How to Spring-Clean Your Home Without Lifting a Finger
Who doesn't love the satisfaction of standing in a freshly spring-cleaned and organized home? The squeaky-clean smell, the shining surfaces, and the meticulously organized drawers are all too satisfying to our type-A tendencies. What we don't love is finding the motivation for a deep spring-clean and gearing up for the task. While regular weekly cleanings are second nature, the notion of spring-cleaning is daunting just in name—visions of scraping gutters and scrubbing walls are enough to send us into a downward spiral of laziness.
But here's the trick: Spring-cleaning doesn't have to be exhaustive. To get insight into how we can actually tackle a deep clean without sacrificing our brunch plans, we tapped home stagers, stylists, professional cleaners, and organizers to share their best spring-cleaning tips that are also quick and easy. Skip your regular chores this weekend, and tackle these instead—you'll have a sparkling house in no time.
Make It a Family Affair
"Get help from your family," suggests stylist Emily Henderson. "It’s faster, easier and more fun when you have people to clean with, and if you can get your kids to chip in then kudos to you."
Use an app like BusyKid, an online chore chart where children can earn, save, share, spend, and invest real money wisely. "No one said chores had to be boring; make a game and trigger the competitive side of your kids," says Gregg Murset, CEO of BusyKid. "Since younger children cannot help as much with cleaning, put them in charge of quality control with a pair of white gloves and a magnifying glass."
Clean Your Cleaning Appliances
"If you're anything like me, the last place you think to clean is the thing that actually does the cleaning for you," admits Henderson. "Your dishwasher, washing machine, and garbage disposal are all places that can harbor bacteria and put out some major funk that no house should have. Run your empty dishwasher with dishwashing detergent and vinegar to help remove any bacteria, run your empty washing machine with white vinegar to clean it out, and throw a few slices of lemon down your disposal to help clean it out and bring a fresh scent to it."
Cleaning expert and home stager Tori Toth chimes in: "Make the microwave shine inside by placing equal amounts of vinegar and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Nuke the solution in the microwave for five to 10 minutes, and then wipe the surface clean with a sponge soaked in warm water."
Let Plumbing Clean Itself
No one likes to clean a toilet bowl, but Melissa Maker, cleaning expert and author of Clean My Space, has an easy fix: "Dump a cup of Borax into your toilet bowl before going to bed. When you wake up, give the toilet a quick 30-second swish with a toilet bowl brush, and flush. Borax helps break down stubborn stains and odors; this works like a charm."
She also recommends using baking soda and vinegar to deodorize and clean your kitchen sink drains: "Shake a cup of baking soda into your kitchen drain, and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Boil 2 cups of white vinegar and pour down the drain slowly; expect a fizzy reaction. This will help move anything down the drain system that may be stuck and causing odors."
For the showerhead, Toth has the simplest solution: "Pour distilled white vinegar in a plastic bag, cover the shower head with the solution securing it with a rubber band. Let the shower head soak in the vinegar solution for an hour or up to overnight, and then remove the bag and wipe away."
Tackle the Nitty Gritty
Give Your House a Purge
Decluttering doesn't have to be overwhelming. Instead, tackle just a few areas, like the closet and the kitchen, to get you started. Once you're on the road to organizing, you can keep organizing as you go. "First, move all the clothing out of your closet into the bedroom," says Thumbtack home organizer Diane Lowy. "Put stacks of 10 items at a time on the bed. Evaluate into three categories: worn in the past month, keep, donate. Doing this exercise regularly enables you to keep your closet organized."
In the kitchen, throw away any item that you haven't actually used: "This may sound silly, but many clients hold on to appliances and other kitchen gadgets because they were gifts or are used for very specific kitchen tasks," says Tonja Scott, a Thumbtack home organizer. "If it’s an item that you’ve literally never used (and don’t plan on using), it’s probably a good idea to let it go."
Clean Your Soft Furnishings
Carpet cleaning doesn't have to be a daunting task. "Add about 15 drops of any essential oil (your favorite scent) to about a 16-ounce box of baking soda," suggests Toth. "Mix it up well so the oils are completely absorbed. Once oils are absorbed, simply shake some of the perfumed baking soda on your carpet, wait five minutes, and then vacuum it."
Scott also swears by baking soda: "Baking soda is your absolute environmentally friendly go-to supply for basically anything, like deodorizing your waste bins, unclogging your sink, carpet spot cleaning, and so much more."
Henderson also suggests giving your laundry closet a quick refresh: "Refresh pillows and towels in the washing machine," she says. "Throw your towels and pillows in with a combination of vinegar and baking soda to create more fluffiness."
For the Finishing Touches
If All Else Fails, Call in Help
Ultimately, the most important aspect of deep cleaning your home quickly is to list your priority tasks and assign a time frame to them. Be realistic about how much time you want to take out of your weekend, and outsource the rest. "Just take a few minutes to start, not an hour or a day. Once you start and keep going, you will be proud of your accomplishments," says Thumbtack home organizer Joel Derse Dauer. "If you feel that you are stuck and don't know where to begin, call a professional to get you motivated."
Henderson adds that putting yourself in the right mindset for cleaning can have a huge impact on your motivational levels: "While I’m doing my spring-cleaning, I love the fresh scents of Air Wick's Bullet auto spray that delivers continuous bursts of fragrance so it’s like you’re experiencing that first whiff of your favorite scent for the first time every time."
Next up: three hacks a professional cleaner knows (and you don't).