Doing a deep cleaning on your house can be a do-it-yourself project, but it helps to have a checklist and a plan to get everything done. Here is a list of items to get your cleaning started.
Clear the Paper Trail
In at least one area of your home there likely is a stack of old mail, holiday cards or children’s artwork that is collecting in a pile that grows a little every week.
Go through each stack with a trash can next to you and sort the items that need to be filed away in a safe place, and chunk the rest.
For children’s artwork, use the “frame worthy” test when sorting by looking at the piece of art and deciding if it’s worth framing and hanging somewhere in your home – maybe an office, garage, closet or their rooms – then bask in the art work that isn’t and throw in the trash.
Plants, Decorations and Crystal
Everywhere you have an artificial plant or decorative item, dust bunnies may have hidden in or under them. Wash artificial plants in a bathtub filled with an inch or two of water, and be sure to wipe beneath and behind all other decorative items.
For china cabinets, fill a spray bottle of white vinegar and carefully clean china and crystal, so it sparkles again.
Inevitably, the walls of your home collect grime from fingerprints as people enter and exit a room or plashes of miscellaneous liquids during the year.
Walls can be washed with a rag soaked in soap and water, so go around the house with a wet rag and wash walls in potentially impacted areas that may include doorways, bathroom walls around the toilet, doors, walls around pet feeding areas and cabinets in the kitchen under the sink or over.
Baseboards and Floors
While there are wonderful mops and baseboard cleaning gadgets, you’ll want to get on your hands and knees for the deep clean.
Wear gloves and take a bucket full of your water and cleaning solution with a few rags and hand clean all the corners of the floors and the edges of the baseboards. You’ll be surprised how much grime can collect in between the baseboards and the hard floors – especially in the corners.
For carpeted areas, use the attachment with the slender nozzle to get the corners, and you may even want to rub your finger in the edges of the carpet to kick up any additional items that are stuck in between the carpet and baseboard.
Get Behind the Scenes
Move major appliances and furniture to get behind the scenes. Warning: this will be very gross – especially if you move the stove and washer and dryer.
Once you see how much dirt and grease have built up behind the more static items of your home, you will be inspired to conduct this ritual a little more frequently.
Cabinets also seem to collect an array of clutter and dirt build up, so clear all the items in kitchen and bathroom cabinets to clean the surface beneath the items. This also will give you the opportunity to discover duplicate cleaners and hygiene items you may have forgotten were there.
While you are at this task, purchase some plastic sorting bins and organize spices, pantry goods and toiletries to give these items a place to “live” on their own and be found when you need them.
Closets can be the bastion of clutter and neglect, so empty yours out entirely into an adjacent room. Begin sorting clothes, shoes and other items you have inadvertently decided to store in the closet and get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past year unless it’s a special occasion item.
While the closet is clear, wipe down all the shelves with a wet rag soaked in cleaning solution and water or a bleach spray.
Vacuum the floors and develop a good organization system for where every item will go once you’re ready to put everything back in it.
This should be the golden rule when you undertake the deep cleaning process. Moving unnecessary junk from one clutter pile to another only delays the inevitable and can add to your ongoing stress.
Any item you review during the cleaning process should only put back into a place where it can live permanently or until you have a use for it in the future. If you need to stockpile items used regularly, such as toilet paper or toiletries, make sure those items have a place to be properly stored until you need them.
Whether you decide to tackle one are at a time or do one item throughout the house, set reasonable expectations and celebrate each completion with some personal reward. You can do this!