Tipnut’s Guide To Spring Cleaning

Here’s a peek at this year’s battle plan for my home, I’ve also included references to homemade cleaners, tips for specific jobs and assorted fix-it projects that will help make this year’s job a big success. Every surface is conquered, everything is emptied out, washed & scrubbed, decluttered and organized.

Work from Top to Bottom, Left to Right so you always know where you left off when returning to the room to finish.


Specific jobs & chores will depend on what room you’re working on, here’s an overall plan…

Working From The Top Down:

  1. Ceilings – Dust from corner to corner and wash if possible, don’t forget the light fixtures, ceiling fans, smoke detector covers (might as well replace light bulbs and batteries while you’re up there).
  2. Walls – Dust corner to corner, floor to ceiling; Wash & scrub walls & everything on them (such as fixtures, pictures, mirrors, doors & door frames, hanging shelves, clocks, etc.).
  3. Windows – Inside & outside glass; Wash tracks & window frames; Wash all curtains, drapes & blinds. Find homemade window cleaners on this page.
  4. Cupboards, Counters, Drawers, Shelves – Empty, remove shelf paper, wash inside & out, top & underneath, line with fresh shelf paper, sort items as you put back (keep/trash); Wash all knick knacks; Tighten, repair or replace handles and knobs where needed; Declutter & organize all items in drawers, on shelves, in cubbies.
  5. Furniture & Appliances – Pull out to wash floor & walls behind as well as all sides of furniture or appliances (inside & out); Steam furniture if possible; Wash all kitchen appliances; Dust all electronics; lamps & lampshades.
  6. Floors – Sweep well & wash; Vacuum & clean carpets and rugs, bring laminate to a shine.

Declutter & Organize As You Work:

  1. Review all bedding items, linens and towels, are they getting threadbare and won’t make it through the next few months? Too stained? Either trash them or cut them into rags. You can also pack away for craft & repurposing projects.
  2. Wash and sort all clothing to be given away, pull items that you can repurpose for around the home.
  3. Pack away all household files from the previous year and prepare new folders for the upcoming season. If you don’t have a home filing cabinet, a cardboard filing box should do the trick.
  4. Items to be tossed are sorted: Box for charity, Box for garbage, Box for garage sale (if one is planned this year).
  5. Toss all food items that have no expiry date and you’re not sure how old they are (Herbs & Spices: Storage Tips). Replace spices and herbs you don’t regularly use. List all food items that need to be re-stocked on the next grocery trip.
  6. Remember: Beware Of Junk Bunkers.

All Areas Of The Home Are Tackled:

All Spaces Are Washed, Decluttered & Organized:

All Appliances Are Scrubbed:

Seasonal Preparations:

  • Lay out fresh herbal bug bags throughout the house to get one step ahead of the warm weather creatures that will soon be heading your way.
  • Bring all winter outerwear to the cleaners so they’re ready when you need them in the fall.
  • Repair, launder and store away any winter bedding
  • Repair, launder and store away all winter clothing

Keep A Running List

Note all nicks, scratches and repair jobs needed. This is the perfect time to evaluate your home’s needs:

Tips & Tools

  • I like to break down the job over a period of a week or so: Each day I do one big area (like the laundry room) and one or two smaller projects (like the hallway). I find the job I do is much more thorough (and less stressful) if I spread the job over several days rather than just a weekend.
  • If a job is too big for one day, I’ll do all the washing then save the decluttering/organizing for the next day. For example, the Kitchen: It will be scrubbed from top to bottom but the Pantry and Junk Drawers will be decluttered and re-organized the next day. All chores left to do for an area are written on a list and tackled the next day before moving on to the next room.
  • Pack a kit so all the supplies you need are right at your side. Have lots of garbage bags and empty boxes on hand.
  • Have all the tools you need cleaned and ready to go: mop, broom, swiffer, brushes, big bucket, feather dusters & dusting cloths. If you don’t have adequate tools, consider spending a few dollars to get what you need. It makes the job so much easier if you have the proper tools to work with.
  • You can save money with homemade cleaners, they can be just as effective as store bought, you’ll find a bunch of recipes in this section.

The job can be overwhelming, but the end result is well worth it. A few days of housework and some elbow grease is all it takes to enjoy a sparkling and well organized home!


