Time For A Refresh

Spring is in the air! The birds are singing, the trees are blooming, the air is crisp, and the days are a bit brighter. It’s no wonder we are often inspired to freshen our living spaces during this beautiful time of year. Even if you are still getting used to the responsibility of your own house cleaning as a young adult living away from your parents, you just might find the process to be rewarding and, dare we say it, enjoyable.

A good dose of spring cleaning can be a wonderful way to enhance your experience of the rest of your semester, as well as an opportunity to reflect on what you have been up to over the last few months. Taking the time now to clear out messes and cleanse your surroundings can also serve to refresh your mind and spirit. A clean living space is far more conducive to lower stress and a suitable study environment. Who wouldn’t want to bring that kind of positive energy into finishing the semester with strength and pride?

Below are some ideas and tips you might like to try. As you and your housemates go about restoring the cleanliness of your unit, you can make it fun. You might discuss a list of what chores to address and then break into teams or create a game to complete the process by a certain date. You can then celebrate and appreciate one another and the achievement you made together. Listening to music or a recorded lecture as you do your housework can also help keep your mind lifted as you pass the time more quickly and pleasantly.

Where To Start?

It might feel overwhelming to get started. If so, you can follow these suggested steps. Once you get going, you might even find it so satisfying you won’t want to stop. Try to be strategic in your process. For example, you can be running loads of laundry and dishes while attending to other household tasks to save time overall. You can also choose to dust and wipe down surfaces before vacuuming or sweeping so that you avoid brushing crumbs and debris onto a freshly cleaned floor. Keep the finish line in sight! As you move through your tasks, your place will feel much more inviting, peaceful, and light.

Your Bedroom

Let’s begin by focusing on the space that is all your own: your bedroom. You may spend a lot of time here or mostly just the time you spend sleeping. Regardless, bedrooms tend to gather clutter and become disorganized rather quickly. Prioritize tidying this area so you have a welcoming personal sanctuary to come home to for study, relaxation, and rest.

Wash Sheets

It is easy to forget how much time we spend in bed since we are asleep for a lot of it. However, those sheets should be washed every week or two. It is better for your health and clean sheets feel amazing!

Make the Bed

Your bed is the focal point of your room. Starting with a clean and made bed will quickly make a big difference in how your bedroom looks and feels.

Organize Schoolwork, Books, and Papers

Take some time to put your books on a shelf or stack them neatly. Organize your school notes, files, and binders so you know where to find everything when you need it. Finally, deal with any other papers that have been piling up (mail, brochures, receipts, etc.)

Helpful hint: Papers can be digitized by taking pictures on your phone so you can throw away the paper, but keep the information. Just remember to organize your digital files as well for easy reference.

Gather and Wash Dirty Clothes

The washing and drying are the easy steps, aren’t they? It’s the folding and putting away that can be tedious. Here is an idea for getting it done painlessly: challenge yourself to finish putting away your clothes in the time it takes to listen to your favorite album or watch an episode of a favorite show. Not only are you accomplishing a big task, but you are also treating yourself in the process. Win-win!

Return Things to Their Proper Place

Take a look around. You have already come so far! Now, what is still out of place? Take a few moments to put everything away in its proper place. Once you have addressed this detail, your bedroom is reset. Appreciate this moment with a deep breath and a sense of satisfaction.

The Bathroom

For a good bathroom cleaning, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper supplies. You might even pay attention to which products are the most environmentally friendly and which contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin unless you protect yourself with gloves and careful use. Here is a checklist to get you started on what you will need:

  • Toilet bowl cleaner and brush
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Multi-surface or bathroom spray cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper towels, rags, and sponges

When cleaning the bathroom, be mindful of your process. It is probably not a good idea to scrub your sink where you brush your teeth with the same rag you just used to clean the outside of your toilet bowl. Therefore, use separate rags for these areas and be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly when you are done.

