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Spring: When Hearts Turn to Love and Elbows to Cleaning

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By Bill Primavera

Do you like the word association game? When you think of the word “spring,” does it rapidly associate with “house cleaning?”

I must confess, for me, I had no such association. Spring was a time to clean up the yard and to create my planting plan for the flower and vegetable garden.

However, for most people, the winter blues are shaken away with a good and deep annual house cleaning. It can be quite a formidable task without the right plan, but it can be more manageable, even enjoyable (for some), with a checklist.

This list, compiled with the help of Mrs. Home Guru, offers an overview of what to do to navigate the process.

Clean the Clutter

The essential part of spring cleaning is getting rid of any clutter, things you don’t need. There is no better time to take advantage of the natural spring urge to get rid of items that are weighing you down, whether you realize it or not, and start fresh with a more streamlined lifestyle.

Divide and Conquer

Sort belongings into four categories – trash, items to give away, store for the long term or put away for the season.

Whether you prefer to proceed from the attic to the basement or start outdoors and wind your way inside, create a realistic schedule and focus on one task at a time, keeping in mind that a single weekend won’t suffice. You’ll need several days for more involved projects, such as shampooing carpets and organizing closets.

The ensuing tips outline basic techniques that will help you clean almost every surface (or object) in any room, leaving your home refreshed from top to bottom.

Clean Room By Room

Approaching your house room by room is the most effective way to deep-clean your home at any time of the year, but especially in spring. Use room checklists as a springboard for cleaning the areas of your home that really need extra attention. You can skip items that have recently been cleaned and focus on the parts of your home that have been neglected all winter long.

Dust, Dust, Dust

Use a vacuum to remove dust. (Feather dusters just scatter it.) Tackle stubborn surface grime, especially prevalent in kitchens, with a solvent-free degreaser. Test it first in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t mar the surface.

Take everything off the shelves, and here, you can hit them (along with the books) with a feather duster.

Vacuum and Shampoo Rugs

Synthetic carpets and rugs with waterproof backings can be deep-cleaned with a rotary shampoo machine and a hot-water extraction machine. Rugs without backings, including Orientals, require professional cleaning.

Clean Upholstered Furnishings

Take cushions outside and gently beat them by hand to remove dust. If there are stains, check the pieces for care labels. Use a vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean under seat cushions.

Wax Wooden Furniture

Wipe surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with water and mild dishwashing liquid. Apply paste wax, such as Butcher’s wax, a few feet at a time with a cotton rag folded into a square pad. Let the wax dry; buff with a clean cloth.

Wash Window Screens

Spring is a good time to get a clearer view of the great outdoors. Do this by washing window screens by using warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid.  Scrub the screens with a brush and then rinse thoroughly with a hose.

Wax Non-Wood Floors

Vinyl and linoleum floors that have lost their shine should be waxed with a polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be treated with either a paste or a liquid wax designed for the material.

Establish New Habits

A good, thorough spring cleaning that includes the entire house is a great time to establish new ongoing cleaning habits, and it can also make the next spring cleaning a good deal easier. Simple 15-minute cleanup routines practiced every few days, each including a series of one- to two-minute chores, can make it remarkably easy to keep your home clean and tidy all year long.

Bill Primavera is a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest-running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com}. To engage the services of Bill Primavera, The Home Guru, to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

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