This post was originally published in Spring of 2018. With many people now home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to share this again both as a way to help disinfect your home and as a way to pass the time. Feel free to follow it as the original 12 week challenge, or do it in 12 days. Or if you feel extra ambitious, do it in a weekend! But whatever way you choose to tackle the challenge, if you ever get stuck along the way, leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to help out! Happy cleaning! – KM.
Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to throw open those windows, clear the cobwebs, and get your home ready for endless summer parties.
But let’s be honest, spring cleaning is lame, exhausting, and honestly, no one ever really does it. Instead of packing all that cleaning into one weekend, I’ve come up with an organizing guide that lets you spread it out over the next few weeks. By tackling one area at a time, you’ll get it done and it won’t feel so overwhelming.
Once you’ve finished the challenge, summer will be here. (Yes, summer is just 13 weeks away!)
Week 1: Put Away Those Bulky Coats! Kick things off with storing away all that heavy winter gear! Good riddance to the snow boots, sleds, bulky winter coats, and knit hats. Pack it all away until next year. This one step, which shouldn’t take much time at all, will make a huge impact on your entryway or mudroom. Doesn’t it look cleaner already?
Week 2: Clear the Closets! Last week you cleared out your bulky outdoor winter gear. Now it’s time to do the same for your clothes closets and dressers. Rotate your clothes so that warmer weather items are within reach and winter sweaters are at the back or, better yet, packed them away with your heavy coats!
Week 3: Dust Those Cobwebs! Clean your heating/ac vents. Clean the corners of the room near the ceiling. Dust the tops of doorjambs, window frames, and baseboards. Wipe down the blades on your ceiling fans. Really get into the nooks and crannies to clear away the winter dust buildup that happens during the months when windows are closed and no fresh air is flowing through the house. Don’t forget to clean light switches, the thermostat, and TV remotes – these are things we touch daily yet they often get overlooked when it comes to regular cleanings.
Week 4: Let There be Light! This one is going to sound a little strange, but bear with me! Dust all of your lamp shades AND light bulbs. Dust can build up anywhere, but seems especially worse on light bulbs where it can get caked on from the heat of the light. Now that we have light bulbs that last for 10 years (literally), not changing them out regularly can cause a serious dirt build up. Instantly brighten up your rooms by giving the light bulbs and lamp shades a good cleaning.
Week 5: Seal Your Stone! If you have stone counter tops and backsplashes in your kitchen and/or bathroom, it should be sealed at least once a year (more often if it’s a white marble). Yes, even granite should be sealed. Stone is porous and can be damaged by water. Sealing it brings back the luster and protects it from possible staining. Grout should also be cleaned and sealed to keep it from looking dingy.
Week 6: Vacuum the Furniture! My Portuguese grandmother vacuumed her furniture religiously, so it was a surprise to me when I learned most people don’t do this! You can get a deep clean on your upholstered furniture by vacuuming it (with the attachments of course!) If your cushions have removable covers, throw those into the washer. If not, give the cushions a healthy spray down with some Febreze after vacuuming to get that freshly washed scent.
Week 7: Tackle the pantry! Ever notice how our eating patterns change with the seasons? Winter is all about comfort foods, soup, and tea. Summer is all about fresh fruits and veggies from the garden and iced tea. Now is the time to prep your pantry for summer parties by reorganizing it and getting rid of expired items. (If you keep a deep freezer, clean that out too).
Week 8: Prep the Yard! Memorial Day will be here before you know it. This unofficial start of summer is one of the biggest cookout days of the year, so use this time to get your yard prepped. Clear the weeds, put out the patio furniture, and fill the propane tank on your grill. The key to decorating a patio is to treat it just like a room in your home, so make sure there is plenty of lighting, comfy throw pillows on the seats, and a bright area rug to define the space.
Week 9: Wash the Walls! What? Wash the walls? Yup! Grab that Magic Eraser or a slightly damp sponge and give the walls a scrub down. It’s crazy the way smudges can just appear on your walls and you don’t even realize they are there (especially if you have little ones running around!) For wallpaper, wipe down with a dry dusting rag – avoid getting the wallpaper wet as this could cause it to bubble and peel.
Week 10: Scrub the Floors! Really give your floors a good scrubbing. Over the winter, we track in a LOT of outdoor ick – salt, snow, mud. Don’t forget to seal stone tile and grout – which, like your stone counters, should be done once a year.
Week 11: Change Your Look! Summer is a great time to change the look of your home. Give your winter area rugs a good cleaning before packing them away for next year and bring out the brightly colored woven rugs. The same goes for curtains, bedding, and throw pillows. These are all easy ways to give your home a fresh and clean look just in time for summer.
Week 12: Make Your Windows Sparkle! This is it. You’ve made it through the last 11 weeks and summer is *next* week! The final step is to get those windows clean! If you have the fold-in style, be sure to wash inside and out to let as much light in as possible and keep your home bright and cheery all summer long!
Week 13: Enjoy Your Clean Home! Congrats! You’re done! You survived the last 12 weeks of spring cleaning, and now your home is summer party ready. That wasn’t so bad, was it? ( I mean, it was, but not nearly as bad as tackling ALL of that in just one weekend!)
Be sure to click here for a printable checklist so you can easily follow along as you complete the spring cleaning challenge!