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Spring Cleaning: 25 Tasks Families Can Tackle In 25 Days

Spring Cleaning: 25 Tasks Families Can Tackle In 25 Days

By Christina Katz

Spring cleaning often feels like a huge job. After the physical work of deep-cleaning the entire house inside and out, you may not have the heart to start peeking into your home’s nooks and crannies. 

But this list of 25 jobs to tackle in 25 days can spread out frequently overlooked tasks and make them more manageable. And imagine the sense of personal satisfaction you will feel every day, as you cross these nitpicky chores off your list. As you clean, create a shopping list of items you replace annually, and then give yourself a chance to track down the best bargains. Your home can be clean and well-stocked. Whenever you are ready is the best time to kick off your 30-day deep-cleaning spree. What are you waiting for?

Junk drawer.

No one likes cleaning out the junk drawer, so go for the most troublesome job first. If you have more than one junk drawer in the house, tackle them all in one day. You’ll be amazed how much satisfaction you feel when they are all dumped out, wiped out and re-sorted.

Fire alarms.

 
Walk through the house and test each fire alarm. Replace batteries annually even if they work. Replace worn out alarms with new ones. You’ll feel better.

Safety deposit box. 

Visit your safety deposit box at least once a year. Bring new items to store, remove items you need, and check your payment contract to ensure you never lose access. You can set your bill up on auto-renew, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting a payment.

Jewelry.

Have everyone sort jewels on the same day. Spread jewelry out on a large table. Put aside anything that needs to go into your safety deposit box. Put invaluable broken jewelry with your craft supplies. Take away anything you have outgrown. If you have nice things you no longer love, consider handing them down to relatives, offering them to friends or giving them to charity. If an item has sentimental value, put it in your safety deposit box for safekeeping. Take photos of everything going in the safety deposit box, so you know what’s in there. Kids love having items stashed away in a bank box to visit once in a while.

Tax records. 

If you file accurate tax returns on time and report all of your income, you only need to hold on to your returns for three years. This has changed in the recent past, so if you are still holding on to older returns, it’s time to get rid of them. Check IRS.gov to confirm this advice, and then start shredding.

Fireproof file cabinet. 

Store your private, security-sensitive documents in a locking, fireproof file cabinet in your home. Keep the keys with your checkbooks, credit cards, and other valuables, so you can access them quickly when needed. Go through the contents of the entire cabinet each year and add and take away items to suit your priorities and sense of security.

Keys and locks. 

If you have a spot where you throw all of your extra keys and padlocks, it will be easier to update your stash. Add outdated keys and broken or keyless locks to your craft supplies. Update each car keychain in your family. Create an extra keychain with duplicate keys for backup purposes and store it with your valuables.

Office supplies. 

Restock office supplies quarterly. Check with other folks in the family before recycling office supplies, in case they can use them. Then donate or recycle what’s not necessary. Add items you need to your shopping list.

Closets.

Pull everything out that is not hanging and sort. Then pull out hanging items you no longer love or wear. Analyze your organizational system, and update it if necessary. Only put back what you love and wear. Keep a cloth hanging zipper bag with mothballs in your closet to set aside anything with sentimental value to hand down to children in the future.

Coffee and tea mugs. 

Put all of your stained mugs in the sink in a single layer. Fill the sink with water to just cover the mugs. Add one or two tablespoons of bleach to the water. Let mugs sit for 10-20 minutes, rinse thoroughly and place on a clean towel to dry. If you want your mugs to sparkle, do this quarterly.

Shower curtain liner.

Change your shower curtain liner annually or it will get mildewed and bring down the cleanliness factor of your whole bathroom. To decrease new plastic emissions, open the bathroom window for the first day or turn on the bathroom fan overnight.

Kitchen cabinets. 

Start on one side of the kitchen and work your way around from cabinet to cabinet, one shelf at a time. Remove items, check expiration dates, and wipe off each shelf. Toss expired items, donate items you won’t use, and add needed items to your shopping list.

