The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

What’s not to love about springtime? The sunshine, flowers, cute baby animals, picnics in the park, spring cleaning — oh, wait. You might not love to clean (who does?), but spring is the perfect time to refresh your home and enjoy a sense of renewal.

Spring cleaning is when you do all the things that aren’t typically part of routine cleaning. Check smoke alarms, clean carpets, wash windows, wipe down baseboards, and reduce clutter. Deep clean kitchens and bathrooms, flip mattresses, dust light fixtures and ceiling fans, clean under large furniture items, vacuum air vents, and change filters.

Spring cleaning is one of those things most people don’t want to do, but everyone loves how it makes their house feel. Cleaning also has a positive impact on your well-being and how you feel about your home. So focus on the positives, and use this handy spring cleaning checklist to keep things manageable.

What’s The Difference Between Deep Cleaning And Spring Cleaning?

Spring cleaning and deep cleaning are similar in many ways, and lots of people use the terms interchangeably. But a good way to look at it is that deep cleaning is a big component of spring cleaning.

A deep clean involves getting into every nook and cranny of each space and tackling areas you don’t normally address during routine cleans. Spring cleaning certainly includes a deep clean, but also encompasses other tasks.

Typical add-ons are decluttering, making sure safety equipment works, flipping mattresses, and organizing. Depending on your home and regular cleaning routine, you might choose to do slightly different things during the spring cleaning process. However, ultimately, the goal is to hit the reset button on your house and create a fresh, new beginning.

Ready to get started? This checklist is your road map to spring cleaning success.

1. Reduce Clutter

Go through your home room by room and start getting rid of anything you don’t love, want, or need. Weed out broken or damaged items, duplicates, and things you simply don’t use. Decluttering your house gives you more physical space and more breathing room, mentally and emotionally.

Create piles of items you want to keep, sell, donate, and toss. Anything in the donate, toss, and sell piles must leave immediately. Then, assess your keep pile and go through it again to pare it down even more.

2. Check Safety Equipment

Spring is a great time to check your home’s safety features, including carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers. Check the batteries in all your devices and run tests. These devices typically need replacement batteries twice yearly, so the spring and fall are good benchmarks.

Make sure your fire extinguisher is in working order (if you don’t have one, get one). If you have a burglar alarm, check the contacts and ensure the batteries are good in wireless components. Test the system using your device’s specific test features.

3. Wash The Windows And Clean Window Treatments

Wash all the windows inside and out with your favorite window cleaner, or use white vinegar followed by a magic eraser. Also, clean your window treatments. Dust and clean blinds, wash curtains (if washable), or use your vacuum brush attachment and a steam cleaner.

4. Clean Baseboards, Molding, And Trim

Wipe down baseboards, crown molding, door frames, and trim. Use a dry Swiffer to tackle places high and low, making it easy to accomplish the task with one tool. If your trim has lots of crevices, use a dusting mitt.

5. Move Furniture

When you do a routine clean, you likely aren’t moving much of your big furniture, like your couch and entertainment center. But spring cleaning is the time to shift these large pieces so you can vanquish all the dust bunnies underneath them. Arrange for some help ahead of time so you don’t hurt yourself.

6. Steam Clean Carpets And Upholstery

Rent a steam cleaner or hire a company to deep clean carpets, rugs, and upholstery. If your furniture has removable, machine-washable cushions, wash them. If you have washable rugs, throw them in the washing machine.

7. Clean Light Fixtures

Get a stepladder and dust hanging light fixtures, wall sconces, and lamps. Remove shades and globes, and be ready for surprises inside. It’s not uncommon to find lots of dust and dead bugs. Wash glass globes and vacuum fabric shades.

8. Vacuum Vents And Change Filters

Use your vacuum brush attachment to clean your air vents, AC return vent, and filters. If the vents open, clean both sides.

For replaceable filters, make sure to change them out as needed. This goes for any appliances that have filters, too, like your refrigerator, range hood, vacuum, and even your Keurig.

9. Deep Clean Your Kitchen And Bathrooms

Use this deep clean kitchen checklist to perform a mega clean on the hardest working room in your house. Wipe down counters, clean the sink, clear everything out of the fridge and freezer, and clean the shelves. Dust and wipe down cabinets and drawers, clean the garbage disposal and give stainless steel appliances extra shine with baby oil.

In the bathroom, remove toilet seats (be prepared — it can be gross if you haven’t done it recently). Wipe everything down and scrub grout in the shower. Remove and clean your shower head and get rid of hard water stains on shower doors. Assess your towels and decide if it’s time to get replacements.

10. Extra Cleaning Steps For Bedrooms

In the bedroom, flip and rotate your mattress. Assess your sheets to see if it’s time for new ones. Organize your closet and clothing storage. Move your bed and clean underneath it.

