200: Spring Cleaning to Welcome Mother Nature’s New Year! 22 Ways to Start Fresh

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #200 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube On Tuesday morning at 9:15 Pacific time in the western hemisphere spring will arrive. No weather prediction can change this reality. Even if it continues to snow where you live (the snow in England and France this past weekend have made me feel as a […] Listen now or continue reading below.
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #200
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube

On Tuesday morning at 9:15 Pacific time in the western hemisphere spring will arrive. No weather prediction can change this reality. Even if it continues to snow where you live (the snow in England and France this past weekend have made me feel as a kindred spirit to the residents as we had snow this weekend as well), the calendar affirms, it will be spring at this time on Tuesday.

But no matter when the snow decides to cease falling, we know it will (and even when it does, it melts nearly as quickly, non?). What I have found to be a wonderful activity during such times, along with indoor projects that must be completed, is to tend to spring cleaning of the home. And when the sun comes out, spring cleaning in the yard as well.

So yes! Spring cleaning has begun! And oh, does it feel good! (Too cheesy?)

Last week, my white burber carpets received their bi-annual thoroughly cleansing (see above), and in so doing returned a brightness to the house. Simply tending to these seasonal tasks, whether we do them or hire someone due to our time constraints, when we do, we begin to officially shift forward to the new season that is beginning. And as it is spring, a fresh start, a feeling of renewed opportunity and revitalized energy.

Below are 22 spring cleaning tasks to perhaps welcome into your annual routine as you too say goodbye to winter and hello to the much anticipated spring season.

1. Let in the light! Clean the windows

As soon as you are able to get outside and the sun is expected to shine nearly all day (although a cloudy day is claimed to be best as the cleaning solution will dry less quickly, reducing the amount of streaks), take a couple of hours to clean the windows inside and out. My mom always made a point of washing windows in the morning to enable the ability to see better the streaks as the natural light is shining more directly through the windows (you can also do this in the evening, but again, we’re usually tired or have other plans). And the approach is simple, grab a bucket of water and vinegar, the newspapers you just recycled from yesterday’s or that morning’s reading session and before you know it, you will be bathed in more sunlight. (Yes, newspapers are a great option instead of rags – they are not only cheaper, but will not scratch the glass and are quite absorbent – learn more here.)

2. The floors (and rugs, although not as often) get their special treatment

If you have carpet, welcome in a carpet cleaner, if you have hardwoods, follow the special instructions of care for your particular wood floors. Typically a damp mop (not wet mop) with a few drops of dishwashing liquid is all you need to do (in fact, some experts recommend doing this monthly). Here is a list of recommendations for wood floor care from RealSimple. If you have area rugs, deep cleaning them need only be every 3-5 years as over-cleaning contributes to too much wear and tear.

3. Tend to the window coverings

Whether you have blinds or drapes, dust, wash or send to the dry-cleaners for special careful cleaning.

4. Clean the dishwasher

House Beautiful in their annual spring cleaning guide recommended giving your dishwasher a deep clean, and with the amount of use most of us give our kitchen time-saving machine, it is a good idea. Using a special dishwasher cleaner pack (this one from Cascade will remove the grease, odors and limescale and includes two for fewer than $14), run it with an empty dishwasher and begin the new season with a “like-new” dish-cleaning machine.

5. The remainder of the Kitchen Triangle: the stove and the refrigerator

Give your refrigerator a thorough clean out and cleaning, something I like to do bi-annually as well. Not only does this enable an opportunity to see which staples you have regarding condiments, etc., but it also is a great opportunity to organize your refrigerator into sections. For example, keep your meat and proteins in one section, your cheeses in another, your fruit in one bin and your vegetables in another. Also, drinks have their designation as well. Especially if you are living with others, but even living by yourself, when you give the refrigerator a quick glance before you head to the market, you will know exactly what is needed for your weekly capsule menu shopping.

