All of the gifts have been unwrapped, the fancy foods have been eaten, and your holiday guests have gone home. You raised a glass as you watched the ball drop at midnight, and now, here you are at the start of a new year. January is a time for a fresh start, a time when everyone wipes the slate clean and starts over, vowing to change their lives for the better. Why wait for spring to do spring cleaning when you can change your home for the better now, and start the year with both a clean slate and a clean living space? Now’s the perfect time to deep-clean your home, and here’s how you should do it.
Make a Plan of Attack
This isn’t going to be a quick cleaning: Plan on at least two days to get everything done, maybe three if you’re trying to clean while the kids are around (and adding to the mess, of course). Deep-cleaning a home is best done in stages, so once you’ve blocked out the time to do it, do a little advance planning before you dive in. Are you more of a room-by-room cleaner or a whole-house type? Either approach is fine if you do it in an organized manner.
Cut the Clutter
The first thing you’ll need to do is a regular tidying up. Walk around the house and pick up your messes, putting everything in its place. Do the basic stuff, like washing the dishes and putting them away and taking out the garbage. And make sure that you’ve picked up all of those cardboard boxes lying around from Christmas and put them in the recycle bin. Once you’ve gotten the obvious messes out of the way, you can focus on the more in-depth cleaning.
Take it From the Top
The best approach, whether you want to go room by room or take on the whole place at once, is to start at the ceiling. After all, dust falls downward, so you wouldn’t want to vacuum the carpet before you clean the ceiling fan! Start with the highest part of the room, and don’t neglect anything. Sweep the cobwebs out of those high corners. Dust the tops of your kitchen cabinets. Clean the ceiling fans and the light fixtures. And if you’ve got air vents near the ceiling, clean those, too.
The Eyes Have it
Now, take on everything that’s at eye level. Clean all of the windows, including dusting the window ledges. Wipe down the mirrors, too. And take down all of the curtains, wash them, dry them, and re-hang them. Dust any shelves that are around eye level. And don’t forget to dust the decorations, too, like the tops of picture frames and wall hangings.
Next, move down to the areas that are right around where your hands are, around waist to hip level. Dust everything around this height. Scrub down all of your counter tops and sinks. Strip the bed, wash everything, and remake it. Clean the coffee tables and nightstands, and don’t forget to clean the upholstered furniture: Vacuum it and give it a good steam-cleaning or at least spot-cleaning. Now’s also a good time to scrub the shower(s), bathtub(s), and toilet(s).
Finally, it’s time to tackle the floor-level stuff. Dust the baseboards first. Then, sweep and mop all of your hard-surface floors, and vacuum all of the carpets and area rugs. As a last step, sweep your entryway (if you’ve got porches, sweep those, too), and shake out your welcome mats.