Well, Spring has officially arrived. That means, in the true Victorian home, Spring Cleaning is upon us! The Victorians used a lot of harmful chemicals and products around their homes. I like to be as GREEN as possible, and try to make my own cleaning products whenever I can. I love the book Clean & Green by Annie Berthold Bond.
But where to begin? Well, after watching TV shows such as Mission: Organization, Clean Sweep and even Hoarders, I guess the first thing to do is...
Being a Victorian spirit, I guess I am a bit of a hoarder and just collect too much STUFF. I actually enjoy cleaning and organizing, so I always look forward to Spring, when I have a burst of energy and want to tackle the tough projects. A place for everything, and everything in it's place, as the saying goes.
I like to work one room at a time. Anything that doesn't belong in that room, remove it. Place your items in boxes or baskets designated for the rooms where these items will eventually go. When you're done decluttering the first room, move on to the next until the whole house is decluttered.
I start at the top. I like to use my Swiffer to clean any dust or cobwebs off the ceilings and walls. I use a microfiber cloth to clean the tops of the doors and woodwork. I work my way down to things hanging on the walls. Then I do all the furniture and knick-knacks. Dusting usually doesn't take very long, because it's done periodically anyway.
3) SWEEP and VACUUM
I use a Swiffer on the hardwood floors, then switch to my favorite vacuum of all time, my Sears Progressive canister with a HEPA filter! I use the carpet attachment for my carpeted rooms, the upholstery attachment for the upholstered furniture, and the long skinny attachment for cleaning the refrigerator vents and heating vents, and for getting under anything that is low to the floor. This is also a good time to vacuum out the dryer vent.
4) POLISH AND SHINE
This is a good time of year to polish up everything that is not done on a regular basis. Silver can be cleaned safely by filling a deep tub or sink with warm water. Line the bottom with aluminum foil, and add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Add your silver and let it sit for an hour. The tarnish will be attracted to the aluminum foil. Rinse with clean warm water and polish dry. For tough tarnish, mix a dab of white toothpaste with a drop of olive oil, and rub the tarnish off the silver with your hands.
For furniture polish, mix together 1/8 cup food-grade linseed oil, 1/8 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Rub into wood with a soft cloth.
5) WINDOWS AND GLASS
My favorite window cleaner is made by combining 1/2 teaspoon liquid vegetable-oil based soap. 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. After I spray it on the windows or glass, I wipe it off with newspaper. Your hands get a bit dirty from the newspaper, but the glass will sparkle! While you're at it, take down the curtains and wash them.
It's time to wash your winter blankets and clothing and store them away for the season. Just pull everything out of your clothes closet and dresser drawers, sort, and give anything you don't need to Goodwill. Treat yourself to some fresh drawer liners and sachets while you're at it.
Now is a great time to empty your pantry and refrigerator and dump anything you haven't used or has expired. Clean any hard-to-reach surfaces. Vacuum the vents of your refrigerator. Put a new box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors. For a super way to organize your fresh veggies and leftovers, buy clear glass containers for refrigerator storage. They stack well if they're all the same size, and you will be able to see what you have without opening everything first. Glass is the safer than plastic for storing food. You can also use Mason jars in the pantry for storage.
After baking all winter, it's time to give the oven a good cleaning. Spray the bottom surface with water and sprinkle on some baking soda. Spray the baking soda some more and let sit overnight. Then scrub with a soapy abrasive pad. No harmful chemicals or fumes!
8) ODDS and ENDS
Flip your mattress. Clean and repair bird feeders and bird houses for the garden. Use wood glue to tighten up any loose joints on your Victorian chairs and tables. Clean out the gutters. Remove covers on air conditioning units and clean filters. Mend any clothing and reattach buttons before storing. Start a compost heap. Start a cutting garden for fresh flowers on the table all summer!
Remember to use safe, natural products to clean your home. It's better for your health, the environment, and your wallet! You don't have to buy expensive green products that are commercially available. Making your own is a whole lot cheaper. Some great, basic products are very safe to use, and have been around since the Victorian days, such as Bon Ami cleaner, Arm & Hammer baking soda and washing soda, 20 Mule Team Borax.
A Right of Spring - Spring cleaning for today
Clean & Green by Annie Berthold-Bond
How to Clean a Rug - modern advise
Tour a Victorian House - great for kids of all ages! I loved this site!