My “Pre-Spring Cleaning” Cleaning List

posted by Andrea | 01/28/2016

spring cleaning

I’ve never been the type of person to do a lot of extra cleaning in the Spring… partially because I prefer to spread out my bigger cleaning projects throughout the year, but also because by the time Spring weather finally hits West Michigan, I want to be OUTSIDE!

So from January through March, I make a point to tackle some of the things on my annual and semi-annual cleaning lists (these are just mental lists, I don’t have anything actually written down) so I don’t have to do them when Spring finally arrives.

Another benefit of this “pre-spring cleaning” method is that I can do little projects continually over time — which is MUCH more doable when I’m trying to work around naptimes, preschool drop-off, and other small pockets of time.

While it is nice to have that feeling that the entire house is SUPER clean all at one time, that’s just not realistic for me right now — unless I paid a company to do it for me!

Since I’m not planning to hire out my spring cleaning anytime soon, here are a few of the projects I’ll be plugging away on over the next 3 months.

1. Wash all pillows, blankets, and comforters.

Yes, you can wash your pillows — I do it a couple times every year (or as necessary if people are sick or they get dirty).

And even though all our comforters and duvets say “dry clean only”, I always wash them all in our washing machine.

2. Dust the tops of door frames and windows.

I realize I should probably do this A LOT more regularly than I do — but I don’t πŸ™‚

I usually get around to doing it twice a year, and I figure no one is tall enough to really see the tops of our window or door frames so it’s really not hurting anything to have a little dust sitting up there!

3. Wash the windows.

This is another thing I should do much more than once or twice a year, but it’s another thing that I just don’t care enough about to do it more often.

I do spot-clean the windows as necessary (especially ones on the south side of the house where the sunshine pours in), and then I clean both the inside and the outsides of the all the windows when the weather is warmer (our windows fold in for easy cleaning).

However, when the weather is cold, I’m not going to open the windows, so I just clean the inside.

4. Wipe down random areas.

I’m not sure if I ever really did this before having kids — but now that I have 6 little hands touching EVERYTHING in my house, I find messes in really random places.

Some of the random areas I try to wipeΒ are:

  • the legs of kitchen and office chairs
  • all door knobs and light switches (I do these all quite regularly)
  • the fronts of all dressers and chests of drawers
  • the fronts of all my kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • the knobs and drawer pulls on all kitchen and bathroom cabinets

5. Clean all kitchen appliances.

I’m usually pretty good at staying on top of small messes in the refrigerator and oven; and I do clean the sink, dishwasher, stovetop, and microwave fairly regularly… however, I’m not as good about cleaning my small appliances.

I usually try to tackle them all in one-week’s time, and it never takes me nearly as long as I think it will.

  • Coffee Maker (run a cycle of vinegar through it and then several cycles of cold water)
  • Toaster (clean out the massive amount of crumbs in the bottom)
  • Toaster Oven (same as the toaster)
  • Hand Mixer (wipe it down to remove splatters)

All our other small appliances can be put directly into the dishwasher.

6. Go through every closet.

In general, I usually have some small organizing project going on all the time — which, in my opinion, makes it easier to keep going. However, this time of year, I intentionally make a point to get into every single closet in our entire house and sort, purge, and organize.

Since I just do one closet at a time (and since I do this regularly) it is NOT an overwhelming project at all. It usually takes less than 1 hour per closet — and that includes going through the dressers in conjunction with the bedroom closets as well.

I usually do this twice a year for the kids since they grow out of their clothing so quickly. I also do it twice a year for the mudroom closet in order to swap out the winter and summer items as necessary.

7. Clean out the garage.

Since we try to keep our garage quite clean all year round, this really isn’t a huge project. It mainly involves sweeping and scrubbing the floor — and maybe rearranging or purging a few items.

8. Clean out the cars.

If you ever see me driving around town, chances are the outside of my car will be quite dirty. However, the inside will almost always be picked up and clutter free.

