We've always been firm believers in the idea that a clean, clutter-free home makes us feel a bit more in control (and generally a lot happier). Plus, now that spring is just around the corner, we have a good excuse to go through our cabinets and drawers and get rid of the things that, for lack of a better phrase, don't "spark joy." While some things, like a bathroom cabinet purge, are key, spring cleaning is about more than just getting rid of things. It's also about starting anew—lighter and cleaner.
Even if you have faith in your basic cleaning skills, there are a few odds and ends that you may not typically consider. Trust us—going through your home and following our easy-to-follow checklist will get your place in great shape. Below, explore our ultimate go-to spring-cleaning checklist that will ensure you start fresh this season. The best part? We go room by room, so you don't have to do it all at once. It's all about baby steps.
Clean the Oven
Before you start scrubbing, make sure your oven is turned off and totally cool to the touch so you don't accidentally burn yourself. Even though you may wipe the oven down after you use it, giving it a thorough bath every once in a while is key to keeping it clean. Whether you use a vinegar-based cleaning solution, one of your own making, or an all-natural cleaner, douse your appliance in the solution and let it sit overnight, allowing it to break down all of the grime that may have built up over time. In the morning, wipe it down and admire the sparkle.
Dust the Cabinets
The cabinets you're not using all the time, like those that house the fancy mixing bowls or small appliances, are more prone to collecting dust than you may think. Take everything out, wipe the surfaces down with a microfiber cloth or duster, and put everything back. Then, hop on a ladder or step stool and do the same to the top of the cabinets. Trust us—you'll feel so much better knowing no more dust bunnies are living up there. You may even want to consider investing in a compact air purifier to keep the area clean.
Wipe Off Light Fixtures
It may not seem like an obvious thing to clean, but your hanging pendants (or any other light, for that matter) collect as much dust as anything else—especially the bulbs. Turn all of the lights off and carefully wipe them down with a cloth or duster.
Toss Expired Foods
Throwing out anything that may be expired might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many of us totally forget to do this—especially if the expired items are ones you hardly use. Go through your refrigerator, cabinets, and pantry, and check every single expiration date to make sure that everything in your kitchen is as fresh as possible. Luckily, it shouldn't take too long.
Organize Your Pantry
Whether or not you're a home chef, keeping your pantry organized will guarantee a smoother meal prep because you'll already know where every ingredient is. For instance, organize your spices by taste or color and arrange your refrigerator shelves by purpose. Perhaps designate the top shelf for beverages (milk, water filter, juice, and wine), the second-highest shelf for produce (fruit on one side and veggies on the other), and so on.
Clean the Stovetop
The stovetop may go hand in hand with the oven, but for some, it's a whole other beast. Take all of the burners off and spray on your cleaning solution, let it sit for a little while, and use a textured sponge to wipe it off. Do the same for the actual burners: Let your solution sit on the burners for a few hours, then thoroughly wipe them down.
Wipe Down the Microwave
When it comes to microwaves, there's always bound to be a surprise mess. Whether your instant oatmeal bubbled a little too aggressively or the popcorn kernels escaped from the bag, you're bound to find a little mess in the microwave. Clean both the actual box and the rotating plate for a super-clean microwave.
Scrub the Floor
The kitchen is a super high-traffic area, and your floors are definitely bearing the brunt. Start the process by doing a simple sweep, ridding the floor of any tiny food particles that a mop won't be able to tackle. Then, break out the soapy water (or Swiffer) and get ready for the arm workout that is mopping the floor.
Before you embark on the scrubbing, make sure your solution will work on your floors. For instance, some soaps may stain wood or ceramic floors.
Disinfect the Counters and Sink
Like your oven, your counters and sink can get... pretty gross. For the counters, move any bigger objects (like blenders or bowls of fruit) so that you can clean every square inch. Any disinfecting spray and sponge will do the trick. As for the sink, you'll want to get something a bit more powerful that can break down dirt and grime. A rough sponge or even steel wool will work wonders on your sink.
Wipe Out the Inside of the Trash Can
If you've ever walked into your kitchen to a truly rancid smell, chances are it was your trash can. Even if the tiniest spill happened, it could create a powerful stench because trash cans don't usually have good ventilation (for this very reason). So take some time to really wipe down and sanitize the inside of your trash receptacle so that you can breathe deep again.
Clean the Dishwasher
This may seem pointless since the dishwasher is probably pretty clean, but the same way your coffee maker needs to be descaled, your dishwasher needs to be cleaned. Luckily, it's super easy! Just place a glass filled with two cups of distilled white vinegar on the top rack and run your otherwise empty dishwasher on a normal hot cycle.
