It feels almost like a biological imperative. The sun takes a little longer in its descent below the horizon and the chill of winter begins to leave the bones. Without much thought on your part, the couch is moved from its place, so you can sweep beneath it and the drapes are suddenly in the washing machine. Disinfectant sprays suddenly attract a new level of interest and you decide your sponges must all be replaced. You’ve awakened from the long winter quasi-hibernation that kept you glued to the television. Now it’s time to thoroughly rid your home of the dirt and dust and dog hair that have accumulated over the long, dark season. You’ve been gripped by the urge to spring clean.
Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less
• Remove winter layers. Swap out heavy winter bedding for lighter-weight quilts and coverlets. Also consider changing deep-pile rugs for flat-weave or natural-fiber versions for the warmer months.
• Clean slipcovers and soft furnishings. Smaller slipcovers and washable rugs can be laundered at home; drop off larger pieces with professionals.
• Dust high corners and baseboards. Using a vacuum attachment or the duster of your choice, remove dust and cobwebs from those high and low spots we often
• Make mirrors and table lamps shine. Use a duster or soft rags to remove dust from table lamps and wipe down mirrors with a damp microfiber cloth. These freshened-up surfaces will enhance the light throughout your space.
• Spring-clean the kitchen. Give your kitchen a fresh start by cleaning some of the areas we often skip during quick daily tidying: Clean small appliances; wipe grease and grime from the range hood, backsplash and light fixtures; clean grout; and vacuum hard-to-reach places (like under the stove) using an attachment.
• Simplify the table. Cupboards feeling overstuffed? Simplify your life by paring back on dishes and glassware, letting go of mismatched and chipped pieces and sets you no longer love or use often.
• Refresh the entryway. As the weather thaws, begin putting away mittens and wool hats and make room for those mucky spring boots. Clean or replace the doormat, clear off the hooks (or hangers, if you have a coat closet). A clean boot tray lined with river stones will help water drain away from your footwear.
• Clean up patio furniture. Outdoor furniture can get grimy over the winter, so be sure to give everything a good scrubbing before you start using it for the season. Launder washable outdoor cushion covers and replace worn-out pieces if needed.
• Make a garden plan. There’s still time to get your garden growing! Sketch out a plan and jot down ideas for this year’s plantings, as well as any ideas you have for changes to the hardscape, such as putting in a new path or fence. Start some seeds indoors or pick up seedlings at your local nursery.
• Tune up lawn and garden tools. Sharp tools get the job done. Take your lawn mower and clippers in for a sharpening and tune up before you begin work in your garden.
• Treat yourself to spring blooms. Spring flowers such as daffodils are plentiful and inexpensive this month, so keep an eye out for bargains. And if you have blooms popping up in the garden, why not snip a few to enjoy indoors?
• Plant a tree. Spring and fall are the best times to plant trees because wet weather and cooler temperatures make it easier for root systems to get established. Be sure to check with a nursery to determine which species will do best in your microclimate and to get detailed planting instructions. If your area has a late date of last frost, you may need to wait until all threat has passed before planting.
• Inspect your home’s exterior for winter damage and make repairs as needed. Once winter storms have passed, carefully inspect the exterior of your home. If you had an ice dam on your roof during the winter, now is the time to repair any damage it caused. Ice dams form when the edges of a home’s roof are colder than the upper regions (where more insulation sits below the roof), causing ice to form around the eaves. The best way to prevent them is by upgrading insulation and ventilation in the attic.