Spring into Cleaning

To get your cleaning finished in record time, make a gameplan and make sure the whole family knows their positions. Make an evaluation of your home. Go from room to room and write down what needs to be done. Then, go outside; walk around your home and yard and write down what needs to be done there as well. Also create a list of the cleaning, yard, and organizational supplies you’ll need.

The To-do's 

Here’s a list of some of the spring-cleaning basics that might be on your list: vacuum or mop under the furniture and appliances; dust on top of the tall furniture or shelves; wipe down all furniture and counter surfaces; wash the windows inside and out (and don’t forget those dirty windowsills!); clean the walls where necessary; and sweep the corners of cobwebs.

Don't forget to dust your knickknacks, lampshades, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and flowerpots with a moist cloth; and wipe out drawers and cupboards.

Wash your curtains or vacuum them; clean your blinds with soapy water; flip your mattress; and vacuum your box springs.

Naming the Positions

Analyze your lists and determine which family members would be best suited for each job. Perhaps your nine-year-old can help Dad with laying new compost in the flowerbeds, while your little four-year-old sorts through her games and toys and throws out those with missing or broken pieces.

At family home evening, tell your family members the day you will be doing your spring-cleaning and make sure they understand what is expected of them. Give them their assignments and tell them to wear old, comfortable clothes and gloves.

Whistle While You Work

Choose one day to really tackle the cleaning projects thoroughly as a family, but don’t expect everything to get done in one day. Pace yourself. After one heavy day of cleaning, determine what still needs to be done and then work on smaller projects throughout the week or month.

The big day has arrived. Turn off the TV and the phone, but turn up the music! Cleaning doesn’t have to be drudgery—dance your way from room to room and get your adrenaline pumping!

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

In each room, get rid of what’s not being used. Throw away the leftovers in the fridge; clean out the spices that have been sitting in the pantry for years; combine bottles of shampoo where possible; go through each closet and determine which clothes or linens are too small, never used, or in bad shape, and give those to charity or throw them out. Be ruthless! If you aren’t using it or have too much of it, don’t complicate your life by keeping it around.

Move around each room in one direction, looking from the ceiling to the floor. Get into all the nooks and crannies that are usually forgotten. Let your cleaning solutions do some of the work for you in the kitchen and bathroom. Spray down the appliances and surfaces with your cleaning spray, and then leave to clean another room while the chemicals break up the dirt and grime.

Reward your cleaning team when everything’s done with a pizza night!

Cleaning Solutions Made Simple

Want to save a little time and money? Who doesn’t! These simple solutions will have your home sparkling and your kid’s chemistry teacher applauding!

The Magical Dryer Sheet
Hang a sheet in your closet and place one in a drawer to keep clothes with that just-washed smell.

Place a sheet in the bottom of your kitchen and bathroom wastebaskets and in the bottom of your clothes hamper.

Place a sheet in each of your particularly foul-smelling shoes to eliminate odor.

A dryer sheet hung on your patio will repel mosquitoes.

Leave a dryer sheet in your empty luggage to keep it from smelling musty between trips.

Have a case of static cling? Give your clothes a swipe with the dryer sheet.

Place a sheet in a greasy, caked-on pan and have it soak overnight. This will make it easier to sponge out the next day.

Collect lingering pet hairs or hairs on the bathroom floor with a sheet.

Clean your shower door with a used dryer sheet to help you remove the soap scum.

Adventures in Vinegar and Baking Soda
Add a cup of vinegar to the final rinse of your laundry to reduce soap buildup (don’t add vinegar, however, if you add chlorine bleach to your rinse cycle, as this will produce harmful vapors). Because vinegar helps to break down uric acid, it is also good to add it to your wash when cleaning baby clothes. The vinegar also acts as a fabric softener!

Clean bugs off your headlights and front bumper by applying vinegar to a cotton cloth and then wiping them off.

Soften lime deposits around faucets and drains by soaking a couple of paper towels in vinegar and then placing them over the faucet or drain. Let them soak for about one hour and then rinse.

To remove deposits on your showerhead, remove it and place it in a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and 1 quart water and boil it for 15 minutes.

For a slow or clogged drain, pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup vinegar and then cover the drain. Allow it to set for a few minutes and then pour hot water down the drain to flush it out (do not try this method if you have commercial drain opener fluid in your drain).

Wash your walls with a mixture of ½ cup ammonia, ¼ cup vinegar, ¼ baking soda, and 1 gallon of warm water.

Make a paint-crusted paintbrush useable again by soaking it in hot vinegar. The vinegar will clean it and make it pliable again.

Clean and deodorize the inside and outside of your refrigerator and freezer by cleaning it with a mixture of 3 tablespoons baking soda mixed in a quart of warm water. The vinegar will also help prevent mildew.

Make your own window washing fluid by mixing 3 tablespoons ammonia, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and then fill the rest of your spray bottle with water.

Remove crayon marks from walls by rubbing a damp cloth in baking soda and then rubbing the moist baking soda over the marks.

Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on your dog’s coat and rub it in if his coat needs a little freshening. Then take him outside to brush it out. Adding a bit of baking soda to the rinse water of his bath will also help eliminate odors.

Betcha Didn’t Know
Store your popcorn in the freezer. This will help prevent unpopped kernels and will keep you popcorn fresh.

Keep ripe bananas as well as celery fresher longer by wrapping them in aluminum foil and placing them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Keep other produce fresher longer by placing several paper towels in the bottom of your crisper drawer to absorb moisture.

Spray a bit of perfume on the light bulbs of your lamps. You’ll smell the fragrance when you turn on the light.

Applying a bit of cream car wax to your shower rod will keep your shower rings from sticking.

Store batteries in a sealed container in your fridge for longer life.

Apply vegetable oil to stickers or decals on plastic or furniture to remove them.

Try applying kitty litter to a grease stain on your driveway or in your garage. Rub it in and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. Then, sweep it up.

Remove heel marks on your shoes by rubbing them away with a pencil eraser.

Remove black scuffs on your tile or linoleum by rubbing them away with toothpaste.

The inside of a banana peel works as a wonderful shoeshine for black or brown shoes.

Spray your plastic storage containers with cooking spray before pouring tomato-based food inside them to prevent staining.

You can use air freshener to clean your mirrors. It does a fine job and will leave your room smelling lovely!

Spray garden tools with cooking spray to help prevent rust.

Make It Easier on Yourself!
Clean your bathroom just after you’ve taken a shower. The humidity will loosen the dirt and grime.

Clean your artificial flowers by placing them in a bag along with some salt, and shake! The salt will absorb much of the dust and dirt.

Fill a plastic caddy with all of the cleaning supplies you need for your kitchen, and a separate one for your bathroom(s) (cleaners, sponge, etc). Place these caddies under your sinks so that you have all of your needed materials right at your fingertips.

Hang your table linens on hangers resting on paper towel tubes to prevent creases and lessen your ironing time.

Use a string mop to wash your car—it reaches easily to the top and helps you cover a wider area.

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