Spring Cleaning: Start at the Top

March 19, 2015

Well it’s only a couple days away – the long awaited SPRING. So ready. Do you actually “spring” clean your house? I don’t usually. I do get the bug to declutter and clean a lot more this time of year, and I do try to do some deep cleaning, but sometimes it’s more early summer than spring. ;)
But I have a new passion for our house lately – and it’s funny saying that because I have always adored our house. But the changes we’ve made in the past year have made it even more us – and I’m especially excited about the changes in store for the kitchen. I’ve waited SO LONG to work on the kitchen and make it something I really love.
Anyway, I have come to appreciate our home even more. I didn’t really think that was possible, but I do. And I’ve treated it better lately. I mentioned on Instagram the other day that I’ve been able to keep the kitchen clutter-free for the past few weeks. Someone mentioned how much more we respect our spaces when we really, really love them. I think that’s true. I do think it’s getting older too (40 is coming this year – I keep forgetting and then it hits me) and my tolerance for clutter is dwindling every year.
So…long story short the house and I have rekindled our love affair and I’m treating it better than ever. Because of that I’m making a concentrated effort to really clean top to bottom this year. I’ve just started and it’s going to take a few weeks, but it feels so good to clean the places I rarely get to.
Whenever I clean at all, I always start at the top and then work my way down, and this is especially true when you’re deep cleaning. If you start at the bottom you’ll end up doing it all over again (as things settle) by the time you move your way up.
I started by getting all the little cobwebs from the top of each room – I just use my vacuum attachment:
spring cleaning tips
In all honesty it’s been a few years since I’ve done this one but the webs weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they would be.
While I was at it I did a quick sweep around the recessed lights in the ceiling as well – for some reason those attract them.
Next up – the vents. I used my attachment again and got the fan vents in the bathrooms (awfully fuzzy) and then the intake vent in our loft:
cleaning intake vents
That’s the before – you can’t tell but it had some decent fuzz as well. So nice.
If yours is really dirty you can take it off and run it through the dishwasher or of course take it outside and scrub it down.
We have a couple ledges in our home that I thought were so cool when we built and now I don’t know what to do with them so they sit empty. :) Other than the dust that is. The one above the book nook was grody:
book nook out of closet
While I was at it, I used the vacuum to get the tops of all the door trim, the tops of the doors (who knew? Yuck) and the panels on the doors. (I’ll wipe them down and actually clean those later.)
I had the ladder out so I tackled the lights. I use this little trick for the ceiling fan – spray the top of the blades, take an old pillow case and then swipe out towards the end. All the fuzz goes into the pillow case:
easy way to clean ceiling fan
Works every time!
So here’s one thing we don’t think about a lot – cleaning light fixtures makes a big difference on the amount of light that comes through. We have two lights that are WAY high up and after nearly 11 years the bulbs were finally burnt on one. Even before they burnt out though, I felt like the light was hardly letting off any light at all. It was so frustrating because it felt so dark.
We paid someone to come out and change out the bulbs (we thought they’d have to use a scaffolding but it turns out a really tall ladder worked) and while they were at it I asked them to do a quick wipe inside the lights. OH MY GOODNESS. It was amazing! We were laughing because the dust had probably cut the light that got through in half. The lights were so crazy bright that night we couldn’t believe it. And they just look a million times better too:
open staircase
Yes that fixture is ridiculously small for that huge space…someday it will be changed out. Low on the list. :) What matters is we can actually SEE when walking up the stairs again!
The difference was truly amazing, so I’m on a clean-all-the-lights kick now. They get pretty gross, especially those in the bathroom. What is it about the bathroom?:
wiping down light fixtures
I use a slightly damp microfiber cloth (light off) to wipe ours down. SO much better.
I do the same with the light bulbs in lamps (take them out first) – it really makes a difference on the amount of light that gets through over time. Gross:
spring cleaning, don't forget the bulbs
Now that I’m thinking of it – cleaning the lights would be a good one for “winter cleaning”  -- I need all the light I can get in those darker months.
Finally, many of you have asked how often I clean the trim I have on the walls in our house. The answer? Hardly ever. I just don’t. I never think to do it and they really don’t get that dirty. But for spring cleaning, it happened:
cleaning wood trim spring cleaning tips
I used the damp cloth along the tops and then the brush attachment for the lower parts. (I didn’t touch the baseboard yet though.)
I’m not done with all of these upper spots just yet – I’m about half way through the house. Honestly, it doesn’t take that long, at least the parts that use the vacuum. I got through each room pretty quick. When the music is on and the windows are open that helps things quite a bit too!
Do you ever do a deep cleaning of your house? Did I miss any tips? It feels good to take care of our place. It certainly deserves it. :)
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  1. What vacuum are you using? I am trying to figure out in the first picture how you got that up that high without your arm/hand being in the picture! Is the hose on the vacuum pretty 'firm'?

