As Spring comes in full swing in Hunterdon County it marks a time of new beginnings, freshness and joy. It’s the perfect time to conduct a spring clean! Here’s a bit more about the tradition, what to tackle, and how to make it fun for the family.
The Tradition of Spring Cleaning
Many years ago people’s houses were almost airtight to keep out the elements of winter and to keep the heat inside the home. Homes were heated much differently too, using coal, oil and wood. Lighting was from candles and inevitably this combination led to a buildup of dust, soot and ash.
Traditionally people saw spring as a signal to air out their homes and give them a really thorough clean – hence the phrase ‘spring clean’.
The spring clean involved the whole family and took place usually on the first warm, dry day of the season. The process involved literally emptying the houses of every scrap of furniture and then, whilst empty, cleaning everywhere from ceiling to floor.
This method ensured that each nook and cranny was cleaned out and every piece of furniture was aired in the open after months of being cooped up in dingy surroundings.
Modern day slant
Nowadays, with our increasingly busy lifestyles and modern homes with electricity and central heating the spring clean has become a thing of the past in many homes. However, it has to be said that there is nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that your house is in the best state it can be and therefore it is a good idea to keep up the tradition – albeit with a modern day slant.
Here are a list of must-clean areas of your home:
Flipping your mattresses will prolong their life by distributing the wear. Flip your mattresses over so the top becomes the bottom, and turn them so the foot becomes the head.
Banish bacteria and prevent food poisoning by clearing out your fridge. Toss anything that’s rotten, expired or questionable. Tip: Keep things fresh with a box of baking soda!
Break out the broom and vacuum! Before you begin, squeeze a fresh lemon or lime into your vacuum bag. This will freshen both the bag and the carpet.
Overhead Light Fixtures and Lamps.
Brighten up rooms and keep dust to a minimum by cleaning your overhead fixtures. Just make sure all of your fixtures are turned off before you climb up there and start cleaning!
Windows and Drapes.
Depending on the material, you may be able to just vacuum these guys, but check the label to be sure. For really stinky drapes, it’s best to hand wash them in cold water.
Behind and Underneath Furniture.
Scoot that sofa to the side and you’ll probably uncover a secret world of dust and dirt. As you clean, keep an eye out for loose change between those cushions, too!
Changing your air filters regularly will prolong the life of your furnace and keep the air you breathe free from dust and allergens. Plus, it only takes about five minutes!
Mold and Soap Scum.
Mold is most common in dark, moist areas such as your bathrooms, basement and attic. To kill mold and soap scum, mix a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide!
You probably clean the throne regularly, but there’s no substitution for a deep scrub. Tip: Lemon juice and denture cleaning tablets are both effective toilet cleaners!
Make sure you clean both the duct and the exterior vent. Lint builds up in your dryer duct throughout the year, and can create a serious fire hazard if it’s not cleared!
Make it a family affair
Getting the whole family involved in a spring clean could be a great way to get the family pulling together. Cleaning is a way to burn calories, feel invigorated and it is free!
As with any daunting task it is the getting started that is the hardest part. Getting family buy in is important, so make sure that you all agree to take part up front.
To motivate your family suggest they all bring their own music to help make the work a bit easier and pass the time. Introduce fun elements in advance in order to make it all seem like less of a chore.
Make it competitive
Host an apron competition to see who can get the dirtiest apron throughout the spring clean or hide mini treats as rewards in strategic places like under the cushions of the sofa. Remember to have lots of snacks and treats on hand to keep energy levels up and morale high.
Ensure you have a clear plan of chores mapped out at the start along with the necessary supplies. That way, you won’t need to interrupt the day by looking for something or running to the store.
If you have very young children, match them with an activity they can safely do without too much supervision. For example, they can sort out toys they no longer play with for a future garage sale and clean up the ones that they still play with.
Reward the workers
At the end of the clean, organize a special reward to celebrate a job well done. Order a pizza, or go out for ice cream as a family. You can even host a mini Oscars event, where everyone dresses up for dinner and then votes to say who they thought was ‘Best Scrubber’ or ‘Best Supporting Toilet Cleaner.’
Be sure to take before/after pics! Spring cleaning can be daunting, but when you look back you’ll be amazed by how much you’ve achieved!