Spring cleaning tips help make chores less arduous

By MARIAH HENRY
neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Spring is here, and with it comes the powerful urge to clean house. The nesting of the winter has left most of us with dust-bunnies in every corner, unorganized closets and some sort of something maturing on the tops of our ceiling-fan blades. It’s time to bust out the mop bucket and labeling machine. Here are some helpful pointers on how to get your spring cleaning done efficiently — maybe even enjoyably.

If you have got a lot of work to do, don’t overload yourself in a single weekend. You’ll just end up rushing the project and feeling overwhelmed. Here is some advice on how to organize your belongings (and time) and some hints about how to clean stubborn problem areas.

  • Separate the housecleaning into rooms or tasks and schedule them into free time over a week or two.
  • Try to make it more enjoyable. Make a playlist of songs that will keep you energized and entertained, or rent an audiobook from the library. Above all, leave the television off; it will just become a distraction that makes your job take even longer.
  • Remember that the more stuff you have to clean and organize, the longer it will take. Most houses look dirtier than they are because of clutter, so as you go through each room scrubbing and organizing, ask yourself if you really need all the little things you own. As far as clothes go, if you haven’t worn it in a year, donate. If it is no longer your size, donate it. If your kids have toys that haven’t been played with in a year, encourage them to pass them on by donating to kids who have less. All of those half-full shampoos and body lotions that you haven’t used in forever? Trash them. Every thing you can get out of your house this spring is another thing you wont have to deal with next year, and you probably won’t miss any of it.
  • Put everything you wont be needing for the summer into storage.
  • When tucking away seasonal clothing/blankets/decorations for storage in basements, attics and garages, be sure to protect them from possible leaks and flooding by double wrapping them in plastic bags. You can use a vacuum hose and hair-tie to make a cheaper version of those vacuum-sealed storage bags from the infomercials. Also, be sure to label them clearly. Remember: In six months or so, you will want your storage items to be clean and easy to find.
  • Remove candle wax from hard surfaces by laying a tissue on top of the wax and rubbing a hot iron over it. As the wax starts to leak into the tissue (or if the tissue begins to brown), switch it out for a new one until the wax is all gone.
  • You can clean regular stuffed animals by tying them up in a pillow case and running them through the washer and dryer. Don’t do this if they have natural-fiber stuffing or plastic or mechanical parts.
  • Steam helps loosen bathroom dirt, so right after a shower is the perfect time to tackle some bathroom cleaning. If you have bathtub rings, apply and rub in a baking soda paste, rinse, and then scrub with a rag dipped in vinegar.
  • When dusting, start with the ceiling, upper corners and fans. Work your way down to the baseboards. You can use a dry paintbrush to get dust out of stubborn areas such as electronics and intricate knick-knacks.
  • Remember not to kill yourself trying to clean your house. If your back starts to ache, take a break. Have some lemonade, walk the dog. Then get back to it. When you’re finally done, give yourself a treat. Get a manicure or a massage, or got out to a nice dinner or movie. You’ve earned it.
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