Now that temperatures are finally rising, it’s time to shake off the long winter and prepare for more temperate days ahead. It’s also time to spend a Saturday or two taking your apartment out of hibernation. Spring cleaning is an annual ritual for many, but it’s easy to forget some essential tasks to keep your living space fresh. Here’s a handy checklist to make sure your apartment is ready for April showers… and May flowers.
1. Time for Some Window Washing
Unless you live in the tropics, your windows have probably been shut since October. Now’s the time to throw them open — but not before you give them a thorough washing. Clean glass will let more light into your apartment, and open windows can allow a winter’s worth of stale odors to escape. Think of it as your house exhaling after a cold and wintry season.
2. Scour Those Screens
Window screens are meant to keep out dust, insects, and debris… not display them. If your screens are looking a little clogged, give them a scrub. After removing them from the sill, place your screens on a level surface outdoors and vacuum them. Once all the larger bits of detritus are gone, wash the screens with a sponge and soapy water, then use a garden hose to rinse. Make sure your screens are dry before re-installing them.
3. Beat Up Your Rugs, Sweep Your Floors
Once your windows are clean and open, you’ll probably really notice all the dust and grime that’s been sitting on your floors. But before you sweep and mop, make sure you clean your rugs and textiles. Vacuum your carpets, but beat your rugs with a broom or a bat— it’s a much more forceful way to get dust out of fibers. Plus, some time outside will let your rugs breathe, and give them a fresher odor.
4. Pack Up Your Heavier Blankets
Those wool blankets probably came in handy over the winter, but will you really need them on hot July nights? Gather all your heavier textiles, fold them, and pack them away until the fall.
5. Ditch The Drapes
If you live in a really cold climate, you might have invested in thermal curtains or thick drapes. They’re great for keeping out the cold, but they also keep out light and pleasant springtime breezes. Time to steam-clean them and then pack them up until October.
6. Give Your Kitchen a Deep-Cleaning
Who doesn’t love winter cooking? Hearty stews and plentiful pies are a joy to eat when it’s cold out. But they also might have wreaked havoc on your kitchen — and especially your oven. Now that your windows are open, bust out the big chemical guns (or the vinegar) and give your cooking areas a good scrub. Nobody wants to smell last January’s cassoulet during grilling season.
7. Scrub Your Tub
Taking baths during the winter is a warm luxury. Rings around the tub are an unsightly nuisance. Time to throw some elbow grease into your grout, tile, and tub.
8. Replace Your Air Filters
It’s recommended to replace your home’s HVAC air filters every three months — so, once a season. Clean air filters not only increase the efficiency of your cooling/heating system — they help keep you healthy since they reduce dust, pollutants, allergens, and bacteria levels in your home.
9. Clean Your Doors
Doors are a major magnet for dirt and oil, and sometimes all it takes is a little sunshine to make your grubby little pawprints visible for all the world to see. So take a few minutes with a sponge and a bottle of surface cleaner, and maybe polish the doorknobs while you’re at it.
10. Check the Batteries On Your Smoke Alarm
Because you don’t want to have an insurance claim on your hands, do you?