The above information is for indoors, but the yard and outside of the house has a bunch of chores that need to be tended to–plus there’s plenty of prep work to be done for the upcoming season (whew!). Here’s a list to help you get organized…

Chore List:


  1. Check & clear gutters, look for leaks & fix
  2. Check roof, shingles & chimney
  3. Wash siding, doors & windows
  4. Wash & inspect fence
  5. Wash out the rain barrel
  6. Check or setup the compost area (see DIY Compost Bins & Boxes which includes tips for composting).
  7. Clean garage, shed, dog house or dog run
  8. Rake up the dog potty area
  9. Rake lawn
  10. Wash deck or patio
  11. Sweep and hose down the driveway & sidewalks
  12. Prepare flower beds and gardens
  13. Clear debris from hedges, bushes, trees
  14. Wash garden containers if they weren’t before storing away
  15. Check and maintain garden tools and equipment (if not done in the fall before storage)
  16. Wash and set out all patio & yard furniture, check for needed repairs
  17. Pull out BBQ, prepare fire pit or outdoor grill, check propane tank
  18. Prepare plant potting center
  19. Wash bird bath and set out
  20. Set out hummingbird feeders
  21. Set up the cold frame

Keep A Running List:

  • Document paint jobs & repairs that are needed
  • Supplies needed for yard and garden

Motivation Helpers

DusterHere are a few tips that will help put a little bounce in your step and some fire in your belly while doing the best job you can this year…

  • Start when the weather is warm, the Spring season seems to breathe energy and new life into everything it touches–it really does add a bounce to your step with the windows wide open letting in a fresh breeze, the sun shining and the birds busy chirping.
  • About a week or so before you start, begin decluttering and picking up whenever you have some spare minutes. This can save big chunks of time, but it’s also like exercising: Think of this time as building up your chore muscles, you’re building momentum for the big event.
  • It’s all about perspective: I look at our home as the hub of my family. I want it to be a comfortable, pleasant place to be. I find that when I put effort into my home, there’s a positive, nurturing vibe that embraces my family–and they respond to that! I keep that in mind when I pull out the mops and buckets–it helps focus me on all the positives of a sparkling home.
  • Escape to a fun place: Put on music you love, pump up the volume and let the music take your mind away from the scrubbing, sweeping and mopping.
  • Learn while you wipe: Download audio books or podcasts you never seem to have time to enjoy and listen to them with your iPod or mp3 player while you scrub. The time flies so fast with this trick!

Reward Yourself!

If visions of a sparkling, decluttered and organized home aren’t getting the juices flowing, promise rewards for yourself–and this really makes things fun:

Decide to implement one new idea in each area of your home that will pretty the place up or serve the space in some way. I like to choose things that are useful rather than just adding more clutter, and these things don’t have to cost a bunch of money!

It can be something as small as adding fresh new shelf paper, new switchplates or cupboard knobs and handles. The time flies pretty fast while you’re scrubbing and thinking about all the lovely things you’ll be adding to your home.

Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to get things back in top shape and you will enjoy the benefits of your efforts for many months :).

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    • Elizabeth

    Thank you! This is great to have all in one place – even if I don’t get to it all!

    • triska

    the “working from top – down” actually makes sense! I never really thought of it this way, and was quite disorganized with my cleaning. Lord knows I need all the help I can get XD

    • Spenniston2

    What is the best natural cleaner for hardwood floors? So far other cleaners leave it dull. Thanks…

      • vanessa

      we mostly use vinegar and water for all floor maintenance. very occasionally we will wash with any commercial soapy product, but then we always do the vinegar and water rinse afterwards to get rid of the soap residue.

    • ShoppingThrifty.com

    I love the top to bottom idea. My biggest problem has always been just figuring out where to start. Organization is my number one goal this year, but actually tackling some of the projects I’ve set out for myself is so daunting. Starting at the top and working my way down sounds like a great way to begin. Thanks so much for the great tips!

    • Kim @ Everything Etsy

    Thanks for all your great tips! I never stop and take the time to comment on your blog, but I do read it ALL the time. Thanks for all of your hard work collecting the links. 🙂


    • Allison

    I would like to know the best hardwood floor cleaner recipe, can anyone help, one that will leave a nice shine 🙂 Thanks

      • Desiree

      For new wood floors, the vinegar and water recipe is best. Make sure you ring out your mop well, hardwood floors do not deal well with water so just a damp mop is best. If your floors are old, worn, or untreated, a strong tea mixture works well. The tannic acid in tea treats the floors and leaves a nice shine. Good luck!

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