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Spring Cleaning 101

When faced with a big job like spring cleaning, start at the top and work your way down. Most of the rain may be behind us, but for the next couple of months we will still be focusing on the interior of the house and leave exteriors for normally dry June when the effects will be more lasting.

First, do a walk through and handle any big-stroke decluttering. Bag it up for donation (books you don’t want, junk that has accumulated) or recycling (stacks of magazines) and move it out.

Strip the beds and give everything a good shake and turn over. Wash mattress pads and comforter covers. It may still be awhile before you go to lighter bedding, but you may be ready for a change—even a change of color to feel fresh after winter.

De-cobweb and dust everything. Let the dust fall down and run a rag over the doorframes and tops of artwork. Get into door tracks and corners of the windows.

Give your indoor plants a look over. Do they need turning, pruning, repotting, leaf polishing? It’s amazing how updated a room can look by just rejuvenating the plants.

Give the horizontal surfaces some love. Clear the tables and counters and use the appropriate cleaners and conditioners to polish them to a high shine. Dust your book shelves. Every few years you have got to take all the books down and really get in there with the dusting. Being a bibliophile, it’s a chore I dread, but it feels great when it’s over.

Do you know what spider poop looks like? I thought I was the only OCD nerd who hated the little white dots that accumulate on the floor under furniture where spiders hide out. Then I talked to a client who complained that she had trouble keeping up with the spider poop.

Put on your reading glasses and get down on the floor and scrub away with a little warm water and a rag. Turn over furniture once in a while to eradicate the webs and critters. Ah, country life.

Go through the cupboards and empty them, wipe down the shelves and put everything back. Pull out the washing machine and dryer and make sure to handle all the muck that never fails to collect behind them. Clean out the dryer lint from the tubes, it will probably decrease drying time.

Empty the refrigerator and wipe down all the shelves. Remove the drawers and clean them. Dump any food that looks suspicious or forgotten. Check the freezer and note anything that needs to be thawed and consumed.

Another plague of country life is hard water if you are on a well. It’s a struggle to keep shower glass and bathroom fixtures deposit-free. I resort to Lime-Away, but it smells so lethal. I try to get off soap scum with a razor blade. I’m thinking of crying “uncle” and calling in an expert. If you have a trick for this, e-mail me!

One more thing I like to do at least twice a year is take down light fixtures and get the dead bugs out. I hate seeing their lifeless little shadows behind the frosted glass every time I turn a light on. This requires unscrewing globes and glass parts and almost always necessitates a step ladder or something taller, so get help if you need it.

Now you can continue with the normal sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, bathroom cleaning and bed making or take a break and do that another day. Put out some fresh flowers. Enjoy your clean home!