Get motivated to clean big


Have you been procrastinating over big cleaning projects? Don’t let daunting tasks collect dust. Get motivated with these quick tips so you can move on to more rewarding tasks — like having fun with the family.

As seasons change and kids grow, even the neatest storage spaces can get messy.

  • Begin by making a quick list of the areas you need to clean, including the attic, basement or closets.
  • Take a look at each space and make notes. Do you need to buy new containers? Do you need new clothes hangers or shoe organizers?
  • After you shop for organization supplies, focus on cleaning one storage space per day.
  • Enlist little helpers when cleaning kids’ closets.
  • Bring two bins or trash bags with you when you clean. Use one for trash and the other for donating clothing and toys.
  • Label storage bins clearly. Pencil in the date so you can track the last time you checked the storage bin.
  • Store seasonal items and infrequently used items to the back of the storage area.

Washing curtains and upholstery

Curtains and upholstery should be washed at least twice a year. Wash curtains more often if family members suffer from indoor allergies.

  • Clean curtains and upholstery on a weekend when you’ll have time to allow for drying.
  • Always do spot tests before you begin cleaning to avoid damaging fabric. Some curtains may require dry cleaning.
  • Spot-treat stains with a gentle stain remover and a clean cloth.
  • Purchase detergent formulated specifically for removing dust and allergens from upholstery and curtains.
  • Rent a steam cleaner or use a handheld steam cleaner on couches and chairs.
  • Avoid drying your curtains outside. This can cause sun-bleaching damage and exposure to pollen.

Deep-cleaning carpets

Carpets begin to show wear and tear unless cleaned properly. Deep clean at least twice a year to remove the dirt and allergens tracked into your home. You may need to clean more often if your children spend a lot of time on the floor.

  • Consider scheduling activities to keep kids and pets out of the house while cleaning carpets.
  • Whenever possible, move furniture around to clean the entire carpet.
  • Begin by treating stains and high-traffic areas. Follow appropriate guidelines for the color and consistency of your carpet, and always use a clean white cloth or new sponge.
  • Rent a carpet-cleaning machine to get the deepest clean. Rental machines save money by avoiding labor costs.
  • Once the carpets and rugs have been cleaned, set up a shoe rack in your home’s entranceway to cut down on tracked dirt and debris.

Cleaning the garage

Summer fun can leave a garage looking like a toy store. Organize gear, toys and tools to make the most of the space.

  • Begin by shopping for heavy duty cleaning products, sturdy storage bins and hardware for hanging up bikes and equipment.
  • Make garage cleaning a family affair. Whether it involves golf clubs or bicycles, ask the "owner" of each item to contribute in storing it.
  • Make it fun by putting on some music. Take a break for ice pops or lemonade in the driveway.
  • Reward young helpers with some extra time outdoors once the garage is clean. Use this as a chance to encourage proper storage after playtime is over.
  • Wash the car while you have it in the driveway.

Refreshing the refrigerator

Don’t let your fridge get cluttered with expired food and old condiments. Organized food spaces encourage efficient meal planning and healthy snacking.

  • Set aside an entire afternoon for your fridge-refreshing project.
  • Clean the refrigerator on the day before trash pickup to avoid leaving food items outside for too long.
  • While you clean, keep a double-bagged trash bin near the fridge for quick disposal.
  • Read labels carefully and throw out anything that’s expired, and anything you know your family hasn’t touched in more than three months.
  • Use a cooler to store fridge items while you wipe down the inside of the fridge with a gentle cleaning product and a soft cloth.
  • When putting food and condiments back in the fridge, arrange them by type of food. Share your strategy with the family so that the fridge stays organized longer.

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