I like to keep the inside very nice and neat — but after a several months of 3 kids using and abusing it, I just need to take 30 minutes or so and vacuum everything out (including the carseats). I also wipe down the dashboard and clean the inside of the windows.

Getting a new minivan earlier this week was a pretty good incentive to clean up our cars!

It’s nice that none of these projects are really time-sensitive… so I can simply tackle them when I have the time, here and there, throughout the next few months.

I don’t get stressed out about finishing them, because I know they always get done sooner or later… and by working ahead now, I have a few less things to make time for in the Spring.

Hopefully, that will mean I have a little extra free time to put towards our new, bigger vegetable garden!

When do you tackle your “Spring Cleaning”?


Filed under: HomeCleaning

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  1. julie


    I can totally relate to having to wipe down the legs of chairs and tables once you have kids! Any time i have to clean up a mess on the floor i take a quick look at the table and chair legs — i’m always shocked at how dirty they get! When does this stuff happen?


    Andrea Reply:

    Sometimes I just look the other way because I don’t have the time or desire to wipe down all the legs. I just pretend it’s not there!
    Also, we have dark green and black chairs so it’s harder to see πŸ™‚


    Trisha G Reply:

    Oh my gosh, Andrea, I am SO glad you confessed that you pretend that those messes aren’t there! I do that all the time with our chair legs but every time my eye catches one, I cringe a little bit and think how rotten of a housekeeper I am for not getting to them more than once a year (okay, or longer). But I would so much rather spend that time taking my kids to the park or the library or reading a good book than scrubbing on those darn chair legs! So, I’m glad we have thag in common because it makes me feel better about myself. πŸ˜‰ Thanks!


  2. Organize 365


    Oh I am SO glad to see you took the 2nd captain chair out of the minivan. I have done this the entire time I have had a minivan (14 years!) and it is AWESOME!!

    It is SO nice to be able to climb in the back with the kids and get them settled – especially in the rain. Even with teenagers I have left the seat out. SO many of my friends did the same thing once they saw my van.

    I was afraid to mention it since it is kind of an out of the box idea. πŸ™‚



    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I always knew this was how I would set things up with 3 kids. Also, we have the stow-‘n-go seats, so they just fold right up into the floor — no need to take anything out! That was one of my main requirements when shopping for minivans!


    Mommymommy Reply:

    We did this configuration with three kids, too! I loved it! You can also pile lots and lots of bags of groceries in there if the trunk is full, though I suppose you’d wish you hadn’t if there was an accident.

    I’m sad it doesn’t work with four kids now. It’s so crowded–my husband reaches over the back seat from the trunk to buckle the kids in the back seat. I’m getting too pregnant to get back there now!


  3. Michelle


    I’m working on a similar list too right now. Also, I noticed that a lot of your projects would be very easy with my favorite new tool. Honestly, I love this thing! My husband bought us a dyson stick vacuum. I wasn’t sure how much I would like it and was nervous about spending the money… It is the only vacuum for me now. I use it as a handheld for the car with the floor attachment. I use it with a small soft brush for the wood blinds and tops of doors. The soft floor attachment for vinyl floors. The brush for the carpet. The small attachment for the couches and chairs, the soft brush with the stick for the skylights and cobwebs in the ceilings.

    The only drawback is the battery life. And then I realized I don’t want to vacuum for more than 15 minutes at a time ever. I did a sloppy job with the old one for that reason and wound up with a sore neck and back. This one is light weight. So I do one section of the house or blinds or the car a day. And then I put the thing away, hanging on the wall nice and neat. Perfect for cleaning up after kids and covering large areas in a short amount of time.


    Andrea Reply:

    I have looked at those Dyson stick vacuums, but knew I’d be disappointed if it didn’t have a good battery life. You’d think for something THAT expensive, they would figure out how to get a better battery that actually holds a charge!

    I have tried SO many different dust buster, stick vacuums, and other cordless vacuums and have always been disappointed with how the battery goes “bad” over time.

