As locals are in spring-cleaning mode, here are tips for decluttering — and channeling your inner minimalist

Although a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse temporarily (and wonderfully) distracted many of us last week, it’s time to seriously refocus on a seasonal task: spring cleaning.

“Spring cleaning, although a huge task, is not only manageable but can be extremely refreshing and liberating,” according to lifestyle writer Megan Smith of Oakwood. “Spring cleaning can happen not only in our homes but in our lives as well. Ridding them of clutter, dust and mental junk can give us a fresh outlook and allow us the chance to let new and wonderful experiences in.”

Credit: Winter Freire Photography

Credit: Winter Freire Photography

Alicia Erwin of Huber Heights, who owns Preferred Cleaning Solutions, agrees.

“Cleaning is not only physically good for the body,” she said. “You also mentally feel better about your home and life when you’re done. It’s also nice to reward yourself when you’re done with a glass of wine, for example, while you admire your sparkling clean home.”

There’s pride involved.

“As daunting a task as spring cleaning can seem, it can also bring a sense of accomplishment,” Smith said.

Declutter first

The experts say decluttering and spring cleaning smartly go hand in hand. After all, who wants to vacuum or dust a living room when it’s largely littered with piles of old magazines, past-their-prime candles or coffee-stained throw blankets?

“This process of decluttering — not just sweeping, but the whole idea of removing possessions that we don’t need — is very renewing and refreshing,” adds Phoenix-based Joshua Becker, whose website and books help readers tackle the not-so-fun process of disentangling their abodes.

“As you clean, channel your inner minimalist,” Smith said. “Have a bag ready in each room and challenge yourself to fill it with unneeded items to donate. I like to keep a canvas bag by my front door and add things frequently to take to my local thrift store.”

The best way to declutter? Becker says tackle your home room by room — moving from the easiest to hardest spaces.

“Plus, the benefits of decluttering extend far beyond the springtime,” Becker says. “Spring decluttering results in a home that is easier to clean every week of every season. And owning less results in a home that is more calm and more peaceful every day.”

Whether you own or rent, large or small, spring cleaning should stand as a cornerstone in your annual rituals, according to Smith. “It affords you the chance to clear out clutter and dirt, re-arrange furniture, create a healthier environment and more thoroughly enjoy the space you call home.”

Getting started

An online search allows you to tap into helpful spring cleaning lists, according to Smith. Print one out (such as and customize it for your space, she says.A quick mental run-through of each room in your home will give you an overview of what needs to be done and help you formulate an accomplishable plan. Keep a notepad with you as you clean and list larger projects to tackle further along in the year.”

Likewise, Erwin suggests creating a playlist with songs that will get you moving and motivated as you refresh your home.

Tools of the trade

Smith and Erwin recommend taking a quick inventory of your cleaning supplies.

“Are you equipped with cleaners, rags, buckets, trash bags and a mop?” Smith said.

She recently purchased, for example, a small, handheld steam cleaner.

“I have become obsessed with using it to clean everything from my refrigerator shelves to my bathroom sinks and baseboards. It makes cleaning go more quickly.”

She also suggests keeping a small list of items — like air filters, replacement water filters and favorite cleaning supplies — on auto-delivery to help keep your home in shape in tip-top shape year-round. “This helps saves me money ... and unnecessary errands.”

Here are a few other go-to products the women suggest:

  • Microfiber cloths cut down on the waste that can accumulate from paper towels, says Smith, who purchases them in different colors from other dishcloths and towels in her home. “This lessens any confusion as to what is used for what.”
  • Erwin is a tried-and-true fan of Barkeepers Friend Cleanser, which she says can be used on the variety of surfaces: sinks, stovetops (glass or stainless steel), bathtubs and more. Additionally, she highly recommends Sprayway Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish to keep appliances shiny and fingerprint-free.

Room by room

Not surprisingly, some of us may find the prospect of spring cleaning downright anxiety-inducing. Therefore, stick to one room at a time “so you don’t get distracted,” Erwin said.

Smith adds: “Every room should receive the same basic cleaning; ceiling fans, walls, windows, baseboards, and floors. Clean each room beginning at ceiling level and ending at floor level. As you clean ceiling fan blades and brush down cobwebs, a year’s worth of dirt will tumble to the floor where you can sweep it up.”

Use this approach to clean your entire house, she says, beginning on the top level and working your way to the basement.

And have at least one window open in each room to circulate air as you work, Smith recommends.

Living room

As one of the most lived-in spaces of the home, the living room rightly deserves some extra TLC.

  • Move all furniture and clean under each piece, says Smith. Remove cushions and take them outside to air out.
  • Dust off drapes by either vacuuming them or taking them outdoors for a royal shaking.
  • Clear off all knickknacks and give them and the shelves a good dusting. “As you put them back, consider donating a few that no longer hold sentimental value,” she says. “Decluttering your bookshelves, china cabinets and mantels will instantly lighten and brighten your living space.”


Cleaning your kitchen will undoubtably take some elbow grease, but it is worth the extra effort, according to Smith. Here are a few pointers:

  • Clear the kitchen cabinets — one by one — and wipe each shelf with hot soapy water. If the shelves are lined with shelf paper, check to see whether it needs to be replaced. “As you put items back, consider whether that chipped jar, gifted logo mug from your Realtor, or quesadilla maker still in the box from your wedding four years ago needs to end up on your shelves again.” Add them to your donation pile and throw away broken items.
  • Move on to the refrigerator and freezer. Again, empty them out and use hot soapy water to clean every nook and cranny. “Throw away expired condiments and old food and add a new box of baking soda to both when you are done to neutralize odors,” says Smith.
  • If you can, Smith adds, pull out your refrigerator and oven to clean behind them. Wipe down cabinets, appliances, windows and handles as well as clean your toaster and range hood.


“Giving our bedrooms a good, deep cleaning is important on many levels,” points out Smith. “It not only creates a healthier sleep environment but by freeing your bedroom of clutter, you create a more harmonious space as well.”

Here is Smith’s process as she tackles bedrooms:

  • Start in the closet. “Inspect your clothes and shoes for holes, stains or rips that will prevent you from wearing them next winter,” she says. “It is also time to store your wool sweaters and turtlenecks and bring out the summer polos.” Donate items you never wore during the winter season. “Once your closet resembles a fashion week showroom, it is time to focus on the rest of the bedroom. Hundreds of those scary dust bunnies will be hiding under your bed and now is the time to exterminate them.”
  • Remove and wash all bedding. This includes the mattress cover, which should be washed as well. Consider taking your comforter or duvet to be professionally cleaned and change out heavy quilts for lighter, summer blankets.


The bathrooms are well-visited, of course, and require extra effort during spring cleaning to scale down grime.

Follow these tips to ease the process:

  • Detach the shower curtain and liner. More than likely you should replace your shower liner unless it has been hung in recent memory, according to Smith.
  • Wash the shower curtain and bathroom rugs and give the tub, tiles, grout, toilet, sink, and floor a really deep scrubbing.
  • Clear the medicine cabinet and check the expiration date on all bottles. Throw away old medicine and make a list of medicines to replace. “During this time I also take inventory of band-aids, bug spray, sunscreen, and antibiotic ointment that we will need for the upcoming warm weather,” Smith said.
  • Discard old and expired makeup, added Erwin, who also recommends cleaning makeup holders.


Lastly, give loving attention to the exterior of your space. “Clean up fallen debris around your outdoor space from a long, cold winter and give your trash cans a thorough rinsing out,” Smith said. “It is also a great time to touch up chipped paint on the front door and hang a cheerful spring wreath.”

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