Spring cleaning

24 August 2009

Spring cleaning can be done at any time of the year. We tend to do it when it's cool but warm enough to have the doors and windows open. The temperatures here the past few days have broken records for being too warm for the end of winter. Hanno and I wanted to start our spring cleaning soon but we realised if we left it any longer we might be doing that extra work in the blazing heat, so we started yesterday. If you want to join us, throw open your doors and windows, put your apron on and let's start. Depending on how much time you have, you can do all the inside chores in one day, do one room at a time or put aside 30 minutes a day to work through what you need to do.

Plan and make a list of what you intend to do.

Everyone's list will be different for this but there will be some things in common. Most of us will have to clean windows, screens and shutters - I'll write about outside chores tomorrow. Some of us will need to wash curtains. Other common tasks will include:
  • Change seasonal clothes, wash and store what you won't be wearing for the next few months.
  • Wash and store gloves, mittens, hats and scarves, or get them out ready to wear again.
  • Change bedding - wash quilts, doonas, duvets, blankets, or get them our to air ready to use again. Either remove or add electric blankets, depending on your season.
  • Vacuum under the bed.
  • Ask someone to help you turn the mattress - top to bottom and over.
  • If you have pillows that can be washed - wash them and hang in the sun to dry.
  • Give the house a thorough vacuuming - move the furniture to get under and behind.
  • Vacuum the furniture - remove cushions and pillows and get right into the crevasses.
  • Wash pillow and cushion covers.
  • Take the rugs and mats outside for a thorough shaking. Let them sit over the fence for a while in the sun - face down to minimise fading.
  • Clean and organise the fridge.
  • Move the fridge out and vacuum behind it. Also carefully vacuum the back of the fridge to get rid of any accumulated dust.
  • Clean and organise the pantry and stockpile.
  • Remove everything from the kitchen benches and clean thoroughly.
  • Go through your magazine stockpile and give away the old ones. (Hanno will laugh when he sees this because I don't buy magazines any more and I'm not getting rid of my stockpile of British Country Living magazines.)
  • Clean and organise your bathroom cupboard. Safely get rid of any old medications (the local pharmacy/drug store will probably take them back).
  • Wash the shower curtain.
  • Clean the toothbrush storage area.
  • Soak hair brushes and combs in a weak solution of chloride bleach or peroxide.
  • Clean out any cupboard that needs it.

No matter how much advertising you might see for products that will help you with spring cleaning, don't fall for it. Use the home made products that have served you well during the year. You'll also need a lot of clean cloths, so you might have to cut up an old towel to help you clean and wipe dry.

And if you can't do everything you want to do, don't feel guilty, just organise yourself. Make a list of things you can do next week, the week after, or whenever your other work allows. Not all of us have the time to dedicate to this yearly thorough cleanup. There will be a number of chores I'll be doing in the coming weeks as part of my spring clean.

Spring cleaning is not the most enjoyable task but it will help you stay on top of your cleaning and organising. If you do a thorough clean now, do a little bit every day, then you'll keep your house clean and tidy and you'll feel better for it. Providing a warm and comfortable home for yourself and your family is a big part of living a simple life. This is another step towards providing just that.

I'm sure I've left off some necessary tasks on my list. I'd be interested in knowing what your spring cleaning routine is and how long it takes you to carry it all out.


  1. Good evening Rhonda! Its just coming into autumn here in the UK, but spring cleaning this week feels right. The days are still nice and the children go back to school next week so a good 'clean sweep' through the house will stand us in good stead for the new season, I'll join you!!!


  2. We just gave the house a tidy...it corresponds with our annual chimney sweeping which means moving all the furniture/things out of the lounge so soot doesn't get on things. Then we can wash the wood floor, wipe down baseboards, and take that same momentum to the rest of the house. I did like the idea of seasonal clothing tidy up in your post and will have to incorporate it.


    AM of the bread

  3. hi rhonda,

    well i felt quite tired reading that list but i love lists and am going to print it out so that i can pin it up somewhere and cross off as i complete. i am a bit of a scatterbrain and go from one job to another so i need something to keep me focused. we have had lovely weather here in new zealand the past few days. it has been a very hard winter so i am really looking forward to spring.

    kind regards

    sophie in new zealand

  4. Thanks Rhonda! A while ago I asked you about the big clean up of the house, how you organise it, I don't know if you read that.... but here is the answer.

    Thanks for all the tips! I always clean the house when the kids are away to sailing school, beginning of the summer. But actually I think end summer would be better because the doors and windows have been open all summer, and when the fall starts, and we're living inside again, it feels like a better moment.

    But your advise is right, organise the spring clean on the moment that is best for yourself. And for me that is when all the kids are gone, this 1 week a year!

