Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.
Spring. Cleaning. Is. Here. And it’s more pressing than ever, because while you’re quarantined at home, you’ve noticed just how much dust collects on every surface, how the pans never really seem to get clean, and that the tub drain gets slower and slower by the day.
Certainly a global pandemic doesn’t require you to scrub the entire house from top to bottom, so we simply won’t suggest it. You’ve probably been holed up for about a month now—and it’s trying. What you can do, though, for your own sanity, is tackle a few really doable cleaning projects in each room, and we’re willing to bet you can complete them in less than 30 minutes, sans interruptions, of course.
- If you’re anything like me, the cabinet under your sink is filled with bags of grocery bags, cleaning supplies, and stashes of garbage can liners. The easiest way—seriously—to approach this mess head-on is to yank it all out onto the floor and stack it up nicely again. This dark little den of provisions is bound to get messy again, but assessing what you have and downsizing never hurts. Fold plastic grocery bags up small, line up your spray cleaners (or stack them in a storage bin or bucket), and stack your trash bag boxes up neatly. It makes a world of difference.
- Got a load of pots and pans stained with years of searing? Sprinkle baking soda on the stained portion, followed by a splash of distilled white vinegar. Scrub until the brown gunk you thought would haunt you for eternity rinses right off.
- Sure, your junk drawer is named as such for a reason—it collects all the small things that have no clear home—but it could withstand a little bit of order. A couple clear dividers, some shallow open boxes, or even small food storage containers will corral the clutter more effectively. Here are some before and afters to get you inspired. You can do this!
- Handle the areas in the bathroom you often neglect in a routine wipe-down. Throw the toothbrush holder in the dishwasher, vacuum the exhaust vent, and work up the courage to wipe behind the toilet—your allergies will thank you.
- The tub is a breeding ground for little colonies of bacteria and smelly mildew—even with diligent squeegeeing and wiping, stagnant water and soap scum will find ways to make your life difficult. The best way to get your dingy tub sparking? Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This thing is well…magic, when it comes to slicing right through the ickiness that is soap scum in the tub basin and on shower walls.
- If your tub drain has a tendency not to cooperate, give it a flush or two with some natural drain cleaner—baking soda and our old friend vinegar, of course. Pour a pot of boiling water with a few drops of dish soap down the drain, followed by one cup of baking soda, and one cup of distilled white vinegar. Boil another pot of water, and pour it down about 10 minutes later. Run hot water to see if the tub is draining properly, and repeat as needed.
- That area under the bed...is really the junk drawer of the bedroom. Now’s the time to handle the stuff shoved under there, because it’s also likely collecting dust and making your allergies more unbearable. Brainstorm some storage solutions (like suitcases used as sliding containers!), and give the floor a vacuum while everything is out from underneath.
- You could clean out the whole closet, but if that task is too daunting at present, just do quick rearrange so your spring and summer clothes are within reach. Fold up bulky sweaters and stow them away on the top shelf and hang everything long-sleeved at the back, or ends, of the closet.
- Hauling a rented carpet shampooer home or calling in a pro can get pricey, but you can first try to spot clean small stains one at a time. Refer to this guide, and treat carpet similarly to fabric—just with a little more elbow grease.
- If your grandmother’s armoire has been crying out for some TLC, lucky for you—spring is the perfect time to do some wood furniture polishing, read: wide-open windows for ventilation. Hop online and order some paste wax, grab some old rags, and get to work with this tutorial.
- This task doesn’t have to be reserved just for the living room windows, but you can do it one room at a time to minimize the time spent cleaning each day. Wiping down glass is actually a pretty satisfying task, if you have a great glass cleaner (or a bottle of white vinegar). Another tip? Use coffee filters or newspaper instead of paper towels or rags to cut down on streaking and fibers left behind.
- Break out the mini vacuum or smaller attachment and get into the nooks and crannies your upright vacuum usually doesn’t reach. The trim, baseboard, behind the couch, and under the coffee table are bound to host some dusty characters.
- Shake the dust off all your gardening tools, beach chairs, and summer sporting gear, then run it over with some spray cleaner and a rag. Doing this all at the beginning of the season instead of as you need them will cut down on the dirt and debris that collects, meaning you can easily take the bikes out for a ride in May without first having to climb through spiderwebs.
- Get rid of everything that expired or suffered over the winter. Clumpy cans of paint and frayed extension cords have seen their day: thank them for their work and kindly see them out.
- Check up on the garage door opener to ensure it’s in working order, and in the case of a basement, change out the light bulbs for soft white LEDs that’ll never leave you in the lurch midway down the stairs.