Replace Your Water Filters
If you have a water filter in your fridge, make sure it doesn't need to be replaced. If it does, go ahead and buy a new filter. After all, the whole purpose is to be drinking super clean water, right?
Polish Your Cabinets
The cabinet doors may not get dusty, but they can definitely get a little dirty. For instance, think about all of the times you have a little olive oil on your fingers and reach for the cabinet pull. Just spray a simple cleaning solution on the door and knob and wipe down with a cloth or paper towel.
Sharpen Your Knives
The more you use them, the faster your knives get dull. Take a few minutes and sharpen those puppies up so that you don't have to work as hard slicing into a spaghetti squash next time you cook dinner.
Check Your Tupperware
You know how you always lose a sock in the laundry? It seems as though our Tupperware meets the same fate. Somehow, a container always becomes separated from its respective lid. Go through your Tupperware drawer and make sure every container is matched with its top. If one is missing, it may be time to order more. Organization is key here.
Examine Your Dishes
If you've had your flatware and glasses for a while, some may be bearing a few scrapes and chips. If it doesn't bother you, by all means, keep using them. However, if you feel like it's time for new pieces, now's a good time to start shopping.
Clean Baking Pans and Utensils
If your loaf pan doesn't get as much use as, say, your saucepan, give it a good cleaning. That goes for any tools and serveware that may be collecting dust in a drawer.
Every time you use your special occasion items, give them a good clean. Run them through the dishwasher if you can.
Scrub Your Blender
Even if you can't see it, your blender may have a thin film of smoothie residue. Go ahead and fill it with soapy water and let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub it down with a sponge.
Deep-Clean All Pots and Pans
Cleaning your pots and pans may take some time, but not very much effort: Soak pots and pans in boiling water with a dash of baking soda and fresh lemon juice. This will do a better job than any cleaning solution you can buy.
Consider Shelf Risers
If your pantry still feels a bit crowded after de-cluttering, you may want to consider shelf risers, which basically add another shelf to your space, giving you more room to spread out your items.
Wash (or Dry Clean) Pillow Covers and Throw Blankets
After months of use, your decorative pillows and blankets can get a little dirty. After all, think about all of the places you go before you lean against a pillow or toss a blanket across your lap—from public transportation to waiting rooms. Your decorative accents could use a good clean.
Dust the TV Screen
Anything you don't touch regularly, like the television screen, can get dusty. Just give it a swipe with a cloth or duster, and it will be good as new.
Wipe Down Accent Tables
Unlike your kitchen or dining table, accent pieces like side tables, end tables, and coffee tables may bear water rings or a thin film of dust. First, go over them with a duster or cloth, and then, depending on the tables' material, spray them with a gentle cleaning solution and wipe them down.
Vacuum Area Rugs
If you walk on your area rugs with shoes, your rugs may have tiny dirt particles trapped in the fibers. Do your rugs a favor and spend a few minutes vacuuming them. If you're feeling bold, you can even buy a rug cleaner and do a more thorough clean.
Clean Out Crevices in the Couch
If you like to snack while you lounge (we certainly do), then you may have accidentally dropped a kernel, spilled a few seeds, or broken a chip that fell in the crevices of your sofa. Take all of the cushions off and go over the frame with a small vacuum head.
Spot-Treat Your Chairs and Couches
If you've ever spilled on your armchairs or couches, there may be micro-stains that need to be treated. Mix about two cups of water with one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon of vinegar, dip a cloth in the solution, and gently dab at the stain. Poof—it's gone.
Check Your Wires
If frayed wires bug you, now is a good time to replace them. They're not only a safety hazard—they're also not a good look.
Nothing is more irritating than when you get settled on the sofa, bowl of popcorn on your lap, and you can't turn the television on because the remote's batteries are dead. Go through every battery-operated appliance and tool in the house and make sure the batteries are alive and well.
Some batteries can't be thrown away in a regular trash can; they have to be disposed of in a specific recycling receptacle or through a hazardous waste collection program. Before tossing your batteries, check the label.
Clean the Lightbulbs
Because the lightbulbs in your fixtures don't get a lot of contact, they can collect a lot of dust. Turn off your lights and wipe them down with a microfiber cloth.
Sweep Your Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, go ahead and give the base a good sweep. Fireplaces radiate elegance and warmth, so making sure the area is clean and inviting is key.
Dust the Molding
Anything with a flat surface, no matter how narrow, is a prime victim of dust, and moldings are no exception. Go ahead and swath your pointer and middle fingers in a microfiber towel and run them along the edges of your molding.
