Spring is just around the corner and that means it’s time to down-size, start clearing out the clutter and get your house in tip-top shape and ready to sell (see what we did there?) So, where do you begin? How do you know what’s worth keeping and what to donate or toss out?
To start, take it step-by-step. Getting your home ready and accomplishing a deep clean is time consuming and can be a bit stressful. Start with making a schedule and going through one room or area at a time.
Entryway & Outdoor Furniture
Let’s start with the entryway, both inside and out. You can trap more dirt by using two doormats, one outside of the door and one inside. To freshen the material, hose off and air-dry mats. Vacuum indoor ones on both sides. Vacuuming the back of the mat will push trapped dirt out onto the floor where it will be easier to pick up. Once the mats are done, grab a bucket of warm soapy water and a clean sponge or microfiber cloth. Start wiping down the front door, railings, porch pillars and more. A quick once over with a hose to rinse will leave your front entry looking spick and span. Get excited because with warmer weather on the horizon, it’s time to get your outdoor furniture ready for lounging! To do this, add a squirt of dish detergent to a bowl of warm water, then wipe down tables and chairs. Finish it all off with a spray of water from the garden hose to remove soap and excess dirt.
Moving into the interior of the house, knock out all of the windows at one time. Take the morning and do the outside, break for a bit, then take care of the inside in the afternoon. Keep that vacuum handy to clear out all of the window tracks and any dirt around the sills. After each inside window, lower the blinds or shades and dust or vacuum them, too.
Areas like the kitchen can take an entire day depending on how much stuff you have. Since a self cleaning oven can take a few hours, crack some windows and get this started before anything. Be sure your counters are clear and dishes are done, then move onto the microwave. If there is build up, grease or staining inside, a simple fix is to place a large microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and a chopped-up lemon, lime, or orange or several tablespoons of vinegar inside. Turn the microwave on high until the solution boils and the window is steamy, then let it sit to cool for 15 minutes before opening the door. Remove and wipe out the inside and outside with a sponge. During the microwave cleaning, grab a large box for any dishes and pans you don’t use very often. You don’t necessarily have to discard or donate them but removing them from the primary living space into storage will make a huge difference and clear space in your cabinets. Moving into the countertops: dig out the granite polish to restore shine and help repel stains on your kitchen surfaces. Using a mild formula will cut grease and remove surface stains without the damaging effects of vinegar or ammonia – and they won’t leave behind a dull film like ordinary dish soap. Once you’re feeling satisfied with the initial look of the kitchen, move the trash bin over and tackle the refrigerator. You probably wipe down your fridge’s interior on a regular basis already but now is the time to tackle the rest. Clear off and pop out the door shelves and bins, and wash in warm, soapy water to get rid of food bacteria and spillage. Discard any expired or rarely used food and condiments then wipe down the entire inside from top to bottom (and side to side). Ready for the freezer? Same process. There’s no need to fully defrost just to clean. And now for the cabinets… Sticky kitchen grime is a mix of dust and grease that builds up over time. To de-gunk, use a kitchen cabinet cream because it cuts through dirt and leaves wood moisturized. Do an extra pass around the doors, drawer pulls and other places where grease collects. It’s recommended to clear out cabinets, drawers and pantries, too for a quick wipe-down and refresh. Use this as an opportunity to clear out and organize that every-famous junk drawer, too!
You probably clean your bathroom on a regular basis so use this time to get down in the nitty gritty. Focusing first on your shower drain, you can freshen (not unclog them) and help keep them free-flowing by mixing 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup table salt. Pour the mixture down the drain, followed by 1 cup of heated vinegar. It will foam and bubble. Let it stand for 15 minutes and end with running hot tap water for at least 15 to 30 seconds. This is especially good for rarely used drains, like in a guest bathroom. Moving on – wash your plastic or vinyl curtain in your washing machine. Do it on the gentle cycle with detergent and add a couple of bath towels for extra cleaning power. Then, hang it to dry. To keep the curtain cleaner longer, spritz it a few times each month with a bleach-containing all-purpose cleaner. Then just let the shower rinse it off (before you hop in, of course). Take a quick 15 minutes to clean the grout between tiles then grab a trash bag and clear out cabinets, drawers and shelving. Go through your towels and washrags to discard any that are stained or torn.
General Living Areas, Baseboards, Ceilings and Curtains
Move all furniture away from the walls for a good vacuuming along baseboards and around vents. Grab a quick dust rag (like one of those old, torn towels from your bathroom clean up) and wipe down vents and any extra dust or build up. Move furniture back and then life cushions to vacuum the inside of the furniture. If you’re feeling really motivated, take upholstery covers off and throw them into a delicate cycle or have them dry cleaned. Wipe all baseboards around the house, dust ceiling fans and wipe down light fixtures. Be sure to tend to your curtains, too. A quick vacuum while hung should suffice but for a fresher smell, we recommend a wash or dry clean for them as well.
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to pay attention to the mattresses in your house. In each corner and along side the top, press firmly with your vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean. After cleaning, rinse with a damp cloth, allow to dry, and sanitize with a disinfectant spray like Febreze. Steam from a garment steamer or iron will also kill dust mites near the surface. If you do this, be sure to vacuum afterwards.
Cleaning out closets can take a lot of time and present a lot of questions. Use this time to really go through the clothing, coats and shoes you and your family have. Using boxes, bins or trash bags, separate into piles for donation, storage or discard. Chances are, you don’t need that pair of boots you haven’t worn for the last two winters.
It’s time to sweep and mop alongside, under and behind appliances like your washer, dryer, water heater, furnace, etc. Afterwards, disinfect your washer and run a self-clean cycle. Before you consider yourself done, make it a point to clear out all dryer vents as well. Pull out hard-to-reach lint with the crevice tool on your vacuum to suck up debris. If you haven’t already, vacuum under, around, and behind the dryer as well.
Your Brooms, Mops and Vacuum
Well, why not? You’ve just used them to clean your entire house! For your brooms, clear any lingering dust bunnies stuck on the bristles by swishing the broom head around in warm, soapy water. Disinfect and clean your mops, too. Using hot and soapy water, wash until water runs clear then hang dry. For your vacuum, if applicable, replace the bag, clean the dust cup, and replace or wash the filters. Snip threads snarled in the brush with scissors or a seam ripper and pull out any hairs or carpet fibers.
That’s a wrap! Now you’re ready to show your home to anyone and everyone! Think you’re interested in putting it on the market to see what kind of buyers may be interested? Let’s chat! We’d love to come out and perform a free Predictive Market Analysis and share how we guarantee your highest sale price!