    The weeks before I really start cleaning, I take a cupboard or a closet or a few bookshelves and clean it. So the inside of a lot of things is finished. Also I have a 'doorday', 1 day that I wash all the doors and the wood around it. I have a 'windowday', including the curtains, and a 'floorday'. these things I work 1 or 2 weeks before, to make sure I can get to spring cleaning in just 1 week.

    Well that is my routine, 1 week and a few days. I'm always glad when its done!! And I'm glad with your list!

  5. I "spring" clean twice a year, once heading into autumn thats when I change to flannel sheets, but we start winter with a sparkling house. I also spray skirting boards and window sills for pests. Then I spring clean again in spring and change the sheets back to cotton. I find that my house does not get really feral and that with doing this twice a year, the job of spring cleaning is not really a huge task.

  6. Hello everyone!

    Clarien, I'm sorry I didn't answer your question. Truth is I don't have the time to answer everything that is asked here and in emails. But I do read every comment and I often write down the question on my list. Those things then pop up as a post when I'm actually doing what I'm writing about. I hope that makes sense.

  7. Great list Rhonda. All the chores you listed I also do for my spring cleaning. We are headed into fall here soon but I like to do what I call an end of summer cleaning. This allows me to make sure everything is spic and span before the windows have to be closed up for the next 5 months!

    I also clean the top of my kitchen cabinets. I have a large collection of old glassware which over time becomes dusty so I take everything down and clean that area throughly.

    I also include cleaning my laundry area so the dryer is ready once I can not hang clothing on the lines anymore. I hang dry some items inside in the winter but when the wind chills can reach -60F...it is not wise to hang clothing on the line outside.

    That is all I can think of off the top of my head but I know there are lots more chores before the wild cold winds begin to blow.

    Have a great day! :)

  8. British Country Living Magazine! I almost cried when I read that! Very very occasionally our local magazine shop has it but not often. I looked at getting a subscription sent over to NZ but it was so expensive. I resorted to getting a subscription to the American one as it is incredibly cheap, but it's not the same :(
    I'm over in Scotland in October and one of my first purchases will be...Country Living!

  9. Debbie, thanks for adding the laundry. It's incredibly important.

    Darroch, awwww, if postage wasn't so expensive, I'd send a few over to you. I have all copies from about 1999 till I stopped buying them a few years ago. We've given up a lot to live as we do and I regret so few of those sacrifices, but oh, I wish I still had those CL magazines. I go through mine quite frequently and still find a lot of joy, and new things I missed before, on the pages. Can you ask your local shop to order it in for you. That is what I did when I was buying it.

  10. Today will be the perfect day for airing out the house. It is 9am and it is already 28 degrees c. It is not even officially spring!
    We really need rain to replenish our tanks. Our water is running low and tasks like window washing might have to wait... and to think we had 3 floods earlier this year!
    The British edition of Country Living is my favourite magazine. I buy this from time to time, rather than the Australian Country Style and it costs the same at $7.95 and is cheaper than the American mags. You can read many of the articles and view their picture galleries at their website www.allaboutyou.com/countryliving which does offer more than just subscription info.

  11. I will be leaving it a while before commencing spring cleaning down here in SA - we have a thunder storm rolling through at the moment, it is bucketing with rain,the wind is howling and my fire is blazing away - oh and it 9 degrees at the moment

  12. Good grief, Katrina. It's 33 here right now and we haven't had rain since late June. Enjoy your fire.

  13. Thanks for the inspiration! It's just after 10am and I have cleaned out my bathroom sink cupboard and drawers, re-arranged my walk-in-wardrobe shelves, ditching clothes that I know will not fit me this summer, stripped and remade beds in spare room and the laundry sink cupboard is next. All small jobs but they just need to be tackled in 10 minute increments. Cuppa tea time now.

    Cheers - Joolz

    Word Verification word: Maker

  14. Being Monday I always give the house a good clean after the week-end...As I finnished the vaccumming with sweat running down my back, I was thinking about the spring cleaning....And I agree if we don't get it done soon it will be to HOT...We have a horrible hot wind blowing through at the moment that is blowing dust every-where, may-be Katrina could send us some rain...

  15. Joolz, excellent work! LOL at the word verification. I was on a blog yesterday while listening to my son's Foofighters CD (I love them) and my work verification was FOOISM. =:- O

    Take it easy, Old Dairy. It's hot here today as well. I have all doors and windows closed and the temperature inside now is 24*, although it's 33 outside.

  16. I'm bad. I always miss out on spring and fall cleaning. I do try to keep up throughout the year. It does make more sense though to do a once or twice yearly thorough cleaning. I will put that on my list of changes I'd like to make in my lifestyle!
    Thank you for the list. It makes so much sense!

