A Happier Home in 10 Days: Let’s Kick Off the Apartment Therapy Spring Clean!

updated Oct 13, 2022
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

This year, we’re on a mission to help you tackle spring cleaning on your time. Each weekday until April 13, we’ll guide you through a plan to clean and organize different areas of your home, but you’ll have the flexibility to choose exactly what to work on and how long you have to dedicate to the job. Sign up with your email so you don’t miss a spot!

Spring really is the perfect time to dig in and refresh your space. After a long cozy winter of nesting indoors, opening your windows and cleaning your home feels like catharsis. A total renewal of the space and the spirit that sets you up to enjoy the warm weather (whenever it finally reaches you) and open up your home to yourself and the world outside.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be dreadful. It’s inspiring. Especially when you own the task, instead of letting it own you. That’s our mission this year — to take back spring cleaning.

Each weekday for the next two weeks, we’ll go together room by room and space by space to tackle a series of cleaning tasks. I’ll tee you up with the big, broad zone, then it’s your turn to decide what to focus on and how much of it to do.

Here’s how to make it work for you:

If you have a chunk of the day to dedicate to cleaning, choose the “1 day” task that morning and dig in (it depends on your space of course, but most of our “1 day” tasks can be scaled down into just a few hours, so you could jump in after school or work). The “1 hour” task is there as a bit of a Goldilocks — it’ll be a solid mission with a big impact, but not one that will take over your whole day. And if you’re especially busy and away from home one day, you can choose the 10-minute or 1-minute tasks (or both!) to accomplish a quick boost that will make your home just a little happier than it was before.

You can hack the program as much as you want to — handle multiple missions each day or remix the order to suit your schedule — what’s important is that you’re making progress towards your goal of a happier, cleaner home by summer.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Today’s Task: The Kitchen

Decide how much time you can dedicate to cleaning the kitchen today, then choose your micro-mission:

If you have 1 day…

Clean inside and out of your kitchen appliances. It’s all on deck: The oven, range, dishwasher, refrigerator and freezer. You could even handle small appliances like the microwave, toaster and coffee machine for extra credit. If you’re choosing this track, I think you should start with the filthiest first and work your way down, but I see the value in snowballing and starting with the easiest to clean, just for the satisfaction of checking it off the list. (You should definitely make a list!)

Here are some resources you might find helpful:

If you have 1 hour…

Do a fridge or freezer cleanout (or both, if you can handle that in an hour). Go systematically through the inside of your refrigerator clearing and cleaning. I find it helps to go shelf by shelf, taking everything off one shelf at a time and resting it on the counter for a minute.

Get rid of anything that’s very old or expired, and wipe down the shelf before replacing only the items that are still fresh and usable. As you’re placing items back into the fridge, it helps to keep a cloth in your hand and peek at the bottom of each jar or container—some of them might be in need of a quick wipe-down. Repeat with each shelf or section.

(If you’re not sure about the shelf life of your condiments, this post can help.)

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you have 10 minutes…

Wipe down your cabinet fronts. Grab your rag and cleaner or wipe of choice and work your way around the kitchen until every cabinet door has been cleaned. Vinegar or a baking soda scrub can help with especially stubborn grease, and you can use a toothbrush to give a detailed clean to your cabinet hardware if you’ve got the time.

If you have 1 minute…

Wipe down your garbage can and recycling bin. Use a rag or wipe to clean inside and out, or take them outside for a hose down and air dry, if that’s more your style.

The best part about cleaning with Apartment Therapy is the community of helpful readers. So I hope you take some time to participate in the comments: Tell us what you’re working on, ask any questions you have, and jump in to help other readers with their own struggles. We all have different tastes and skill levels when it comes to taking care of our homes, so the only rule is to be supportive!

So, what mission did you decide to tackle today?

If you haven’t signed up for email updates yet, what are you waiting for? We’re just getting started on the fun!