As we come to a close on a month of tidying up, we felt it was time for us to cover a topic that for many of us (myself included) tends to be the least glamorous part of the entire process: cleaning. Spring cleaning, in particular; that one time of year when all of us (in theory, at least) pull out our rubber gloves, get down on our hands and knees, and tackle the nitty gritty details of polishing our homes.
A little bit about me. I live alone in a 414-square-foot studio. Every mess that’s made is my own. Every speck of dust? It’s one I unwittingly created. (Don’t think too much about it, folks. It’s kinda gross.) It shouldn’t seem that hard to clean such a small space, right? In theory, no. It’s not hard. In practice, yes, it can be.
For me, cleaning my apartment on any given day I so choose to do it takes anywhere from one to three hours. Hour one involves me psyching myself up to do it. I’ll put on music, eat a snack, get distracted by Instagram Stories, maybe do some squats—anything to put off the inevitable act. Hours two and three are a mix of cleaning and taking breaks to do all or some of the aforementioned items, again.
I am not exactly proud to admit this, but sometimes? Sometimes I don’t clean my apartment for a month. An entire 28-31 days. The 414 square feet in which I alone abide are never dreadfully dirty—counters get wiped down when they need it, stray clumps of hair that inconspicuously accumulate on my floor get picked up, clothes get put away in their respective places—but a month without actually cleaning can make things a little…grimy.
But, alas, it’s spring now. And I’m feeling ever so slightly inspired by all of the words on decluttering that have been penned this April. Team Wit & Delight has gotten down with the idea of ridding our lives of clutter of each and every variety.
If you’re like me—a person who spends at least some time in this room, cooking an actual meal a couple of times a week—your kitchen probably stays decently clean. It’s likely that you wash dishes in a reasonably timely manner, wipe down counters occasionally, pick up any stray food scraps periodically. Your kitchen generally has the appearance of an acceptably organized place in which to spend time. That’s wonderful! Keep it up; you’re doing a great job. In terms of spring cleaning, here are a few additional items you could tackle in the kitchen:
Oven: I’m not here to judge you for the number of frozen pizzas you’ve made in the past 365 days, errant mozzarella cheese likely dripping off the sides as it baked. All I’m saying is, your oven probably needs a good cleaning. Utilize your oven’s self-cleaning function, or clean it a more “natural” way, with baking soda and vinegar.
Dishwasher (if you have one!): According to this (otherwise helpful) article, you should be cleaning your dishwasher once a month. Do I do that? Absolutely not. I personally believe that unless your dishwasher starts to smell off, once or twice a year is a perfectly acceptable timeline for cleaning this home appliance.
Fridge and Freezer: Take all of your food out, grab your preferred all-purpose cleaner, and scrub that sucker down, top to bottom. Put on some good music to make the entire process more palatable and, dare I say, enjoyable. Maybe Lizzo! I don’t know, I’m just offering the very best suggestion I’ve got here, folks! You do what works for you!
Ah yes, the bathroom: the most fun of all the rooms to clean. Spring cleaning in this space all comes down to spending a bit more time than you usually would on each item. Really get into those tiny spaces! Really tackle those crevices!
Toilet: You know that part at the top of the toilet bowl that tends to accumulate mildew but, honestly, you don’t worry about it regularly because you can only see it from *very* specific angles? Yeah, sure, maybe you do. Take the extra five minutes and scrub that stuff away. Clean the base of your toilet and behind your toilet. Clean it all.
Shower: Shower curtains and doors are notorious places for even more mildew to gather. Set aside a few extra minutes a couple of times a year, grab a scrubbing brush, and attend to the minute details of this space in which you spend time daily(ish).
Bathroom Textiles: If you have a shower curtain, give that a wash. If you have rugs in your bathroom, wash those, too. It’s time, folks.
Now it’s time to think about all of the high-traffic living areas that could use a little extra TLC. We’re talking entryways, hallways, living rooms, and the like. Set aside a bit of time one Saturday morning, turn on your favorite podcast, and address these additional items, one by one.
Baseboards: If you are a better human than I, you may clean your baseboards on the regular. That’s so, so great. Keep doing what you’re doing. If you, on the other hand, forget about these miniature ledges every time you clean? That’s okay. Take a rag, give yourself 10 minutes, and glide through your home dusting these babies off.
Dusting: A few times a year (or once a month, whatever you want to do!) tackle allll the other spots you don’t dust regularly—on top of cabinets, on top of railings, in the tiny little crevices of appliances, etc.
Carpet: If you have carpet (or rugs!) in your home, a thing that might be good to do annually is to actually deep clean it. Rent yourself a good old-fashioned carpet cleaner and get down to business.
Walls and Ceilings: Wipe down any areas of your walls that have accumulated smudges or grime (for me, that’s behind my stove in the kitchen, in the entryway where shoes tend to accumulate, and underneath the towel rack in the bathroom). If you’re feeling fancy, wipe down or vacuum your ceilings, too (dust accumulates there as well—who knew).
Here we have the odds and ends of any home: the remaining pieces it’s so easy to gloss over when in the regular process of tidying up. It’s likely that a few items are missing from this section (the list could really be endless, yes?), so I’m all ears for any more ideas you may have.
Dryer Vents, Air Ducts, and Air Filters: Now we’re getting into homeowner territory—a space which is, as of yet, foreign to me. But I am told by my homeowner friends that these are important items to clean/replace regularly.
Washer (again, if you have one!): It’s easy to forget to clean the appliances that clean our things. But running a cleaning cycle on your washer once a year certainly isn’t a bad idea.
Window Treatments and Blinds: Wash the former. Dust the latter.
Trash Cans: Every once in a while, it’s a helpful idea to wipe out the inside of your trash receptacles. Things splatter, other things spill, and these bins could use a little extra love on occasion, too.
Do you abide by the spring cleaning rule? Do you, once a year, pull out all of your finest cleaning products and accouterments and really freshen things up for the coming trip around the sun? If so, I’d love to hear how you approach the task! Most of the above comes solely from the perspective of someone who rents a small apartment, so if you have additional suggestions for how to clean a larger home (perhaps one that you own), please share them in the comments. Any tips you have would be appreciated as I am, clearly, an amateur in this entire process.
BY Jackie Saffert - April 30, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.