Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor
Short on the time (or motivation) to do a traditional spring cleaning? Try a spring home refresh instead. By focusing your cleaning energies on just a few key areas, and making a few simple and easy decor tweaks as well, your home will feel renewed and ready to greet the season. Read on for 10 ideas to get started.
1. Freshen up the front porch. Clean up any porch furniture and launder or replace cushions, sweep and mop the porch floor, and lay down a new welcome mat. If you find you've gotten into a cleaning groove, continue on by shining up the exterior windows and giving the siding a wash. Renting a power washer is not generally necessary (and can even harm some types of siding), but a hose attachment designed to clean siding can be useful. If it's been a while since you cleaned your home's siding, you may be pleasantly surprised at how vibrant your house color looks when you're done!
2. Launder rugs, slipcovers and curtains. When the soft furnishings of our home are fresh and clean, it gives the whole place a lift. Slipcovers should be replaced on the furniture while still slightly damp for the best fit. Small rugs can often be laundered at home; send larger ones out to be professionally cleaned. On a sunny day, drying white curtains outdoors on a line will help naturally whiten them. Pin them up, then enjoy a cold lemonade on the porch while they flap in the breeze.
3. Tidy the entry. Put away any lingering winter gear, handle piles of paperwork and clean up the newly uncluttered space. If your entry doesn't already have storage, add a few hooks, a rack or tray for shoes and a basket to collect stray items.
4. Clean interior windows, mirrors and light fixtures. We all know that shiny-clean interior windows and mirrors make for a lighter, brighter home -- but when was the last time you cleaned your light fixtures? Lamps, sconces and pendant lights can all accumulate quite a bit of dust and grime, eventually to the point that the amount of light given off is diminished. Gently wipe down light fixtures with a damp microfiber cloth to maximize illumination.
5. Make your kitchen counter a place of peace. It's natural for the kitchen counter to accumulate stuff. It starts innocently enough: a blender for smoothies, your coffee pot, a cutting board, a bowl of fruit. But there comes a point when a cluttered counter becomes a magnet for more clutter, and pretty soon your counter is swamped with stray rubber bands, incoming mail, hair ties and half-finished homework. Clear the decks and start fresh by removing everything from the counters. Put away anything that has a home elsewhere and clean the surface. Then selectively put back only the few items you use daily or find beautiful and inspiring. Better, isn't it?
6. Tweak a photo wall display. Changing up the art and photographs we display on our walls is a wonderful way to quickly shift the mood in a room. Consider swapping out a wall of colorful family photos for a serene arrangement of black and whites, or swap out plain mats for linen ones.
7. Plant a living centerpiece. Why fuss with flowers when you can have a green centerpiece that's just as interesting but lasts indefinitely? Plant one or more shallow containers with a variety of succulents and line them up along the center of your dining table for a fresh, spring-inspired look. Not loving the succulents? Try planting wheatgrass instead to create the look of a spring meadow -- perfect for nestling in colored eggs at Easter.
8. Order up some photo books or prints. With so many of our photos living on the computer (or in our phones) these days, having real printed photos can feel like a luxury! If you haven't printed any photos for a while, take some time to order books or prints. Be sure to back up your photos, and label files by month and year to keep things organized from now on.
9. Clear bedroom clutter. A clean and serene bedside makes for a more restful sleep. Remove everything from your nightstand (as well as anything piled on the floor beside it) and wipe down the table. Put away all those extra books, magazines, stray pens and old water glasses. Snip a fresh flower from the garden (or snag one from a larger bouquet in the house) and plunk it in a bud vase. Add a candle too if you like.
10. Set up your patio for outdoor living. Clean patio furniture with warm, soapy water and drag it into the sun to dry. While you're waiting, assess the state of your patio pillows and decor -- wash the pillow covers, put new candles in candleholders and lanterns and make a list of anything you'd like to add this year. Perhaps cafe lights, or a new throw?