And, do not forget the stove. I will admit, I do not like sticking my head in an oven (for many people who have self-cleaning, just turn it on to work its magic while you clean the refrigerator), or maybe that is just the English teacher in me, but since I do keep tin foil at the bottom of my stove, I find many messy clean-ups are avoided. So find a sturdy oven cleaner, put some gloves on and tend to this annual task. The more regular we do, the less daunting it will be each time.

6. The linens beyond sheets

While bed sheets are typically cleaned every week or two weeks, wash the duvet cover, the coverlets, the throws, the pillow shams and any other linen that does not get regularly weekly attention. Some of these items may need to be taken to the dry-cleaner, so allow for 1-2 weeks to be without. Perhaps you are going on a spring holiday, so plan on taking your linens to the dry-cleaner before you leave, so when you return your linens are returned as well as fresh and clean for the new season.

7. Flip and clean the mattress

A simple flip or rotation of your mattress is easy to do to prevent overuse in one area. As well, vacuum your mattress to remove any unwanted debris.

8. Sinks and faucet cleaning

If you have found you have lime deposits around faucets in your house, HGTV offers a simple solution: Lay a papertowel over the area, pour vinegar over the top and let it sit for an hour. After the allotted time, the lime should have softened, making it easier to remove.

9. Make the stainless steel shine

Now this is something that can be done each time the kitchen is cleaned, but its worth doing for spring cleaning as well. Again HGTV shared this gem: using a spray bottle full of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% water, clean your chrome, glass or stainless steel finishes and polish to reveal their brilliance.

10. Assess and organize the pantry

In January I shared one of my winter projects which was to organize my cupboards, which for me includes my pantry items. Similar to cleaning out the refrigerator, when we know what we have, we know what we need. Here is a list of the 34 items to keep at all times in your pantry, or épicerie (episode #109).

11. The closet clean-out

Bi-annually, clearing out, assessing and reorganizing our closet is a wonderful idea to prevent overspending, but also enable savvy purchases as the new season begins. I have detailed how to approach this task in a dedicated post, so if you’re curious, be sure to take a look.

12. Seasonal clothing swap

Now is the time to take your winter coats, sweaters and scarves to the cleaners for their annual maintenance. Perhaps you took your spring and summer items in the fall, but if you haven’t take them now so they are ready to shine with the beginning of the new season.

13. The walls need your attention

This may sound odd, but while we are surrounded by the walls of our homes, we often do not see them. Cobwebs can form, dust accumulates especially if furniture is in front of them, and all it takes is a simple damp cloth wrapped over a broom stick (to reach high points by the ceiling) and an extra hour or so of a day. If you need to clean stains from the wall, use a few drops of dishsoap, then go over it again with a clean damp cloth to remove the soap.

14. Clean the cushions of your furniture

Pull the cushions out from your sofa and chairs and clean underneath as well as the cushions themselves. You will most likely just need to vacuum them both, but doing so will ensure that all is clean whether it is seen or unseen.

15. Put away the winter

Whether you have certain decor, wreaths, candles of a darker hued color or books that align with the winter season, take this time to swap them for the spring and summer editions. While you are doing this, you are also able to do a little extra cleaning that may not get your attention each week.

16. Bring forth the outdoor furniture

While this may be something you, as I, don’t get to do until April, it is still a seasonal ritual to tend to. Bring out the lawn furniture, the patio chairs and tables and giving them a good wash with soapy water. Then the pots come out as well as soon they will be filled with fresh blooms from the nursery.

17. Clean the trash cans

Indoors and out, suds up the trash collectors and wash and rinse them out. A simple task that is quite satisfying.

18. File away taxes of 2017 and organize the office

Most of us have completed our tax returns or will be soon, so now organize them and place them where they need to be and move forward into the new year. As well, dust the shelves, countertops, desktops of your work space. Dust the screen of your computer, dust the top of your printer and other machines you may have and why not bring in at minimum a bud vase for a touch of spring to enjoy as you work?