Dry Clean Linens
From napkins to tablecloths, there are lots of linens that need to be cleaned but can't go in the washing machine. Go through your linen closet, toss all of the dry-clean-only items in a bag, and head to your local dry cleaner.
Wash Your Seat Cushions
After you've been sitting on the subway, bus, and movie theater seats, your dining room chair cushions could definitely use some TLC. Untie them from the chairs and throw them in the laundry machine.
Don't Forget About the Floors
Pay the same amount of attention to your living room floors as you do to your kitchen floors. Wash them the same way you normally would and finish them off with a good polish.
Clean Your China Cabinet
Like we said, any area that doesn't get regular use, like your china cabinet, can get pretty dusty, and no one wants to eat off dusty plates. Take everything out of the cabinet, dust off all of the shelves and drawers, and thoroughly clean the dishes.
Wash and Polish Silverware
If you have authentic silverware, you know that it can tarnish quickly. Turn on a good podcast and get comfortable, because polishing a set of silverware can take an entire afternoon.
Discard Unnecessary Papers
If you have a home office (or workstation), go through your drawers and cabinets and toss any documents you don't absolutely need. You may not realize that a few errant pieces of paper can take up so much space, but they can.
Keep a small trash bin by your desk to encourage you to eliminate clutter whenever it starts to build up.
Organize Your Desk
Clutter can certainly be distracting when you're trying to get some work done. Take a few minutes to ensure that everything on your desk is something you need. Otherwise, tuck it away in a drawer and only keep it out when you need it.
Take an Inventory of Your Supplies
Make sure all of your pens, staplers, and any other supplies work. After all, you don't need to sacrifice valuable desk space with things that don't work.
Clean the Bookshelf
If you have a bookshelf, take all of the books off and wipe down the shelves. Then, wipe down the book covers and spines. When you put them all back, feel free to organize them by theme or author.
Dust Your Electronics
The workstation is home to tons of electronics, and electronics require a specific type of duster. If you don't have electrostatic dust cloths, do your tech a favor and get one ASAP.
Vacuum Your Desk Chair
Attach a small head to your vacuum and go over the whole chair, including the seat, back, and even the wheels!
Clean Bathroom Containers
Any containers you have in your bathroom, like tissue canisters, should get a proper cleaning. Whether you rinse them off or give them a good dusting, keeping them in tip-top condition is a tiny detail that makes your bathroom feel that much more welcoming.
Organize the Vanity
Even if you don't consider yourself a product junkie, you may notice that your medicine cabinet or makeup drawers can get a little crowded. Our advice? Take everything out (yes, everything) and toss the products you don't use. When you put everything back, develop a system of organization so that the next time you're looking for your moisturizer or nail polish remover, you know exactly where to find it in your vanity.
Clean the Toilet
Cleaning the toilet is no one's idea of a fun time, but it's the one thing we all have to do. Also, this isn't the time to cut corners: When you clean your toilet, clean the whole thing, including the top, base, and bowl.
Deep Clean the Shower and Tub
Equally as important as cleaning the toilet, cleaning your shower and tub is paramount when it comes to spring cleaning. Get yourself a grime-fighting cleaning solution and really douse your shower and tub with it. Let it sit so that it can break down all of the dirt and product buildup, then wipe it down with the rough side of a sponge.
Bleach may be strong, but it's an excellent option for cleaning and disinfecting showers and tubs. Get a bottle of bleach and store it in a closet for spring cleaning.
Take a Look at Your Hamper
After an extended period of collecting your dirty clothes and linens, your hamper may get kind of gross. If there's a lining, toss it in the wash. If the hamper itself is something you can wash, spray it with a cleaning solution and wipe it down.
Get Rid of the Hair
It may feel like your hair is taking over your bathroom. Clean out your shower and sink drains and hairbrush so that your bathroom looks spotless.
Polish the Grout
Grout can get dirty—especially in the bathroom. Get yourself a bathroom cleaner and spray it all over the grout. Then, use a toothbrush (that you'll throw away after this process), and scrub the grout until it looks white again.
Replace Your Shower Curtain
If you have a light-colored shower curtain, it will show stains pretty easily. If it's become a lost cause, just replace it. Otherwise, toss it in the laundry machine or spot-treat it. Also, don't forget about the liner. If there's any mold, replace it ASAP.
Wipe Down the Hardware
Shiny surfaces—like faucets, toilet paper holders, and towel racks—get very dusty very fast. Take a spin around your bathroom and wipe them all down.
Spray the Mirror
Get rid of any streaks and stains with a powerful glass cleaner.