    I’m glad it works well for you though — I suppose you’re right in that I rarely ever vacuum for more than 15 minutes in one setting.


  4. Kaitlin @ The Mom on Purpose


    I love this list! I’m also a “late winter cleaner” instead of a spring cleaner! I try to tackle my deep(er) cleaning tasks before the nice weather hits so we can start outside projects, which are so much more fun!

    My house seems to be the same way with random places getting dirtier with little sticky hands! A new place I discovered the other day was the little lip that goes around the base of our kitchen table. Apparently my 4 year old has been wiping his hands on it rather than his napkin! I don’t even want to know how long some of that gunk had been there! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing! Always love your posts!


    Karen Reply:

    I remember discovering that one of mine was stowing unwanted food in the tracks that make the table extendable. The dog was very interested in the underside of the table…


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, the cracks of our table our grose!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, that area of the table is ALWAYS grose. I usually only take the time to really wipe it well if people are coming over for dinner πŸ™‚


  5. Amy


    I do a lot of the same being in Northern IL. I use this inside time to go room by room even if it takes a few weeks.
    I hope your love your new van. I got mine last March and we do the same configuration with leaving the seat down behind the driver. It makes it so much easier to get in and out.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Amy! We took our first drive in the new van today (now that we have the license plate and insurance). There were a few things I couldn’t figure out — but mostly I love it! And yes, “stowing” that other bucket seat is amazing! We feel like we have SO much extra room!


  6. Sandra


    I read somewhere that the β€œdry clean only” label on bedding is meant to protect your machine. Apparently the weight of the bedding when wet can be too much for some top-loading machines to handle, particularly the older ones. Not sure if that applies to front-loaders as well. I don’t remember where I read it, but seeing as I have a top-loader, I always follow that advice just to be safe.


    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmmm, interesting concept Sandra! I can totally see how this would be the case — at least for the heavy comforters and pillows. I don’t think it could explain the dryclean only clothes that I regularly wash in my own washing machine though πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. Bonnie'sMama


    The idea of spring cleaning came about back in the days when people’s houses weren’t nearly as tight, and they used wood and coal stoves for heat and lamps and candles to light their houses. They also used straw for carpet padding. This made a lot of smoke and dust which accumulated all winter long, not to mention all the insects that came in with the firewood. So when spring came, people really needed to wash smoke and dust off of everything, and beat rugs and furniture to get dust out, and put new straw under the carpet.

    Now, we’re able to vacuum our hypo-allergenic carpets all year long. We have filters on our furnaces to eliminate much of the dust. We have electric lights, which don’t create smoke. Our houses are built much more tightly with tight windows, and we have lots of paved roads, so there’s far less dust getting in our houses anyway.

    So it’s really not necessary to do this massive overhaul of the whole house and drag all the rugs and furniture out into the yard. After a typical weekly cleaning, our houses are probably cleaner than at the end of an old-fashioned spring cleaning.

    There, isn’t that nice to know? You don’t have to feel guilty if you don’t do a Proper Spring Cleaning. Even knowing that, though, it does still feel good to tackle some of the corners and get them ready for spring.


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Bonnie, I did know this — and I frequently think about how grossly dirty the insides of those houses must have been by the time spring came! Also, their clothing… so sweaty and dirty and smoky, and the only way they could clean it was by scrubbing it on a washboard in luke-warm grungy water. Then hang it to dry and put it right back on again. YUCK!

    There is lots of nostalgia about life “back then” but I’ll take our modern conveniences any day!


  8. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life


    Thanks for the reminder! Once the weather get nice (I’m in West Michigan too), I want to be out working on our yard. One year I tried to do a HUGE spring cleaning list in one week for the whole house and it was sooo exhausting! Doing extra cleaning here and there works better for me too, though it was nice to have the whole house clean at once.


    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I don’t do any big huge cleaning projects anymore… it’s just pointless with 3 little kids around and I always end up frustrated πŸ™‚ So I do small little projects spread out over time and eventually everything gets clean!