Easy ways to get your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, laundry room, and patio in tip-top shape for spring.
Before you get started, print this checklist to make sure you clean every inch of your home.
Dirt, pet hair, and dust particles can build up behind your refrigerator, says Steve Ash of . Airborne materials can block the appliance's coils, restricting airflow through the appliance. It's worth it to pull out the refrigerator and vacuum the coils. Also, sanitize the dishwasher. Place a shallow dish of vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher and run it (empty) on a long sanitation cycle to kill fungi.
A simple mixture of two parts water to one part white distilled vinegar is all you need for a streak-free finish on windows and glass surfaces. Wipe the inside of windows from side to side, and the outside of windows from top to bottom. This makes it easier to see which side (if any) needs further cleaning.
Go through the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for foods that are past their expiration dates or those items you know you'll never use. Throw them away. For unopened can and jar foods that are still good but you know you won't eat, donate them.
Use old wooden crates or wicker baskets to keep bottles and packages standing upright.
Give your room a fresh scent. Whip up a room deodorizer on the stovetop by simmering orange rinds or lemon slices and rosemary in a pot of water. The scent will freshen your space.
Donate the novelty appliances you rarely or never use. Clean out the inside of your microwave. And turn your attention to your must-have appliance: the coffee maker. To clean your coffee maker, brew a pot using 2 parts distilled water and 1 part vinegar. Brew this mixture through 3 times, then follow up with 3 brews using distilled water.
If your towels, rugs, and shower curtain are looking shabby or worn, it might be time to donate them and replenish your supply with fresh ones. Organizer Michelle Paxton of says it's smart to invest in products such as containers, racks, shelves, or drawers for extra storage in a small bath.
Throw away any medicines or health and beauty items with expired dates. Many personal care products deteriorate after six months.
Soak a cotton ball with essential oils and toss it under the bathroom sink (out of reach from pets) for a clean, fresh smell. Try lavender, jasmine, or any fragrance you like. The cotton will stay fragrant for about two weeks.
Clean grout is like a facelift for your bathroom. To remove mold and mildew, home care expert Cheryl Mendelson, author of , recommends scrubbing grout with a toothbrush and a simple solution of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach diluted in a gallon of water. Test on an inconspicuous section of grout and tile first. If deep cleaning your tiled surfaces doesn't go far enough, try regrouting the surfaces.
Organizer MaryJo Monroe of says those little bottles of lotions and potions are dust-catchers. "If you're not using them, give them away or throw them out. If you do use them, find a storage system to hold and organize them in your bath."
Clear plastic drawers are the "little black dress" of organizing, says , a professional organizer. Use them in every room of the house. They're great in the bathroom when used to divide and organize drawers or to make great use of space under the bathroom sink. When they get dusty, clear them of their contents and wash them in the dishwasher.
Dry clean or launder coats, sweaters, and any items you are keeping. Toss or donate any items that are worn, don't fit, or you don't like. Inventory your spring and summer clothes and make a list of new items you need to purchase. Michelle Paxton, a professional organizer at the says it's good to invest in storage containers, clothing bags, and cedar blocks to store out-of-season clothing.
Remove everything from your bedroom that doesn't serve you—books you've read or don't intend to read, clothes you don't like, magazines, newspapers, and more. Make your bedroom a haven by first cleaning out the piles.
Dry clean or launder the heavy comforter on your bed, store it and replace with a lighter blanket. Swap your heavy bed sheets for lighter sheets and store the rest. Wash linens in hot water to kill allergens. Invest in a new odor-eliminating, anti-bacterial mattress pad.
Dust everything from the top town. Start with cleaning walls and the ceiling fan, move to baseboards, and finally sweep up all dust.
Corral small items like loose change, eyeglasses, remote controls, and your lip gloss on a tray to transform what might otherwise look messy into a neat arrangement that's stylish and chic.
Magazines and newspapers create clutter in living spaces and collect dust. Store them in a basket until you're done with them, and donate magazines to a hospital or library. Recycle newspapers.
Use a vacuum attachment to remove dust and cobwebs from corners, and wipe down grimy walls with a solvent-free degreaser.
Vacuum upholstery and launder curtains. Update furniture with slipcovers—one of the simplest tools for refreshing a room. Shop for light or neutral slips that are machine washable. slipcovers are treated with Scotchgard protector to keep colors stains at bay.
Houseplants freshen and filter the air in your home. Plus the green brings life to rooms that have been bundled up for months. Try one of these favorites recommended by : ferns, orchids, peace lily, philodendron, massangena cane, anthuriums, or palms.
Send out the rugs for a professional cleaning. For wall-to-wall carpet, consider hiring a pro for deep cleaning and stain removal.
Check and clean your dryer vent and ducts to remove lint build-up. If the ducts get clogged with lint, it can be a fire hazard. Drying clothes with fabric softener sheets can leave a residue on the lint trap. Wash the trap with soap and water in a sink. Bonus: You'll be amazed at how much faster your clothes will dry when the dryer duct is free from lint.
Pull out the washer and dryer. Vacuum the backside of each appliance with a brush attachment to remove dirt and dust, says Steve Ash of . Wipe down the top and sides of the appliances with an all-purpose cleaner.
Run the washing machine cycle with distilled white vinegar and hot water. This will get rid of any mildew and soap scum.
Clean the plate of the iron with a baking soda and water paste to remove any build-up from spray starch. Check the condition of your ironing board and board cover and replace if needed.
Line cabinet interiors with wallpaper and edge shelves in trim for a cheerful greeting every time you open the door. Floral-patterned trays corral laundry and sewing supplies.
Grime and dirt can leave surfaces looking dingy or even a different color. Power washing your porch and patio before the summer entertaining season starts will freshen your outdoor spaces up. If you don't have a power washer, you can rent one from your local hardware or tool rental store.
Give the deck boards a good look. Raised nails can be pounded back in. If the floor is in disrepair, take time to replace rotting boards and to scrape, sand, and refinish existing boards.