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Tackling the rooms we ignore...spring cleaning style

Most Americans are not quite satisfied with their homes’ current “state of clean.”
Most Americans are not quite satisfied with their homes’ current “state of clean.”
Courtesy of Merry Maids

Tackling the Rooms We Ignore…Spring Cleaning Style! Guest post by Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids

When it comes to cleaning house, few people know more than Debra Johnson. Debra has more than 15 years experience as an expert house cleaner.
Courtesy of Debra Johnson

Spring is here and warmer weather is hopefully here to stay, but with that comes time for spring cleaning. Merry Maids set out to get the inside dirt on spring cleaning to see how consumers really feel when it comes to tackling the seasonal projects.

What did we find out? Most Americans are not quite satisfied with their homes’ current “state of clean.” The survey* revealed that the vast majority of consumers across the country – 88 percent – believe their homes could always be a little bit cleaner, but for more than two-thirds, spring cleaning is thought to be an overwhelming and time-consuming chore. In fact, 35 percent of consumers say there are some rooms in their homes that are so messy they avoid cleaning them altogether! Guilty as charged? Keep reading…

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a daunting project. There are easy ways to tackle those rooms and areas that are so easily ignored.

Let’s take a look at some of the rooms and areas around the house that typically get ignored and take it step by step. You’ll have a cleaner house in no time and before you know it, you’ll be outside sipping lemonade and soaking in the warm weather!

Home Office
Somehow the home office becomes the catch-all when we don’t quite know where to put things. The biggest thing when it comes to cleaning the home office is organization – everything needs a place. It may seem like a lot, but take it one task at a time. Perhaps your first goal is getting everything organized, then the next day you begin cleaning.

1. Start by sorting all the items in your office. Move any items that can be put away into a storage area in your home – either the attic or perhaps the basement. Consider placing these items in plastic bins so they are more manageable to store away.
2. Take the remaining items in the office that you don’t need and sort them into categories: donation and throw away items. Place any items that you wish to donate into a box or bin and take them to a donation center of your choice or call to have the items picked up.
3. Now the true cleaning can begin. Gather all of the equipment that you’ll need to clean the office. I typically recommend a vacuum with attachments or high duster, a microfiber cloth for dusting, all-purpose cleaner and, if you have a hard surface floor in your office, a bucket, floor tool and cleaning solution.
4. Remember to work from top to bottom – always complete dry work then move to wet work.
5. Don’t forget to dust – and don’t forget where to dust! That includes doors and door frames, window treatments, blinds, baseboards, light switch plates and any vents in the office. If a ceiling fan is present, dust the ceiling fans and blades. You should dry dust everything first and then wet wipe if needed (furniture gets dry dusted with a microfiber cloth and upholstery gets vacuumed).
6. Wipe and clean any glass surfaces, including a desk or side table, in your office.
7. The last step is the floor – vacuum the floors to remove any debris first and then wash any hard surface floors.

Mud Room
In many cases, everyone enters and exits the home through the mud room and quickly deposits whatever is in their hands. Again, it’s important to start by getting organized, so think about separating any items in the mud room into one of three categories: Donate, Throw Away and Return to its Proper Place. Put the items you want to keep into a box or plastic bin so they can be stored more easily in the right place. Maybe another family member can help put these items away while you continue to clean! According to the survey, half of parents – 49 percent – say their children will help them clean if they pay them to do so (perhaps it’ll be $5 well spent!).

Before you start putting items back where they belong, consider some of the following to help you maintain the cleanliness, and organization, of your mud room:

• Are there hooks on the wall to hang coats or book bags?
• Would a shoe rack help keep shoes organized in one place instead of piled on the floor?
• Is there a place for a large floor mat that might help trap dirt before it makes its way into the house?
• Are there baskets or bins available to place loose paper items?

Some of these items and organizational tools will go a long way in helping to keep your mud room presentable and ready to welcome guests.

Kitchen Appliances
There are some cleaning jobs that people are not likely to keep up with. According to the survey, 44 percent of consumers agree that they are least likely to clean behind and inside appliances. When it comes to tackling the kitchen and those big appliances, I always say prevention is the best cure.

By regularly cleaning kitchen surfaces and floors, there will be less debris that could end up under and around your appliances. Because the kitchen tends to be a high-traffic area, it’s helpful if you take five to ten minutes every evening to sweep the floor. To get the most thorough clean behind and around your appliances, I would recommend moving appliances away from the wall, if possible, and cleaning the area underneath. Once the appliances are out of the way, remove the dust and debris by sweeping, and then wash the floor with warm, soapy water and a microfiber cloth. If some of your appliances can’t be moved – no worries! Attach a microfiber cloth to a flat item, such as a yardstick, with a rubber band or twist tie and slide the cloth underneath and around your appliances. A dryer lint brush will also do the trick.

I always recommend cleaning underneath, behind and inside your appliances at least once a year to help maintain efficiency and to prevent any build-up of dust around fans and electrical components.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be an overwhelming project. By taking it one room or one task at a time, getting yourself organized, and getting your family involved, you’ll make the process more manageable for yourself and might even have a little fun along the way (and your kids may even make a buck or two!).

*2014 Merry Maids Inside Dirt on Spring Cleaning Survey

About Debra Johnson: When it comes to cleaning house, few people know more than Debra Johnson. Debra has more than 15 years experience as an expert house cleaner. After earning a degree from the University of Georgia and spending time in the finance and real estate business, Debra joined Merry Maids in order to have more time for her family. She quickly climbed the ranks at Merry Maids and became part of the corporate team in 2003. Today she directs the training program used by all Merry Maids franchises and she is nationally recognized expert on the topic of house cleaning.

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