Don't You Forget About Me

By Christopher Crown

March 25, 2019 5 min read

It's out in the open, and everyone can see it. People can tell whether you did a spring-cleaning job that merely hit the high points or you actually prepared your home for the warm months. From clearing out stale winter dust and air to finding those hidden dirty spots and overfilled cabinets, a proper spring-cleaning can rejuvenate a house, make hosting guests easy and uplift spirits. Done haphazardly, however, a surface-level clean, though saving you time, creates more lingering chores in the long run. Here are some of the most hidden bang-for-your-buck cleaning jobs.

*Dusting and Vacuuming

In a 2016 article on his website, celebrity doctor Andrew Weil states that a dusty home has a substantial impact on health. Weil cites an article in the journal Environmental Science & Technology that found that typical household dust contains an average of 45 chemicals -- 10 of them potentially harmful compounds, such as phthalates, which may disturb reproductive development and cause hormone disruption, environmental phenols, which are associated with reproductive system toxicity, and flame retardants, which can hinder nervous system health. Many of these compounds come from the plastic, fabric and tile surfaces in our homes that we don't even think about cleaning. On her blog, I Dream of Clean, Christine Satterfield notes some often-overlooked tasks:

--Dust crown molding and baseboards.

--Dust and wash light fixtures and lamps.

--Dust ceiling fans.

--Vacuum or wash window curtains.

--Wash window blinds.

--Dust bookcases.

--Wipe down and vacuum furniture. (Clean the base and under cushions.)

--Clean air vents.

--Change air/furnace filter.


The task of cleaning the kitchen -- from cleaning off baked-on grime to degreasing appliances and investigating mystery foods in the back of the fridge -- is often the cause of procrastination. It's a good strategy to divide and conquer these dirty zones. Below is a hit list from Morgan Hoey, a contributor to Taste of Home magazine:

--Clean oven. Try citrus, baking soda and vinegar for a deep clean.

--Wipe drawers and shelves in refrigerator and freezer.

--Defrost freezer.

--Discard old or expired food in pantry, fridge and freezer.

--Degrease cabinet doors and backsplash.

--Dust top of high surfaces, including fridge, microwave/range hood, cabinets.

--Deodorize and degrease the kitchen drain with salt.

--Wipe baseboards.

*Often-Forgotten Tasks

Satterfield highlights some of the most forgotten boxes on the household spring-cleaning checklist. Although these might not be essential to hosting your first spring party, they will most definitely pay off in the long run:

--Touch up wall paint.

--Condition leather furniture.

--Replace batteries in smoke detector.

--Schedule chimney sweep.

--Schedule termite or pest control maintenance.

--Wash dining room table linens.

--Clean shower curtain and liner.

--Empty washing machine drain pump.

--Disinfect doorknobs and light switch plates.


No amount of polishing and dusting matters if your house is filled with "stuff." Many households will focus so heavily on merely cleaning the surfaces in their home that they won't take an honest assessment of all the junk on the cabinets and in the drawers. In an article for MakeSpace, an online resource for minimalist living, contributors recommend enacting several rules to help amplify the effects of your spring-cleaning:

--Go through all your belongings, even the boxes in the garage and attic, and ask yourself, "Did I use this last year?" If not, donate it.

--Take out all duplicates and extras. Have two of the same thing? Donate. Have 30 of the same cups but your dining room table only seats 12? Donate.

--During that full scan of all your possessions, ask a follow-up question: "Does this item bring me joy (or enough utility to create happiness)?" If not, donate it.

Allow yourself several days. Clean all those hard-to-think-of but easy-to-notice surfaces, and remember this classic quotation from the 1999 cult classic "Fight Club": "The things you own end up owning you." Make this spring-cleaning the perfect transition into a clean and free-flowing summer.

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