomplishment, while 61 percent say that cleaning makes them feel “destressed” and 54 percent say it makes them feel relaxed. There’s just something about cleaning that can put people at ease.
From a psychology standpoint, it’s all about having control over your environment. Dr. Martin Lang, an anthropologist at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic spoke with Vice about his studies on ritualized behavior. In a time of chaos, he said completing rituals and routines can make one feel in control.
“The human mind likes to predict things,” Lang said. “We like to know what’s going to happen because it allows us to survive in and extract resources from the environment.”
While spring is already a popular time for cleaning a home, in light of recent events, it feels necessary — for fighting germs and combatting stress. However, getting started, or even thinking of all of the work ahead, can feel daunting, which is why we put together this easy-to-do spring cleaning checklist.
Room by room, you can check off each cleaning task. However, you don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) tackle it all at once. Start with one room per day, or start even smaller and challenge yourself to do one cleaning task from the list each day. In this case, it’s not so much about the journey as it is about the finished clean product.
Of course, there will probably be outliers in your home like special rooms, closets or collector’s items to tidy, so once you’re done reading through this list, write them down.
Now, take a deep breath, read through the spring cleaning checklist and slowly make a plan to check each task off, one by one. When you’re done, you’ll feel fresh, organized, proud, at peace and like you can conquer the world (or, well, at least conquer anything you can do at home).
The ultimate spring cleaning checklist:
General home cleaning
Before you start a deep clean, start smaller. Pick up any clutter, toss away old mail and put away any seasonal items you’re no longer using. Then, once you’re ready, start vacuuming and surface cleaning each room. We love the iRobot Roomba (on sale for $237 at Wayfair) for vacuuming — you don’t even have to think about!
After that, you can start getting into the nitty gritty: cleaning windows and screens, vents, furniture and more. A Swiffer Duster Extender ($11.99 at Target) can help you reach high-up spots like your ceiling fans and light fixtures.
- Pick up and put away (or put aside for tossing) any immediate clutter on the floor, furniture and countertops
- Surface clean, dust and vacuum counters, floors and other furniture
- Wipe down walls and baseboards
- Clean windows and screens
- Clean carpets and wash rugs
- Change batteries in smoke detectors and check that fire extinguishers are in good shape
- Vacuum and clean vents
- Wipe down light switches
- Polish wooden furniture
- Reorganize closet spaces
- Dust and clean places up high like light fixtures, ceiling fans, curtain rods and valances
The kitchen is probably the most-used communal space in your home, so it’s no surprise that it’s also probably the dirtiest. In 2011, an independent public health organization called NSF International did a study and found that the kitchen often hosts more germs than the bathroom.
To start, you’ll want to wipe down and disinfect every surface — don’t forget behind appliances and inside cabinets! Next, reorganize your food pantry, dishes, containers and more. Hot tip: Right now, the Container Store is having a 25 percent off sale on items for organizing your kitchen.
- Vacuum and clean floors behind appliances
- Reorganize cabinets and/or pantry and wipe down shelves
- Polish cabinets and cupboards
- Deep clean your oven to get rid of grease and food build-up with Easy Off Oven Cleaner ($4.29 at Target)
- Throw out old food from the refrigerator and freezer and wipe down shelves and drawers
- Clean the inside of your microwave with an Angry Mama cleaner ($9.99 at The Container Store)
- Wash stovetop grates
- Clean and descale coffee maker
- Remove crumbs from the toaster
- Refresh garbage disposal with Plink cleaner and deodorizer ($5.95 at Sur la Table)
- Replace sponges
- Clean the filter in the sink’s tap
- Wipe down and disinfect trash and recycling bings
When you think of cleaning a bathroom, your mind probably goes straight to the toilet or shower and tub. Start there if you’d like, then take it a step further and clean linens, make your grout look like new, throw out old beauty products and clean the drains. You’ll be surprised how much a sparkling and organized bathroom can greatly improve your life.
- Wash towels
- Clean the filter in the sink’s tap
- Scrub shower, shower head and/or tub
- Clean toilet
- Whiten and clean tile grout with a Miracle Grout Pen ($6.58 at Home Depot)
- Wipe down mirrors
- Snake or de-clog drains and consider using a TubShroom ($12.99 at Home Depot) to prevent future clogging
- Replace or clean shower curtain liner
- Organize medicine cabinet and/or closet
- Throw out old make up and/or beauty products
There’s one dirty part of your bedroom you might not have thought of: your pillow. If you’ve had your pillow for over two years, the National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing it, as it can absorb body oil, dead skin cells and more, which create the perfect environment for dust mites (ew).
If you’re in search of a new pillow now, we love the SensorPEDIC® Coolest Comfort Temperature Regulating Memory Foam Pillow (on sale for $22.49 at JC Penney) or Casper’s cloud-like pillow ($65).
- Wash all linens: sheets, blankets, duvets, comforters and mattress pads or toppers
- Fluff or replace pillows
- Sort and organize clothes in drawers
- Sort and organize clothes in a closet or armoire
- Sort and organize shoes
The focal point of many living rooms is the TV. These screen cleaning wipes by Woosh! (on sale for $7.99 at The Container Store) are a techie-favorite and using a non-toxic solution, can remove oil, dirt, fingerprints and more from your television. You can also use these wipes to clean phones, laptops and other screens.
- Disinfect television remotes
- Wipe down TV with tech wipes and/or tech spray
- Vacuum under and between sofa and chair cushions
- Flip cushions if needed and fluff pillows
Whether your home office is a full-sized room or just the corner of one, tidying up can help you feel more productive. You can organize cords to your phone, laptop, modem, router and more with a handy cord organizer that can hang from a desk ($11.99 at The Container Store) or keep cords in place with adhesive cable clips ($7.99 at The Container Store).
- Clean computer screens with tech wipes and/or spray
- Clean computer keyboard with Cyber Clean putty ($4.99 at The Container Store)
- Organize papers and throw out or shred unnecessary files
- Un-tangle cords
- Sort through any old mail and pay (or make a plan to pay) any outstanding bills
- Organize your calendar
Clothes pile up fast in the laundry room! Sort them by color or how you plan to wash them (delicate versus perm press) into bins. We recommend using the MiracleFold Laundry Folder ($23.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond) for quickly and neatly folding T-shirts and more.
- Clean washing machine
- Remove lint from dryer
- Sort dirty clothes for different loads into bins
- Hang or fold clothes upon removing them from the dryer
- Organize cleaning products
Don’t forget about the garage and your car! A tool rack ($24.99 at The Container Store) can keep all of your things — like a leaf rake, shovel, brooms and more — from resting against walls and leaving ugly marks.
- Put away winter gear and shovels
- Wash the floor
- Organize tools
- Organize cabinets
- Wash your car
- Vacuum the inside of your car and clean the seats, steering wheel and dash
- Clean out your car’s console
If you enjoyed this article, you might also want help finding household cleaners for limiting the spread of germs.
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