Quick & easy ‘spring spruce-up’ tips for Chicagoans

Ah, Spring.

The lilac bushes are in full bloom, the Sox and Cubbies are in full swing, and your home gets a fresh makeover! (Hallelujah!) There are few things more satisfying than the results of a deep clean. Can’t you just smell the freshness? Despite the fabulous after-effects, the thought of actually doing a ‘spring clean’ fills most of us with a feeling of dread. Yes, it’s time-consuming and tedious, and not nearly as fun as spending an afternoon at Wrigley Field, but the gain is worth the pain!

Read on for my cleaning tips to get your home in tip-top shape for the summer season. (Now, say that five times fast!)

Does it seem overwhelming? Sure. But it doesn’t have to be! Here’s a hint: tackle one project at a time. Schedule ‘project spring clean’ time on your calendar, say a couple of hours a day, one or two days per week to knock out specific tasks, and before you know it your house is sparkling clean and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Give windows some love

  1. Give windows a good scrubbing. Dreary Chicago winters will do a number on them, and I assure you, a window washing service is worth the splurge! (See my list below for recommendations!) If you’d rather go the DIY route (or enlist the help of some family members!) be sure to check out these great tips!
  2. Don’t forget your window treatments! Go over all of your drapes with a vacuum, or if you have blinds, use a duster. (Swiffer makes an excellent disposable version!)

An eye for detail

Throughout the year, those nooks and crannies don’t get the attention they deserve. As a result, they collect dust and grime–LOT’S of it. The good news? You don’t need anything fancy to clean these areas! Just start with a good dusting, and follow with a dish cloth and bucket of sudsy water where necessary.

  1. Base boards

  2. Wall vents

  3. Door frames

  4. Sliding door tracks (for extra tough dirt, try using a toothbrush and a vacuum!)

  5. Inside drawers and cupboards

  6. Closet and cabinet shelves

  7. Walls (yes, those get dirty too!)

  8. Doors, door frames, and door knobs

  9. Under rugs, furniture, and appliances (yes, under that coffee maker and all of your lamps!)

  10. Air vents

  11. Under kitchen & bathroom sinks

Don’t forget appliances!

  1. Clean out the contents of the fridge, tossing any expired items, and wipe down the interior.

  2. Wipe down the microwave. (For a caked-on mess, microwave a small bowl of vinegar with a squeeze of lemon for 5 minutes. Let sit 2 minutes. Open, and wipe down with a sponge–no scrubbing necessary!

  3. Deep clean the oven (after Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and New Years, it really takes a beating!)–rather than using the “self-clean” method, use baking soda instead.

Deep clean floors

  1. Carpets should be steam cleaned at least once per year. Hiring a service to do this takes a big to-do off of your list! (See my list below!) Prefer to do it yourself? You can also rent deep cleaning equipment at Home Depot.

  2. Wood floors should also get some extra love this time of year after enduring a season of boot stomping! In addition to your usual mopping, apply a waxing treatment to make them really shine.

Curb Appeal

The place that needs the most TLC after months of “Chiberia”? Your home’s exterior! Take note of the following steps to ensure it’s the most gorgeous house on the block this season! (Not to mention, up its overall value as well!)

  1. Conduct a thorough inspection of your home’s siding, roof, and chimney, looking for any spots in need of repair.

  2. Add a fresh coat of paint to any areas that seem to be chipping or lackluster.

  3. Trim any overgrown shrubs, hedges, and trees.

  4. Clean out those gutters! (Sorry–we couldn’t leave this one off!)

  5. Itching for an update? Painting your door a bright accent color packs a powerful punch for very little effort. I particularly love doors painted in green and blue hues. For more door inspiration, check out my Pinterest board!

  6. Spruce up the deck by giving it a good power wash and stain.

  7. Concrete walkway looking shabby? Try painting it with concrete paint!

There’s always outsourcing!

Have too much on your plate? Cleaning not your thing? There’s certainly no shame in that! Here’s my list of trusted go-to’s from my own “Little Black Book.” They’ll be happy to take those Spring to-do’s off your hands–from house cleaning, shrub trimming, handiwork and everything in between!

Home Cleaning/housekeeping
Stasia Kockanek

Landscaping (and snow removal in the winter)
Garcia Brothers Landscaping
Fernando and Candido Garcia

Window Washing
Francisco Arocho

True Colors Decorating
Mariusz Dolegiewicz

Home Organization
Gab It Out, Inc
Linda Gusloff

Now, tell me, what are your spring cleaning tips?