What do you do for spring cleaning?
April 1, 2008 7:38 PM   Subscribe

What do you do for spring cleaning? Specifically along the lines of either cleaning, home maintenance, or yard work.

It's my first spring in my new home. I'm probably going to clean the windows and I haven't thought further along than that. What do you do?
posted by hazyspring to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Basically, I do whatever it is I need to do. I usually clean my place no matter what time of year, but SPRING cleaning is kind of special in the sense that I use that time of year to really organize all my crap and get rid of things I don't use. Here in Chicago crap can just pile up during the winter so come spring I usually get brutal on what I need and what I don't. Things I get rid of go to charity or a spring sidewalk sale. If I haven't used it all winter, it usually goes. Also, this is a good time to take note of any repairs that may need to be worked on in the coming months. I just make a list and try to make sure I get to fixing what I can while the weather is nice.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 7:51 PM on April 1, 2008

Weed now! I use the first early days of spring to get a head start on weeding the garden, while root structures are still small and seed heads haven't formed. I also apply weed & feed to the lawns, rake up debris, and put down a nice layer of compost on the flower & veggie beds. If you don't already have a compost pile, spring is a great time to start one.

Inside, I put in new furnace filters and clean the fridge coils. If I had central a/c, now would be a good time to make sure it's still working so it could get fixed before the days heat up. I also do a 'do we really need this stuff' assessment among our belongings, looking for stuff to cull (if it's a winter item and I didn't use it over the past winter, away it goes).
posted by jamaro at 7:55 PM on April 1, 2008

Definitely getting rid of stuff that's accumulated. Cleaning out closets, basement, attic, garage, etc. Luckily our town has a Spring Cleaning Week where everyone can put anything household-related (i.e. not trash) out on the curb. Everyone spends the week going through everyone else's piles of stuff, and you can take whatever you want as long as it's on the curb. It's like a town-wide version of dumpster diving. At the end of the week, the city maintenance crews come through and separate anything that can be recycled or sold for scrap, and then the trash trucks take the rest (but there's usually very little leftover).

As far as regular house-cleaning, Spring is usually a good time to give everything a good wash (windows, curtains, rugs, etc.) and/or scrubbing (tiles, linoleum, appliances, etc.), and take a walk around the house, inside and out, making a checklist of things that need to be replaced or repaired, as ISeemToBeAVerb said.
posted by amyms at 8:01 PM on April 1, 2008

We are probably not typical, but the yard work involves clearing up fallen timber, putting a few tons of gravel on the driveway to fill the potholes and replace the gravel I blew off in the winter, planting trees (usually several hundred!), finding all the stuff that blew off the porches during winter storms or was washed away in the spring floods and so on. This year it will also include building a foundation for an outbuilding and gathering up all the bales of fence wire and abandoned agricultural implements to go to the scrap metal merchant. The big tractor will go to the dealers to be serviced and I will do the little one myself.

I'm also a big believer in throwing as much shit out as possible. My friend Tom says that for every bag of crap you buy and bring into the house, you should take a bag to the dump. I agree.
posted by unSane at 8:09 PM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding the "giving everything a good scrubbing/wash." Just want to add washing the blankets to the list. I also tend to go through my shoes and get rid of the ones that have become trashed over the winter.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:12 PM on April 1, 2008

I've just done the annual spring clothes purge, which is probably as close to spring cleaning as I get. No hard and fast rules, but generally if it's clothing I didn't touch over the course of the winter (or last spring/summer, even), it's out.
posted by lindsey.nicole at 8:25 PM on April 1, 2008

I live in Vermont, the snow is still melting this week and Spring comes after Mud Season, the messiest season of them all.