Check Your Linens
Sometimes your makeup or skincare products (or even toothpaste) have ingredients that leave unwanted stains on your linens. If that's the case for you, it may be time to replace them.
Examine the Bath Mat
Bath mats don't generally have a long lifespan, so if yours is faded or stained, you may want to toss it and introduce a new one to your space. In our opinion, a clever bath mat is one of the best bathroom accessories.
Most bathmats can be washed in a machine, so if you're attached to yours, there may not be a need to get rid of it just yet.
Flip Your Mattress
Flipping your mattress helps to keep the filling evenly distributed. If you don't rotate your mattress, it will eventually become lopsided and quite uncomfortable.
Change Your Sheets
We don't just mean putting a set of fresh sheets on the bed; we mean possibly replacing the old ones with new ones. After all, sheets aren't meant to last forever.
Wash Your Mattress Cover
If you have a mattress cover or pillow-topper, give it a good wash. Even though you're not sleeping directly on it, it can still get pretty dirty. Most mattress covers can be washed in the laundry machine, so pop it off and toss it in the wash.
Dust the Ceiling Fans
Like the tops of cabinets, your ceiling fan's blades can get super dusty. Climb on a ladder and dust them off. While you're at it, wipe down air conditioner units, heating vents, and picture frames too.
Clean Out Your Storage
We all have those enormous storage bins (or IKEA units) filled with things we don't need. Now is a good time to go through all of that storage and throw out all of the things you legitimately don't need.
Treat Wood Furniture
Light, heat, humidity, and insects are wood furniture's worst nightmares. The best way to protect your pieces is by treating them with a wood conditioner or oil.
Vacuum Your Mattress
This may seem like a bit much, but you'd be surprised how much dust and dander (and even dust mites) can end up in your mattress. Keep the area clean and give it a good vacuum.
Clean Under the Bed
The area under the bed is probably Marie Kondo's biggest fear. Go big and just slide everything out from under there, vacuum the area, dust off all of the items, and slide them back in an organized system.
Go Through Your Closet
Clothes definitely have sentimental value, but here's one rule to follow when it comes to keeping your closet organized: If you haven't worn it in over a year, toss it (or donate it).
Wipe Down the Bed Frame
If your bed frame is a hard material, like wood, dust it. If it's a softer material, like a fabric, attach a small nozzle to your vacuum and run it up and down the frame. On the topic of beds, throw your kids' stuffed animals in the wash so they're nice and fresh for bedtime.
Go Over the Drying Racks
Open up all of your drying racks and wipe them down with an all-purpose spray. Naturally, leave them out to dry.
Thoroughly Clean the Washer and Dryer
For the washer, do a load with white vinegar, which works wonders. As for the dryer, wash it down with warm, soapy water and dry it off with a microfiber towel. Lastly, empty the lint trap. Dust the inside of your dryer hose with an extendable duster or a vacuum attachment.
Clean the Sink
Your laundry room sink is an entirely different beast than your bathroom sink, so when you clean it, use bleach to lift even the darkest surface stains.
Tend to the Floors
If you can, scoot the machines out a few inches and vacuum the floor. You'd be shocked how much dust can pile up under heavy appliances.
Take a Look at Your Vacuum
Even though you may use it a lot, your vacuum can still get dusty or dirty. Dunk a washcloth in a bucket of soapy water and run it along your vacuum. A clean vacuum makes for a clean house.
Plant New Flowers
Nothing feels more like springtime than fresh flowers and plants. If you have outdoor space, go ahead and plant a few bushes, plants, and flowers. Not only do they look great, but they also add a pop of color.
Fix the Dents in Your Mailbox
Mailboxes aren't indestructible, people. If yours has seen better days, take a hammer and try to fix the dents from the inside or throw some money at the problem and get yourself a new mailbox.
Clear Out Your Garage
Like a closet, a garage can fill up with a bunch of stuff you don't use or need. Take an afternoon to go through your space and get rid of the unneeded things that have been sitting there for what feels like ages.
Clean the Windows and Roof
Especially if you live in a place with lots of trees, your roof can get covered in dirt and leaves. If you don't feel super comfortable climbing up there to clean it yourself, there's no shame in hiring someone to help you out. The same goes for the exterior of the windows.
Wipe Down Patio Furniture
If your patio furniture has been braving the elements all winter, it could use a good scrub down.
Retire Your Doormat
Similar to the bathmat, your doormat is the victim of high foot traffic. If it's on its last leg, toss it and treat yourself to a new one. After all, it's the first thing guests see before coming inside.