You know who you are: The prospect of housework appeals to you about as much as a colonic, and the last time your home saw a good deep-cleaning someone else owned it. But there are pluses to a seasonal spruce up—and a few secrets to making it painless for those of you who are more mess-maker than homemaker.
With a few multi-purpose cleaning sprays, a roll of paper towels and a bit of elbow grease, you can do serious spring-cleaning damage. Focus on large appliances, as they tend to be the most neglected spots. The key to easy cleaning is making sure you’ve got one hefty-duty product that will work on built-up gunk and another for multiple kinds of gunk.
Bonus points if one disinfects as well, as you can use it on trash can rims, countertops, the fridge door and handles, etc. For baked-on messes in the microwave, wipes that heat up in the microwave make cleaning a snap. Just heat, wipe down, and you’ve got a clean microwave in the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn.
Bathrooms can be intimidating even for neat freaks, but it doesn’t have to be a colossal cleanup. Tackle one fixture at a time: Tub. Sink. Toilet. A leave-on, wipe-off cleaning product (like Ajax) will do the heavy lifting for you, and a cleaner that works on mildew after every shower means all you have to do is spray it down before hopping out.
You can manage that, right?
Getting organized essentially boils down to tossing stuff into the trash, and who can’t handle that? Make three piles: “Save,” “Trash,” “Donate” and be ruthless when it comes to deciding what goes out the door. Designate one junk drawer (yes, only one) where miscellaneous items can go. And before you know it, you’ve organized yourself out of a lot more mess.
- Shelves and Ledges
High ledges and molding need cleaning every now and then since they’re usually blanketed in a couple inches of undisturbed dust and topped off with scary-big cobwebs. (Which is only acceptable if your home operates as a haunted house year-round.) The beauty of it is (and this is great news for the housework-challenged ) that anything you do is going to make it better than it was. So take a few swipes with a damp rag and call it a day. Done.
Don’t clean floors room by room—it’s way too easy to get overwhelmed. Instead break them down by surface and tackle accordingly. Break out the vacuum (and all those otherwise useless attachments) and give each carpeted room three or four minutes of concentrated effort on those areas that never get attention: Behind the TV and couch and along wall edges. Do the same with sweeping, focusing on the targeted areas, and before you’ll know it, your floors will be spotless—or at least a lot better. If you’re feeling ultra-ambitious, apply the same principle to mopping. You can find a number of options that make an easy job out it, ranging from self-wringing mops to Swiffer wet wipes.
Now take your strategies for slob-friendly spring cleaning and get going. We promise it won’t hurt.