Don’t know where to begin with spring cleaning? You’re not alone. Most people never begin to spring clean their home because they truly don’t know where to start. But spring cleaning is actually pretty simple. The process of decluttering and then cleaning each space in your home is easy. Each task is quick. The tough part? Knowing where to begin.
That’s where this 30-day checklist comes in. This spring cleaning plan outlines a set of tasks to help you declutter and clean every nook and cranny in your home.
This checklist will keep you moving around your home from room-to-room. This goes against traditional advice to work on one room until it’s done and move on. But with a big project like spring cleaning your entire home, the impulse to give up when you get overwhelmed, bored, or complacent is too strong. Tackling a few quick projects each day ensures you will stay motivated. And you can check each task off once you've completed it.
And by the way, most of these projects work in any other season too. So you can follow this plan each season or as many times a year as you need.
What You Need
Before you get started, it’s important to be prepared with some boxes. Here’s what you need:
- Box 1: Donate/Consign. Anything you want to donate or consign goes into these boxes. If the items will not fit in a box (say, a couch) then keep a running list.
- Box 2: Repair. While you’re decluttering and cleaning, you will come across items that need to be mended, fixed and repaired. Place those items in this box until you’re ready to work on getting them fixed. Don’t let repairs sidetrack you until you’re done cleaning.
- Box 3: Put Away Box. Say you’re cleaning out a drawer in your kitchen and you find a pair of earrings in it. “What....how did those get in there?” you say. Do not stop decluttering that drawer to go put your earrings away. Resist the urge! Continue working on the drawer and put the earrings in your Put Away Box. Once you’re done with the drawer, take that box and return everything in it to it’s rightful storage place.
Also recommended: either a hardcopy notebook or a file on your computer to keep a running list of big projects that you want to get to eventually. They could be things like finally organizing your basement or attic or storing all of your old photos. As you work around your house these projects will pop up. Don’t let them distract you from the task at hand. Keep a list and once spring cleaning is over, make a plan to tackle them.
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Day 1: Dust
- Take a broom to the corners of the ceiling to catch any cobwebs in your kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathrooms. Then dust, then sweep or vacuum the floors.
- Launder the drapes in your living room, dining room and bedrooms. They may have been collecting dust for years. If you can’t wash them on site, bring them to the dry cleaners.
- Dust your books, and the knick-knacks on your bookshelves.
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Day 2: Put Away Seasonal Items
- If the weather has changed, switch out your clothing for the season.
- Clean every mirror in your home including bathrooms, bedrooms and entryways.
- Sort out your under-bed storage boxes. Is there anything in them to donate? If so, add them to your donation box.
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Day 3: Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet
- Declutter your linen closet. Pull out the old towels and sheet sets you no longer use and put them into your donation box.
- Throw away expired cosmetics and medicines. Toss any liquid makeup over three months old and any powdered makeup over a year old. Note: Toss medicine into the trash. Do not flush it or dump it into your sink.
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Day 4: Clean Out Your Shoes
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- Sort through all your shoes, and if any need repairing, get them ready to take to the cobbler.
- Organize your emergency supplies–make sure you’re stocked with first aid necessities in the bathroom, and safety pins, stain remover and the like in your laundry room.
- Switch scented candles, hand soaps, etc. from winter scents to fresh spring ones.
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Day 5: Clean Appliances
- Clean your appliances, including their plugs, tops, bottoms, sides and any accessories that came with them.
- Remove odd socks from your sock drawer, and either toss them or use them as cleaning rags.
- Go through a bureau or dresser (yours, your child’s) and pull out items of clothing you haven’t worn in a year and have no plans to wear again. Put them in your donation box.
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Day 6: Clean Your Car
- Clean your car. The easiest way to do this is to bring it to a car wash. Use their ShopVac or other high powered vacuum to vacuum inside of the car. Declutter while you go. Don't neglect the floor mats. Then wipe down the interior with Formula 409 and a rag. Finally, let them hand wash or machine wash the outside of your car. Depending on your time and budget, you could also just pay the service to detail the interior and exterior of your car for you.
- if you don't have a car, clean your coffee table, kitchen sink and bathroom sink.
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Day 7: Deep Clean Your Fridge and Cabinets
- Deep clean your fridge and freezer by removing all shelves, racks and storage items and washing them in your bathtub. Toss any old or unused food items. Soak your icecube trays. Wipe down the sides of the fridge and freezer. Then put everything back in. If you’re afraid of food spoiling, use a cooler ot keep your frozen items frozen while you work.
- Check the backs of kitchen cabinets for any old food that can be thrown out.
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Day 8: Toss Clutter in the Bathroom
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- Toss small throw rugs and bathroom mats in the wash.
- Clean and declutter your bathroom shelves and drawers. You need to take everything out to do this. Then declutter, clean and put everything back.
- Toss grubby pet toys. (Your pet won’t miss them.)