    1. Forgot to say I use that pillow case on the fanblade trick too...works WONDERS!

  2. Art work - the tops of picture frames and other things that get put on the walls , like your big clock. And, every few years, I have to wipe down the glass on the pictures - it gets filmy and then dust starts to accumulate.

    I like the fan trick - I'll try it the next time. And, if you are painting ceilings, use the long thin bags that the newspaper delivery folks use to protect your paper.

  3. Now that you have gotten the big layer of dust off most of these things, just make them part of your weekly routine. I learned this from Flylady. I bought a feather duster, and a microfiber duster with a long handle. I hit up the fans and the tops of the doorframes and all that kind of stuff every week when I dust. Then it never builds up and gets gross. :)

  4. If you have chandelier globes that come off easily I find running them they the dishwasher works wonders.

  5. I prefer to use Windex on my light fixtures. It makes them shine. I also like Swiffer dust clothes for door tops. It makes them easy to do them more often.

  6. I deep clean every January. I'm kinda down after the holidays so it helps keep me busy. I'm gonna take my vents off clean them and then spray paint them to freshen them up.

  7. I have the same rug as you in the master bedroom. I absolutely love it. How do you clean yours? I vacuum regular, but it is white and starting to show dirt.

  8. I wish blogs had an edit button for people like me who only catch their mistakes after we hit Publish, LOL! Never fails! You are blessed in that you do not get many cobwebs. If I let things go for just 2-3 weeks, I have lotsa cobwebs to vacuum, ugh!

  9. Thanks for the reminder! I have no problem remembering to clean my floors and eye level things, but I'm not good (at all!) at remember the stuff up high. I dont' even want to know the kind of dust and cobwebs that are up there!

  10. I have found that after I clean my baseboards if I wipe them with a dryer sheet, it cuts down on the amount of dust that collects there. I do try to do a big cleaning in the spring. I am having a baby shower at my house in two weeks so my beautiful white kitchen cabinets are going to get a good washing. While they are lovely, they show every drip and drop!!

    1. I've heard this tip about the dryer sheet, but I've never tried it. I think I'll add it to my cleaning to-do list.

  11. Confession: I'm avoiding cleaning right now by reading blogs... :D I always have big spring cleaning plans, and they always fall through. I'm putting together a big list of seasonal, monthly, and weekly cleaning and maintenance jobs, though, that I think will help me stay on track. They'll be up on my blog soon!

  12. Your comment: What is it about bathrooms? I had to chuckle at that. From years of professional cleaning I can answer that one. It's the toilet paper! Different brands are worse than others...their fibers create dust particles and then your precious hand held hair dryer blows it all around and when you deep clean you find them settled way up high. Next in line is baby or talcum powder...don't even get me started on that one. If not regularly cleaned you'd think there was dry wall dust left on the floor around the edges of the room. So now you know!

  13. You've definitely inspired me to want to deep clean our home, I'm sure it needs it!

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  14. We are just finishing up our spring break-each year I spring clean our tiny little house. Every corner gets cleaned, furniture moved, walls wiped down. Love this time of year but my body HURTS! :)

  15. I actually take all of my light fixtures apart and run the covers through the dishwasher every 2-3 years. They get amazingly disgusting and the dishwasher does a great job. You're right -- it *does* make all the difference.
    Funny story to go with your post: I have a FB friend with 4 kiddos of her own. She decided that this year they are going to clean a room a week and made a jar with all the rooms listed -- they will pull one out and tackle it each week. Her husband made fun of her on FB saying, "Yea, and if they are having so much FUN with this and ask if they can 'please pull more than one room this week?' we are going to say NO" -- hahahaha.
    Our house is on the market so deep cleaning was done a month ago. . .it's funny when you clean like that. . .I'm constantly wanting to touch up paint and actually PAINTED A ROOM this week -- happy Spring Break to my kids. And no, despite what others keep asking, it doesn't make me want to stay. . .I like my home to look like someone lives here. . .not the "starkness" we're living in right now.
    Love your blog. . .thanks for the chance to comment :)

  16. I never thought to clean the bulbs themselves! Great tip, thanks!


  17. Each time I have to change the lightbulbs in my ceiling fixtures, I clean the globe, too. (We have lots of bugs here in the south) ;-) That way, it gets done periodically, but not part of a big job like spring cleaning. (Actually, with lots of "littles" in the house, I find that I don't tackle ANY big jobs, so all my cleaning has to be done periodically as "little" jobs) :)

    1. oops--why in the world did this thing put so much space before the comment?? Sorry about that!


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