19. Update your podcast subscriptions

I recently tended to this task as many of the podcasts I had on my list were no longer offering new episodes, so I went through and streamlined my podcast subscriptions to include only the ones that were still offering new episodes as well as episodes I continued to always select to listen to on my walks and travels.

20. Clean and organize your handbags

This may seem obvious, but our lives get busy and before we know it our totes are carrying receipts from two months ago, lipgloss that has been empty and who knows what else. This shouldn’t take but a few minutes, but sometimes we have to be reminded of the simple organization that makes a big difference in our daily lives. As well, our wallets need our attention: why do you need so many of others’ business cards in your wallet, do you use that particular rewards card anymore? Slimming down your wallet feels good as well.

21. Assess Makeup and beauty supplies

While these tasks can be done at any point in the year, the inspiration behind spring cleaning is an opportunity to start fresh and what better way when it comes to our beauty than to make sure our supplies enable us to shine our brightest. Clean your brushes as well with simple facial cleanser mixed with warm water until it is bubbly and dunk, dunk, dunk and then rinse.

22. Bad habits out, good habits in

Admittedly, when there is less sun, as there is in the winter, it affects our mood, some more than others, but either way, it does play a role in our emotions. Take a moment before you step forward into spring, as we continue to gain more daylight each day for the next three months, to assess what habits are working for you, and which are not. Sometimes simply having more daylight to tend to what is a priority makes a difference in our successfully acquiring the habit. Whether it is meditating in the morning, walking in the evening, eating more seasonally ripe produce or turning on classical music to start your day instead of the news (in episode #197 we looked at the benefits of classical music), spring gives you an opportunity to be more successful, because when our moods are improved, the confidence we have in ourselves to be successful with whatever we pursue also has a better chance for improving as well.

Ultimately each one of us will tend to what we need to start fresh with this new season. Perhaps a handful or more, but maybe just one or two of the ideas spoke to you. Whatever you choose to do to welcome spring, and literally or figuratively clean out the clutter of the old season, be sure to take the time to do so as I am confident you will be giving yourself a bit or a signficant bounce to your step as the excitement of what the new year has in store begins to come forth.

Welcome the spring season and may this first week (beginning tomorrow – Tuesday) be an auspicious omen for what is to come.

~SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES from the ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~TSLL Spring Capsule Menu

~Why Not . . . Celebrate a New Year with Spring’s Arrival?

~Why Not . . . Spruce Up Your Spring Wardrobe?

~Subscribe to the weekly TSLL newsletter

Petit Plaisir:

~A Taste for Provence by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz

~Learn more about the author who is a professor emerita at Smith College here

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11 thoughts on “200: Spring Cleaning to Welcome Mother Nature’s New Year! 22 Ways to Start Fresh

  1. Another inspiring post Shannon. I have a birthday this week which will bring another decade to a close. This, together with the change of season, encourages great reflection and anticipation as to where the New Year will take us. Best wishes from the UK, Sue.

  2. Beautiful post. Love your blog! Simply the best 🙂
    Could you please also write an article with your favourite podcasts, podcasts subscribtions you listen to usually and inspire you. Thnak you so much.

  3. How appropriate, this! You’re actually my favourite person to listen to while I’m cleaning! Thanks not only for the fabulous tips this episode, but also for serving as a constant and lovely companion whether I’m cleaning, savouring a coffee, or just laying in bed. This podcast in my petite plaisir!

    1. Lulu, “Ditto.” We’ve had a guest in our home in the Loire-et-Cher, for a full week. I’m in the process of re-grouping, as three more arrive today. I’m having to do a one-day turn-around with linens, cleaning…. While it is a great pleasure to have time with friends, my kitchen always goes a bit a wry after a week of visiting chateaux, shopping, etc. I just listened to this podcast while tackling the clean up and re-organization, tidying up the fridge, and cleaning the stove. Shannon’s pod casts both inspire me to do my best, and also, the sound of her voice is so soothing. I’ve been up tackling this project since 5AM. It is now 8AM in France. The sun is pushing through some very beautiful clouds, and I’m heading out to take a picture of this glorious morning!

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