One of the big things here is to unplastic and open all the windows and doors and suck out all the dead bugs etc while you're in there washing. Wash all the salt/dirt off of any outside steps/porch/walkways. Paint the birdfeeders and get all the birdseed out of wherever you store the birdseed. Wash everything that can be washed and put the rest someplace sunny to air out. Do a thorough evaluation of what got trashed over the winter and get rid of it. Put down more mulch on your garden beds and rake up all the crap that wound up everywhere over the winter. Muck out the fireplace and close it up better than it's closed up when you're using it.

Empty out the fridge and freezer and be honest about what you're really not going to eat. Condiments from last year at this time GO OUT. Put winter jackets and winter clothes in mothballs/cedar and put them in the attic. Get out summer/spring clothes and air out/wash. Swap out flannel sheets for cotton sheets and take the electric blankets and mattress pad warmers and wash them and pack them for winter. Vacuum out the car and wash down the surfaces in it. Get snow tires taken off. Vaccum everything and change vaccuum bags, smoke detector batteries, night light batteries and sponges. Use old sponges for grotty cleaning tastks.
posted by jessamyn at 8:29 PM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Clean out all cabinets, closets drawers, etc., separating into (a) Goodwill, (b) garbage or (c) keep it.

Clean out filing cabinets, shredding all the stuff I don't need - old bank statements, credit card bills, pay slips, etc. All that stuff is available electronically now anyway. And if the apocalypse comes and it's not available electronically for some reason? Then you won't need it anyway, cause the world will be in chaos.

Wash the walls.

This year I am going to start vermicomposting.

Clean out the fridge, throwing out old stuff and wiping down all the surfaces inside.

Flip the mattress crossways, then longways in the fall.

Get the car(s) detailed (I live in CA, so no mud season).

Finally, what I consider the most important item of all, since I live in an apartment with wall to wall carpeting: vacuuming and then steam cleaning all carpets and couches. You can rent the units at most grocery stores by the day and buy the soap to go with it.
posted by charlesv at 8:57 PM on April 1, 2008

A few times a year, including the spring: I like to move all the furniture in each room (everything, even the pain-in-the-ass giant desk) and clean under and behind it--vacuum, mop, wash baseboards and walls, all that good stuff. Wash things like removable throw-pillow or couch-cushion covers. Take a good look at things like steps or stoops or siding outside that might be growing moss or mildew or whatever, and clean as needed. Also, I have very little enclosed cabinet space in the kitchen, so I wash whatever rarely used barware, bowls, etc. that are stored on open shelves.
posted by paleography at 9:03 PM on April 1, 2008

nthing charlesv

in addition: washing all cabinets, baseboards

touch-up painting

cleaning blinds, curtains, drapery

re-potting plants

cleaning light fixtures/ceiling fans

Having duvets cleaned

nthing getting rid of things. I make a big pile, decide what can be donated, what can be recycled/composted, and what has to be thrown away.

I usually take a week and do one room per day. by the end of the week, I'm exhausted, but the place looks/smells amazing!
posted by nikksioux at 9:52 PM on April 1, 2008

We do a room a weekend, starting once it's warm enough to open windows and air out the rooms.

Wash ceilings, walls, light fixtures and windows. Shampoo carpets. Take down draperies or any linens (comforters, throws) and wash or dry clean them. Shampoo couch. Wash knick-knacks (instead of just dusting them) and furniture. Polish hard wood floors. Bleach grout in the ceramic tile floors, throw away any expired medicines from the bathroom cabinet. Re-arrange furniture if we're feeling fickle.

I also use spring cleaning as a time to reorganize our closets, drawers, pantry, basement, etc. We go through our clothing and either keep/donate/trash. Same goes for housewares we haven't used in a year or more. It's a good time to defrost freezers and get rid of items lurking in the kitchen/fridge that you really don't need. It's been a year, and truthfully I can't wait to get started because my closet has gotten out of control.

As for our yard, we've landscaped so that it takes care of itself fairly well, but we'll wait until the very last frost and then will start the spring planting for the garden. Weed, add new mulch, rake the dead leaves & branches from the yard. Scrub down all of the patio furniture, sweep off the porches, and pull the hammock out of storage.

