Even though it may still be cold outside, spring (they say) is on its way! And in many households, this means it's time to throw out the old to make way for the new. This tradition of cleaning up during spring is not only carried out in our corner of the world. The Chinese, for instance, clean their homes in anticipation of the New Year (also known as the Chinese Spring Festival) in an effort to rid their homes of last year's bad luck. Once the cleaning is complete and the New Year begins, they do not sweep their floors for a few days - lest they sweep away the good luck. Iranians also scour their homes in preparation for their New Year, which arrives in March. They call it "shaking the house." To help you join in this worldly tradition, here is a spring cleaning checklist of items that might get overlooked, so you won't miss a spot.
• Clean doormats. These are meant to catch dirt from shoes before guests enter your living space, but if the doormats themselves aren't clean, than their purpose is defeated.
• Scour garbage cans. Even if you line them with bags, garbage cans need a thorough clean. Empty the cans and fill with hot, soapy water and let soak.
• Wipe ceiling fan. These things are magnets for dust but, because they're harder to reach, they're often overlooked during our regular cleaning routine.
• Clean kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. Place every item on the counter and throw away anything that's passed the expiry date, and combine what's left of any "duplicates." Wash the empty cupboards and refrigerator before replacing the items you're keeping.
• Vacuum furniture. Remove all furniture cushions and vacuum up the dust and crumbs. (Check for coins, first!)
• Dust shelves. Remove books, photo frames and knickknacks from shelves and wipe down the shelf surface. Dust the items before returning them.
• Clean your vehicle. Nowadays we are spending tons of time in our vehicles, commuting to work, running errands, and chauffeuring the kids to school and extra-curricular activities. So it makes sense to spend some time to make them clean and organized. Dust the dash, wipe out drink holders, remove clutter from the glove compartment and vacuum floors and seats.
• Green Tip: A mixture of equal parts vinegar and water is a great natural alternative to chemical cleansers, and can be sprayed on windows, glass, ceramic, countertops, etc.