Bathroom and medicine cabinets.

Follow the same advice for kitchen cabinets, paying closer attention to things you no longer use that could be tossed or donated. Put aside any expired or unused pills for community disposal days, rather than flushing or throwing away vitamins or medications.

Laundry cabinets.

You will likely find a pile of buttons, safety pins, coins, and collar stays in your laundry cabinet. Get everything put away and place a clear jar for future pocket finds. Wipe up any solvent spills and put down a tray or liner for future spills. Restock any infrequently used products that are getting low.

Books. 

Get the whole family involved in an annual book purge. Keep books you love, donate or resell books you didn’t enjoy, and store sentimental books in bins you re-sort once a year. Try not to save more than the contents of one storage bin per family member.

Pet items.

Your pet supplies need to be checked and updated twice a year. Check pet medicines, treatments, and treats to make sure they have not expired. Clean or launder pet bedding and furniture. Use flea treatments, if needed. Replace any items pets need to maintain good health and hygiene.

Refrigerators and freezers.

Move freezer items so you can defrost freezers. Then empty, purge and wipe down inside of both refrigerators and freezers. Toss and replace any expired condiments you use frequently. Restock both appliances and adjust thermostats for maximum effectiveness.

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Oven and range hood. 

Spray your oven with oven cleaner the night before. Open windows the next morning and turn on range fan. Wear rubber gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling fumes. Take frequent fresh air breaks until oven is wiped spic and span. Spray down and wipe your range hood inside and out. Repeat these steps in the fall before the holidays.

Toys. 

With the help of the whole family, dump out every container of toys and sort them one at a time. Put aside any toys that are no longer age-appropriate and loved. A bin of old toys with sentimental value can be put aside for each child for future nostalgia. Revisit and update each bin each year, as you add new toys.

Cleaning supplies and appliances.

Take apart appliances like vacuums and remove extraneous hair, dust, and grit. Use scissors to loosen hair from the rug beater to improve performance. When you are done, go over each unplugged appliance with a wet disinfecting cloth and then let dry thoroughly. Remove scuffmarks on appliances with rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad. Assess cleaning supplies and put items to restock on list.

Pantry and bulk storage.  

If you have a specific place where you keep pantry and bulk supplies, go through items, and move those that will expire soonest to front of shelves. Wipe each shelf. Toss expired items. Add needed items to shopping list.

Memorabilia. 

We sort our family memorabilia into bins by year. This helps us get our hands on something quickly whenever we want it. I have a special leather binder for my daughter’s report cards and awards. She keeps ribbons, trophies, and the like in her bedroom. Some day we will pack everything away in a bin alongside her favorite toys and books. Until then, everything is within reach.

Digital concerns. 

The best way to maintain digital items is to have a good backup and cloud system in place. If you automatically back up your computer in multiple ways, you can relax knowing your memories and important documents are safe and sound. If you have a bunch of photos and videos you don’t want to save for posterity, set aside a day to comb through them and delete everything unwanted. When you remove images from your computer and phone, you will likely also remove them from your cloud, so be alert. Consult a professional if you need help preserving digital materials.

Craft supplies.  

I use sorting bins for my craft supplies. When I can’t let go of something small and don’t know where to put it, I add it to my craft supplies. This has led to some creative breakthroughs over the years. I only throw away or recycle craft supplies I know I will never use. However, more often than not, as I add new things to my craft supply collection, I stumble upon fresh creative ideas.

Car.  

Get into your glove box and sort out everything you no longer need. Then add things you wish you had in the car to your shopping list. Dig into every pocket and flip seats up so you can see what’s fallen in the cracks. Be sure to check the way back and all the compartments you find there and under the floors. Restock emergency supplies and equipment so you’ll be ready for anything.

Hire Out Window Washing. 

Hire professionals to wash your windows annually or pay teenagers to do it. Window washing is an arduous job, and unless you enjoy it, you are better off leaving it to those with special tools and elbow grease to spare.

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