  17. Then on a different note. I had a customer today who wanted to make pepper jelly. She has the recipe for the original jelly, but wanted to try it with blackberries. She is a little afraid to try to do it without a recipe, because she doesn't want to ruin a whole batch. Do you or any of your readers have a recipe that easily will switch over to using backberries with the jalepenos? Thank you for any tips you may have that I can pass on to her.

  18. Hi Rhonda, what an in sync post for me! Last night I started to make just such a list. At this time of the year -- working outside the home too as I do -- I pick one chore for each morning before work. Then on my days off, the bulk is done and the seasonal cleaning fits into a couple of weeks.
    BTW, I have just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I can't recommend it highly enough to you or anyone who reads here.

  19. We observe The Days of Unleavened Bread in the Spring so we do our spring cleaning before the first day. It is a perfect time to do it for us.

  20. We are at the end of summer here in the southern U.S. I love this post on "Spring Cleaning" though! What is a kitchen bench - is it a countertop?

  21. yes stick, a counter top is a kitchen bench.

  22. The last few weeks' odd free moments have been given over to cleaning as well. My favorite season in Northern California is Sept-Nov. The calendars call it fall and the weather often shouts Indian Summer: doors and windows open 24/7 for weeks.

    Rhonda, your blog inspires, instructs and includes many of my hunches and practices-who could ask for more!! Thank you for all you do.

  23. Great list and inspiration as usual Rhonda! Here we are having a spell of absolutely beautiful late summer days. Temp around 22. We have just had a great clean-up so I can be out in the garden all day today with a good conscience. A charming Swedish tradition which I have taken to my heart is changing curtains and cushion covers every season. I must admit I didn´t manage every season when the children all lived at home but now in this period of my life, it´s a pleasure. Seeing the four seasons are so clearly defined here it fits in well. Something thicker with some red tones for winter and Christmas, yellow tints for spring/Easter, flimsy white/blue/green over summer and as autumn approaches here it´s soon time to switch to autumnal shades. Quite fun for those of us who have time. Naturally we are talking about simpler curtain materials like cotton and simple curtain arrangements. Right now I have flimsy green curtains framed in white linen curtains in the living room. I always feel so sad when the end of summer means taking them down. On the other hand, it´s a real holiday feeling when it´s time to put them up again.
    Imagine......so many lovers of the UK Country Living mag around the world. I have copies from the 80s. Can´t imagine why I gave away the 70s pile. It´s the only mag I buy and the only mag which gives me pleasure no matter how old.
    Greetings from Sweden
    Ramona K

  24. No spring cleaning here as we're in the middle of cleaning house! I just wanted to add that if your pillows are filled with feathers you shouldn't dry them in the sun, at least not in the glaring midday sunshine. A shady place or even putting them in the dryer is better - putting them in the heat in the sun makes the feathers smelly and causes breakage, at least in my experience.


  25. that is a great idea! I shall ask them this week, nothing to lose by asking, you never know!

    You treasure yours. 1999 - you must have loads!

  26. Hi Rhonda,
    I do a lot on that list weekly, the list is helping me figure out what doesn't really need to be done so often. After today's heat (Brisbane) I'm going to get stuck into the handy man side of spring cleaning, fixing chook pens and trying to find my way through the garage so i can eventually park the car in it. Its going to be a very hot summer this year. Can't wait for a thunder storm Christmas.
    Warmly, Melissa

  27. Fall is just around the corner for us in the US, but this list is also good for those of us who like to do fall cleaning. After all, we are inside our homes more as the weather cools.

  28. As always, I am inspired by your blog. I haven't been by for a while but your inspiration continues even when I'm not reading. I bought a discounted book recently on green living and I am planning to make my own cleaning products soon on my journey to simple living. Thank you.

  29. Whew, that list makes me feel tired! It is good to have a nice fresh house though. Unfortunately, we live in the four-seasons-in-one-day part of the country so putting away unseasonal clothes isn't practical. Even changing bedlinen from summer to winter tends to be an on-again/off-again thing.
    Spring in Victoria means a lot of wind so it is good for getting washing dry as long as you time it right, between showers and get it in before the late afternoon dew.
    I do love those days when the sun shines and there is a hint of warmth and I can throw all the windows and doors open. Let go of all that stale winter air.

  30. Oh, yes, cleaning is my thing! My mom didn't teach me much about homemaking but cleaning was pounded into my head! :D I am slowly getting rid of my commercial cleaning products one by one...it's been hard, but I have a book full of healthy substitutes such as:
    Instead of spraying air freshener into the room, rub some essential oil on a light bulb. When it turns on, wa-la! Air freshener! :D :D
    I planning my spring cleaning a bit earlier than spring...around March, so that it's out of the way for planting! :D

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