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Decluttering and Deep Cleaning Before the Early Spring

You might not recall, but when the groundhog popped his head out of his hole on February 2, he decided that spring will come early this year. That’s fantastic news if you are tired of the dreary skies, the cold and the need to stay cooped up inside — but it’s a bit stressful to hear if you haven’t been diligent about keeping your home clean since the winter started.

As spring approaches, you need to prepare your home for fresh air and sunshine, which is just another way of saying that you need to devote some time to a serious declutter and deep clean. To keep you on track for this early spring season, here’s a 20-day checklist will small tasks you can do before breakfast or after work.

Day 1: Dust

Recirculating air within your home tends to send dust, dander and other debris flying onto all your surfaces. Day one should be spent using dusting tools on any horizontal surface, including your floors, to trap potential allergens and purify the air in your home.

Day 2: Closet

Temperatures are already starting to warm up, so it is time to pack up your heaviest winter clothing and replace it with your spring and summer fits.Public storage in Sacramento, L.A., Phoenix and other warm cities tend to fill up fast with winter stowage, so you should reserve your unit soon.

Day 3: Cabinets

This day could be a long one, depending on how much you store behind closed doors. Every cabinet from your medicine cabinet to your linen closet should have stuff removed and sorted through. Anything you no longer want or need in the upcoming months should be purged or packed up.

Day 4: Shoes

Winter is tough on footwear. You need to go through your shoes to find pairs that didn’t survive the season. Some might do with cleaning or repairing, but others should be chucked.

Day 5: Appliances

Most people feast during the cold, dreary months of winter, and over time, your kitchen appliances tend to get grimy. You need to devote an entire day to scrubbing away grease and making every appliance shine.

Day 6: Car

You live in your car like you live in your home, and when spring comes, your car needs TLC, too. You can take your car to a carwash and get it detailed by pros, or you can spend an afternoon putting in the elbow grease yourself.

Day 7: Fridge

When was the last time you reached deep into your fridge to pull out those old containers of food? To make room for fresh, spring meals, you need to rid your fridge of the rotting and forgotten stuff at the back. You should also wipe down the shelves and rinse out the drawers.

Day 8: Bathroom

You should be cleaning your bathrooms at least once per week, which means this day should go fast. You can toss any bathmats in the wash and declutter your drawers and counters, tossing out expired products.

Day 9: Furniture

If you can, you should remove slip covers or upholstery and run it through the wash. If not, you can steam clean them or (if worse comes to worst) spray them with Febreze or some other freshening solution.

Day 10: Electronics

You need to physically clean your electronics, ridding them of fingerprints and crumbs, but you should also delete any programs and data that are no longer of use. You can use online cloud storage to protect valuable data you don’t need every day, like photos and personal documents.

Day 11: Junk

Believe it or not, it’s okay to have a junk drawer, even a junk cabinet in your garage or basement.

However, you do need to monitor your junk drawer, purging inessentials at least once per year.

Day 12: Windows

When it seems like the spring rains are done, you should spend a day cleaning every window around your home, inside and out. This includes second-story windows, which you might need to get out the ladder to access.

Day 13:Papers

Even in the digital age, it seems like we gather and hoard all sorts of paper. You should spend an evening going through your files, shredding any financial documents that are more than seven years old. Sentimental papers should go in a box in your storage unit.

Day 14: Storage

Whether you use your attic, your basement, your garage or an off-site unit, you should devote a day to going through what you have stored, organizing it and eliminating items you definitely don’t need.

Day 15: Pipes

Your plumbing gathers junk just like you do. If your drains are running slow, you can clean them by pouring hot water down your pipes, followed by baking soda and finally vinegar. You can repeat this process until water drains swiftly and smoothly.

Day 16: Decor

Snowmen and pine-scented candles are out — flowers are in. All seasonal decorations for winter and fall should go into a box in your storage area, to be replaced by décor appropriate for spring and summer.

Day 17: Vacuum

Carpets and rugs desperately need vacuuming at the end of winter, and you should put in the extra effort to move furniture around to get up last bit of dirt and dust. You should also vacuum in between the cushions of your furniture using your vacuum attachments.

Day 18: Fireplace

If your home has a fireplace, you should sweep up the old ashes and charcoal into a dustpan and toss them in the trash. You should also use a stiff brush to sweep ashes off the walls of the fireplace. When everything’s done, you can close the flue until next winter.

Day 19:Crafts

Some people tend to amass craft supplies like squirrels and nuts. If you haven’t done a certain craft in more than a year, it is time to let that craft (and all its related tools and materials) go. Then, you should organize your remaining crafts into a neat and tidy space.

Day 20:Bags

You might sensibly stash some things in travel bags to make packing easier — or you might use your bags as secret hiding places to hold onto items you aren’t ready to throw out. In either case, you can’t forget to go through your bags and develop a system for storing them.