11. Don’t Forget About Outside

Rent a pressure washer to give new life to your home’s exterior, driveway, sidewalk, and patio. Clean patio cushions and furniture and do some mild landscaping, like weeding gardens and planting fresh flowers.

12. Give Your Home A Fresh Look

After you complete your spring cleaning, finish things off with a few changes. Perhaps a few new throw pillows in the den or a comfy new blanket for your bed would be nice. Maybe it’s time for a fresh coat of paint in the foyer or guest bathroom.

Walk through your home and make a list of anything looking a little worn or tired. Create a few small changes to give it an instant lift.

How Do You Spring Clean Without Getting Overwhelmed?

There’s no doubt that spring cleaning is more involved than a regular cleaning session. It’s all about tackling the things you don’t normally do and digging a bit deeper. There’s an allure of new beginnings during the spring, so decluttering, organizing, and creating a calmer space are also paramount.

But just because it’s a big job doesn’t mean it needs to overwhelm you. Keep these tips in mind to take the dread out of spring cleaning and turn it into a much more approachable endeavor.

1. Start With A Plan

Instead of approaching spring cleaning haphazardly, plan your attack. Decide when you’ll start, how long you want it to take, and where you’ll start. Map out a rough schedule and build in extra time so you don’t feel rushed or frazzled.

Choose days when you don’t have a lot of other stuff going on. For example, deciding to spring clean two days before your in-laws arrive for a week-long stay isn’t exactly low-stress. But doing it two weeks ahead allows plenty of time for a rest day or two in between cleaning bouts.

2. Work One Area At A Time

This step depends a lot on your personality. Choose whether you prefer to work one room at a time or one task at a time. Either way, complete one area or task before moving on to another.

Some people prefer to do all the dusting first, then the vacuuming, etc. Others like to work room by room, getting each space spic-and-span before going to the next space. No matter how you decide to approach the task, keep this simple rule in mind: top to bottom.

Start with light fixtures and ceiling fans, dust furniture, clean counters and appliances, then finally, clean the floors.

3. Allow Yourself Multiple Days To Spring Clean

Don’t think you can do a thorough spring clean in one day (unless you live in a tiny house or studio apartment). The process is much more manageable and less overwhelming if you plan for it to take several days.

When you make your plan, schedule out what tasks you’ll do each day. For example, day one might be for wiping down all the trim, door frames, ceiling fans, and light fixtures, and dusting. Then, day two might be when you deep clean bathrooms. Set up your schedule in a way that makes sense for you.

4. Get A Friend To Help

Everything’s more fun with two, right? Do you have a friend that owes you a favor? Or maybe you can offer to help your pal clean her place if she can lend a hand with yours. If you have some extra money in the budget, it could be worth hiring someone on Thumbtack or a similar site to help split up the work.

Sharing the workload this way won’t cost as much as hiring a professional cleaning service to do your entire home. However, an extra set of hands could make things a bit easier for you and be well worth it.

5. Schedule In Breaks

When planning your cleaning schedule, include multiple breaks each day. If you’re the type of person that gets so focused on what you’re doing you forget to take breaks, set a timer.

When the timer goes off, no matter what, take a five-minute break, drink some water, and stretch. Take longer breaks when it’s time to eat so you don’t end up feeling faint or woozy.

6. Start With The Harder Stuff

Have you heard of the Eat the Frog Strategy? It suggests you eat the frog first thing in the morning to get it done and out of the way because, after all, who wants to eat a frog? Basically, the frog is something you really don’t want to do.

If you tackle the harder stuff first, it makes the rest of the project seem all the easier to accomplish. But when you keep pushing the frog to the end, you might not start at all.

7. Prepare A Cleaning Kit Before You Begin

Nothing’s worse than getting in the groove with a project and having to screech to a halt because you don’t have what you need. Before you begin, gather all of your supplies in a convenient caddy, put on an apron, and have the right safety gear.

8. Declutter Before You Clean

Decluttering is a popular spring cleaning activity, but don’t do this last. It should be the very first thing you do. Not only is it freeing and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot, it reduces the stuff you need to clean.

Squeaky Clean In Spring

Don’t let spring cleaning get you in a tizzy. Make a plan, take it one step (or one room) at a time, and take lots of breaks. You don’t have to get it all done in a day. You can take all spring if you want. Start with the more challenging tasks first, like decluttering, deep cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, and dusting light fixtures. Once you’ve tackled the hard stuff, it’s all downhill from there.

Move on to vacuuming vents, changing filters, checking smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and flipping your mattress. A good rule of thumb is to work from the top down so you don’t drop dust and debris onto surfaces you have already cleaned.

Finally, crank up your favorite tunes, have fun snacks ready as rewards, and if you’re extra lucky, enlist a friend to help. Like Snow White said, “Whistle while you work,” and it won’t be long before you tidy up the place.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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