I came from a family where deep spring cleaning was just what you did - I never questioned it. My husband, not so much. But recently we were helping friends move who weren't big fans of routing cleaning, and he actually thanked me for the annual scrub & pitch. So while it's time consuming, I really recommend it. It's like a clean slate for your house each year, and since I'm the type of person to be influenced by their surroundings, it's awesome to start out the spring completely fresh & new.
posted by librarianamy at 5:12 AM on April 2, 2008 [4 favorites]

Air out the house, then get out and go for a long walk. Spring is wasted if you are working indoors. Most of the stuff above can be done in the winter, when you're stuck inside. Now that the weather is nice, clean wherever the house is obviously dirty (clean windows make the biggest difference), but don't knock yourself out with a big spring- or fall-cleaning indoors. Now is the time to take care of the exterior of your house and the garden.
posted by sevenstars at 5:50 AM on April 2, 2008

Best answer: Powerwash the exterior of the house (being careful not to break windows or shoot water under the roof shingles. This is a surprisingly difficult task for me.)

Wash (or at least give a good rinse to) the floor of the garage, where road salt and other muck has been accumulating all winter. Put away the snowblower, shovels and car window scrapers, and get out the lawnmower, garden tools and bicycles.

Get cars detailed once spring mud has mostly dried up.

Vacuum and wash all the window screens, and get any holes repaired. Vacuum the window wells.

Prep the area in my basement where I wait out tornado warnings (radio with fresh batteries, a cleared off place to sit, the old landline phone in working order and hasn't been knocked off the shelf by the cats, etc.)

Vacuum the coils under the refrigerator.

I also do the winter/summer clothes swap. Here's a tip: Hang all the clothes in your closet with the hangers facing the wrong way. Every time you wear something, wash it and hang it back up, hang it the right way. When you are ready to get rid of stuff you no longer wear, you can see at a glance which items have not been worn, because their hangers are still facing the wrong way.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:04 AM on April 2, 2008

Best answer: Unclutterer has two extensive lists on Real Simple here: Room by Room and Systems of Cleaning.

Personally as an apartment dweller there isn't a whole lot of household/yard maintenance that I have to attend to, so I luck out there. We have a large multi-friend garage sale planned for this summer, so that works out nicely. I'm also moving in August so my focus is mainly on decluttering and organizing instead of making sure my fridge is sparkling since I will have to clean all that stuff before I move in August anyways.

This is what I will focus on or already have started:
1) Clothes in closets and dressers -- clearing out and donating to charity or saving for a garage sale.
2) Cleaning up potted plants on my porch and getting them ready for new stuff.
3) Going through bookshelves and getting rid of books I don't want any more.
4) Organizing reference books and printouts -- recipes and knitting patterns in binders.
5) Organizing old photos and trying to scan some of them into the computer
6) Clearing clutter out of my kitchen, I have a lot of random fish bowls and other crap I don't really want laying around anymore.
7) Clear out spice cabinet, cupboards and fridge of old or unwanted stuff.
posted by sararah at 10:15 AM on April 2, 2008

make a big pot of coffee, blast music and do the sort of cleaning you rarely do but were vaguely aware of all winter. my favorites: clean/dust and freshen paint on all mopboard molding, kitchen drawers and cabinets, door jambs and wainscoting, wash windows inside and out, clean and organize pantry shelves and the fridge and freezer, take a toothbrush to grouting and nooks and crannies in the bathroom, clean and reorganize the basement (our basement fills with weird junk every few months). It's also a good time to repaint rooms that need it.
i just did my first yardwork today; it involved light raking and weeding of some beds to make room for the rhubarb, chives and crocus that are coming up, picking up the cigarette butts that end up buried in snowbanks on the lawn when we have parties, and raking the dead leaves and pine cones off the lawn.
fun. i love spring cleaning.
posted by pieliza at 4:40 PM on April 3, 2008

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