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Day 9: Clean Winter Clothing
- Wash your couch covers, pillowcases and other linens used around the house.
- Wash your winter gloves, hats, and scarves, and pack them up for next year.
- Shred unimportant but sensitive documents, and/or scan important papers and shred the originals if they don’t need to be saved.
- Take your winter coats to the dry cleaner.
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Day 10: Clean Your Electronics
- Clean your remote controls.
- Clean your phones, both mobile and landlines, Kindles, tablets and computers.
- Clean the undersides of every chair and table in your home, then vacuum and mop the floors around them.
- Polish silver jewelry, silverware and any other items that have become tarnished.
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Day 11: Clean Out Junk
- Wash your garbage cans and recycling bins. Either do this outside or in your bathroom. Then scrub your bathtub.
- Wash reusable water bottles and water filtering pitchers. Then change the filters.
- Organize your junk drawer—no, it shouldn’t really be full of junk.
- Tend to your plants—remove dead leaves, toss old flowers in vases, etc.
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Day 12: Clean Your Oven
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- Clean your oven including cook top, underside of hood and front of hood. At the same time, clean your microwave and your toaster oven.
- Wash your ironing board cover and throw in your tea towels and kitchen towels.
- Wash your gardening gloves, and rinse and wipe off the shoes you wear to do yard work.
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Day 13: Clean Your Windows
- Wash your windows (or hire a professional to do them). Remove the screens and vacuum them using the handheld attachment on your vacuum cleaner, then soak them in soapy water before rinsing.
- Use dish soap diluted in water and a microfiber cloth to wipe down your windows. Then spray vinegar diluted in water and wipe the windows with a clean towel to dry them.
- Dust your windowsills and the frame and touch up any chipped paint around the sill.
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Day 14: Toss Old Papers, Magazines, & Newspapers
- Recycle old magazines, newspapers and packing material. If you haven’t read a magazine after a month, you are not going to read it. If you haven’t read a newspaper after a week, recycle it!
- Clean out the cabinets under your sinks (kitchen and bathroom). Take everything out, clean the backs, sides and bottom of the cabinet. Dispose of any unused cleaning products, and place everything back under the sink.
- Organize old paper or plastic shopping bags that are lying around in one location so you can reuse them.
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Day 15: Declutter Your Basement
- Wash your makeup brushes and hair brushes.
- Clean the floors of your closets. Declutter shoes and boots, toss any unused storage solutions.
- Declutter your basement shelves or storage areas. Resist the urge to decide to "organize the whole basement." You don't have enough time to do that and spring clean the rest of your home. Just stick to cleaning out the shelves and storage areas by tossing items you don't use or need.
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Day 16: Clean Out Your Plumbing
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- Clean every drain in your home (bathroom and kitchen) using this method: Pour boiling hot water down your drain, add in baking soda, followed by vinegar. Then cover the drain with a plug. Follow with another pour of boiling water.
- Throw out expired or questionable food in your pantry, cabinets and drawers. Do NOT try to donate expired food.
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Day 20: Clean Out Coin Jars
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- Go through your drawers and toss broken items like dead pens – and other useless items you can throw out right now. Throw out aging nail files, matches and other small items that no longer function well.
- Take that stash of coins to a coin machine or the bank.
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Day 23: Repair Broken or Damaged Clothing
- Take any clothing items that need to be repaired to the tailor. If you don’t know where to go for a good tailor, ask your dry cleaner. They will either know a good tailor or have one on staff.
- Take any shoes or boots that need repair work done to your local cobbler.
- Replace your old shower curtain liner with a new one.
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Day 24: Organize Hobby and Craft Supplies
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- Organize your hobby supplies. This can include crafting supplies, board games, books or sporting equipment.
- Sweep your porch, patio or front steps.
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Day 25: Get the Kids Involved in the Cleaning
- If you have young children, teach them how to clean something in their room, and make that their chore from now on.
- Go through your books (including kids’ books). Are there any you want to donate to the library?
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Day 27: Wash the Walls
- Wash any interior walls that look stained, then touch up chipped or discolored paint. Make a list of anything you can’t do yourself and will need to call in a professional for.
- Tackle that one spot (e.g. bedroom chair, hall closet, bottom drawer) where you throw all the stuff you don’t want to deal with. You have three choices with items left here: store them, recycle them, repair them or toss them.
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Day 28: Wash Your Linens
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- Wash your bed linens, including any mattress covers, duvet covers, pillow liners, throw blankets and throw pillows.
- If you have a guest room and the bed hasn’t been used in a while, strip the bed down to the mattress and wash everything including mattress pad and duvet cover.
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Day 29: Sell or Donate Unwanted Items
- Did you keep a list of things to sell and consign? Now is the day to either take your items to the consignment store or photograph your items to sell them on eBay, Craigslist or any of the places you can sell clothing online.
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