The good news: it's spring and you're inspired the clean. The bad news: there is so much to do! These eight must-have tips will ensure your spring cleaning work is efficient, effective and adds up to something more than a sparkling clean house.
Make a work plan and schedule time with your family. Spring cleaning is a task for the whole household to share, but if you expect even remotely cheerful or enthusiastic participation, it's only fair to give everyone plenty of advance warning about when and how they will be expected to pitch in and what time they can count on being sprung from their spring cleaning duties. While young children can be expected to help, consider recruiting a babysitter to mind toddlers or infants while you concentrate on cleaning.
Unplug completely. Shut down all computers, wireless networks, email, phones, phone ringers, TVs - anything that can create distractions (except for music!). If older children and teens will be involved, give them plenty of advance notice so they can inform their friends that they won't be texting, tweeting, gaming, status updating, video chatting or any other online socializing for a set number of hours.
Assemble an extraordinary toolkit. Spring cleaning demands extraordinary tools, for example long-handled mops, brushes and dusters to reach high places; plenty of high-absorbency cloths for drying; squeegees for windows; extra small brushes, plastic scrapers, and other implements for getting into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies; rarely used vacuum cleaner attachments such as power brushes and crevice cleaners; storage containers and trash receptacles for purging; and specialized (rentable) machines for tasks like stripping, deep cleaning, buffing floors and steam-cleaning carpets, upholstery and other textiles.
Move it! Each spring cleaning job starts with de-cluttering and moving. Move smaller, lighter items to another room. Pull larger pieces of furniture and appliances away from walls and into the center of the room. Remove curtains, drapes, blinds, pictures, clocks and anything else hanging on walls. Remove books, media and knick knacks from shelves.
Clean BIG and small. Spring is a time for cleaning all the things you rarely clean. On the big side, think ceilings, walls, windows, furniture, appliances, and storage spaces. On the small side, think nooks, crannies, corners, ridges, moldings, drip pans, vents, lighting fixtures, window and cabinet hardware, plants, inside and behind drawers, cabinets and other furniture.
Clean systematically. For each new room you attack, pick a starting point, choose a logical strategy (top to bottom, clockwise or counterclockwise, quadrant by quadrant, and so forth) then clean everything in your path. A multi pocketed cleaning apron stocked with a variety of tools will invaluable for helping you move efficiently and effectively from task to task within each area you are cleaning.
Reorganize functionally as you go. Clean with an eye toward the functional reorganization of your home. You will already be pulling everything apart; before returning items back to their customary places, ask yourself: Is this the best, most functional place for the item to be? Is it easy to get whenever I need it? Is it as near as it can be to where it is typically used? Is it taking up prime storage real estate when it is rarely used? If you do move things around, remember to inform all family members about the changes!
Freshen up your decor. Spring cleaning is a great time freshening up the look and style of your home. Before you start the heavy-duty cleaning, wash, polish, air, sun, fluff and otherwise freshen up any window treatments, linens, pillows and other home accents you will be taking out of storage. But don't stop there! With walls clean, furniture moved and pictures down, you will have done half the work needed to paint a room a new color or consider a new arrangement of your furniture. Before dedicating time to cleaning out your basement or attic, check out home-decorating web sites or magazines for inspiration and fresh ideas around how you might reuse things you already own but had placed into storage.