Spring Cleaning | Online Exclusives, April 2012

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

Cleaning and décor advice for a fresh start

Spring has sprung! For many people, this means buying new outdoor patio furniture and sporting sandals and flip-flops. Others welcome the hint of warmth in the air with a sigh and begin daydreaming about warmer days still to come.

Clear out the winter doldrums and replace them with a zest for life with some good, old-fashioned spring cleaning and seasonal décor.

Make a cleaning schedule
Online ExclusivesCleaning your home inside and out can seem like a Herculean effort. If you’re overwhelmed, try breaking the chores into easy-to-manage chunks, making the tasks less daunting and more doable.

Assign a cleaning task to each day of the week and voilà … your spring cleaning is finished in a week.

> Monday: Clean windows –– For best results, wash with a soapy cloth and use a squeegee to make your windows squeaky clean.

> Tuesday: Dust –– If you haven’t dusted in a while, you will be surprised at the difference this can make in your home’s overall appearance. Dust from top to bottom and don’t forget light fixtures, blinds and window sills.

> Wednesday: Vacuum and/or mop floors –– It’s amazing the difference clean floors can make! Take time to vacuum the stairs and sweep the porch, too.

> Thursday: Clean the kitchen –– This includes the refrigerator, stove and other appliances, along with countertops and cupboards.

> Friday: Clean the bathroom –– There’s no sense in putting this off any longer. Be sure to clean every inch, including the toilet and shower.

> Saturday: Change bed linens –– Nothing feels better than falling asleep in a freshly made bed, knowing that the rest of your home is spotless.

> Sunday: Family Pitch-In Day –– Use this day to finish any cleaning that needs to be done. Enlist the help of your family in order to show them the importance of keeping up with housework. Have each person store his or her winter clothes and get rid of excess clutter.

Bring the outdoors in
Online ExclusivesOnce your home is spotless, try sprucing it up with spring décor. When bringing spring inside, remember to use lots of vibrant colors, and don’t be afraid to experiment a little. Choose accessories that add a splash of color but still complement your existing furniture, such as throw pillows or couch covers.

Nothing says spring like blooming flowers and foliage, so be sure to place vases throughout your home and keep them stocked with lush reminders of the season. This will add color and life to your home and help to dispel any feelings of cabin fever that may still be lingering.

Embrace the season by allowing as much light into your home as you’re able. Open all blinds, and if the weather permits, all windows too. If the weather proves to be belligerent, you can cheat by purchasing a CD with nature sounds and playing it softly.

If you like the idea of bringing spring into your home but balk at the idea of purchasing pre-made items, there are plenty of creative options available. For the uber creative, this can be a spring mural painted on the wall of an otherwise gloomy room or handmade throw pillows in lively colors. If you have children, encourage them to create springtime crafts to help decorate their home.

Sarah Wilson is a writer and poet. She loves to go on long drives in the country to clear her head and take in all the sights and smells of spring.

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