Here is a helpful guide to getting the bathroom into shape:

Gather and Wash Towels, Rugs, and Bath Mats

Freshen up these commonly used essentials. Remember to include your hand towels, washcloths, and any fabrics that can be laundered. Get all of this going in the wash while you tackle the rest of the bathroom. Any damp towels that don’t need to be washed yet should be hung on the towel rack to dry and prevent mildew.

Wipe Fixtures

Use a rag and spray cleaner to wipe down faucets, handles, and countertops. An old toothbrush can come in handy to clean small and hard-to-reach spaces. Helpful hint: Use a permanent marker to indicate the toothbrush is now for bathroom cleaning and keep it with your cleaning supplies to avoid confusion in the future.

Clean Sink and Toilet Thoroughly

To clean the sink and outside of your toilet, you might choose to use a rag or a sponge. Remember to scrub the drain of the sink and to clean around the sides and back of the toilet where dust tends to gather. Also, remember to clean under the toilet seat. If you plan to re-use the rags and sponges again for your next cleaning, be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly. You can mark these with permanent marker as well so there is no mistaking what they have already been used on. You might also choose to simplify the process by using disposable paper towels instead.

For the inside of the toilet bowl, apply the toilet bowl cleaner around the inner rim and use a toilet brush to scrub the entire inside of the bowl. Flush once or twice after scrubbing, giving the brush a good rinse as the bowl refills. You can let the brush drip dry into the toilet by resting the handle between the bowl and the seat for a few minutes, then return the brush to its holder.

Clean the Shower

Choose an appropriate cleaning product and sponge to wipe away soap scum and mildew. Rinse and dry your shower. Keep your shower clean longer by getting in the habit of using a squeegee or towel to dry off the tub and shower walls after each use.

Clean the Mirror

Use a cloth or paper towel and glass cleaning spray to wipe down your mirror. Use consistent strokes either up and down or side to side to avoid streaks. Give yourself a smile. The spots on your reflection are gone and you look extra brilliant in your freshly cleaned bathroom!
Well done! Perhaps top it off with a spritz of room spray or set up an essential oil diffuser to keep this room smelling great.

The Kitchen

Depending on how much you and your housemates use and clean your kitchen, this could take the longest or the shortest amount of time to clean. The most helpful habit we can develop for maintaining a clean kitchen is to rinse dishes and put them in the dishwasher right away after cooking and eating. This way, food remnants will not have a chance to dry onto the dish, saving you extra scrubbing work later. You will also avoid needing to deal with the chore of a big pile of dishes if you regularly handle your dirty dishes right after each use.

Here are some more steps to give your kitchen the Spring-time spruce-up it deserves:

Check the Fridge

What expired food or old leftovers can you toss? Remember to check with your housemates before tossing anything that isn’t yours if you aren’t sure it needs to go. Refresh your fridge by wiping down the shelves and bins.

Wash Dishes

After emptying old food from the fridge, you might have some containers you can add to the dishwasher. You might as well wash the glass plate inside your microwave while you’re at it!

Wipe Down Counters and Appliances

Clear everything off your counters to clean the surface from corner to corner with a spray cleaner and rag. Consider using an antibacterial disinfectant kitchen spray on your counter surfaces to make it sanitary for food preparation.

Use a damp soapy sponge to wipe down the sink, stove, oven, and other appliances such as your microwave. Rinse and wring out the sponge and wipe the appliances again to collect the soapy water, leaving them sparkling clean.

Other Shared Living Spaces

This just leaves the living room, entryway, and any other shared living spaces we have yet to cover. After all your effort throughout the rest of your apartment, this part will feel like a breeze.

Take a moment to put away anything that is out of place. Use a cloth or duster to wipe shelves, desks, window sills, and other surfaces collecting dust. Vacuum, sweep, and mop the floors as appropriate throughout your unit including your bedroom, the kitchen, and the bathroom. Finally, take out the trash and recycling and be sure to replace the liner.

You did it! Your spring-cleaned your whole apartment! Hopefully this article has helped you and your housemates discover some useful tips and fun ways to make the process of spring cleaning a rewarding team effort. Now for the best reward of all: getting to enjoy your cleansed living space!