Small space and apartment living can be a great experience in so many ways, but at the end of a long winter spent hibernating in the same few rooms for weeks on end, it’s natural to feel like your home could use a reset and fresh start. With everything that accumulates over just a few months, from dust to junk, spring is the perfect time to clean and organize your apartment for the year ahead.
Being somewhat experienced in the domestic realm myself, I figured I’d share some of my favorite tips for an efficient, exhaustive, and maybe even fun apartment cleaning experience.
Set Aside Time
Let’s be real: There’s never a shortage of excuses for why your next task can’t just wait until tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that… Life happens, and sometimes you’re too tired or busy to accomplish everything you want to do in a given day. When it comes to spring cleaning, you’ll be more productive if you carve out a specific amount of time (ideally a whole day or weekend) for the explicit purpose of tidying. Plus, it gives you a chance to prepare accordingly.
Have a Plan of Attack
Maybe you have a lot to do and a less-than-ideal amount of time to get it done. The best way to cut down on wasted time is to think through and plan out exactly what your cleaning journey will look like. Without a plan, you could end up running around erratically, getting side-tracked in the middle of half-completed tasks and extending the overall amount of time it takes to finish everything. The number one rule for a deep apartment cleaning session is to go room-by-room, starting with the places that make the most sense or require more upfront work and not leaving that room (figuratively) until the work is finished. This will also help you schedule your time better.
Before you can get into the nitty gritty of spring cleaning, you should declutter and organize. It may sound frightening to pull yourself out of a winter-induced malaise and take a long, hard look at the person you’ve become, but at some point you’re going to have to consider all of your belongings and decide which ones are worth keeping and which ones need to be stored or shipped off to greener pastures (far away from your apartment). While you’re at it, consider the ways that an adult loft bed could help you declutter and save space in your apartment.
Store Winter Clothes
Depending on how much you enjoy curating your wardrobe, living in a place with drastically different seasons can be a lot of fun or a total hassle. Winter clothes - coats, boots, the works - are much bulkier than their summertime counterparts, and some apartments simply don’t have the space to keep them easily accessible all year long. One of the first major tasks to handle when spring cleaning is finding a compact, out-of-the-way place to store your seasonal gear.
Cold air means closed windows and whatever combination of central heat, electric space heaters, and cozy blankets you need to configure to stay comfortable. Unfortunately, totally cutting off your apartment from the Great Outdoors is bound to cause a more rapid and heavy accumulation of dust. Before you can really deep clean, make sure to thoroughly remove this new layer of grime from every surface - including ceiling fans, lightbulbs, and windowsills - before wiping them down and reorganizing things on or around them. Don’t be shy about moving items or furniture to track down every last dust bunny.
Clean Out the Fridge
When you’re stocking up for the winter, it’s easy to misjudge exactly how much and what you will need. That is to say, when it’s time to start spring cleaning, your fridge will probably have at least a few items that are at or past their Use By dates and ready to be culled from your collection. Set aside a decent chunk of time to remove everything from the refrigerator, take stock of what you will and won’t (and can’t) use, and while it’s all out on the table (literally), give the inside a good scrubbing.
Don’t Forget the Small Stuff
Even living in a smaller space, it’s possible to accumulate a lot of stuff in a short amount of time. That means plenty of things and places for dirt and dust to collect. It can be easy to rush yourself through tasks (especially the further along you are), but remember that every part of your home deserves a bit of attention and care. In case it can help you, here are some things I tend to forget about when cleaning: dusting and wiping each individual blind, scrubbing baseboards, wiping the inside of the microwave or toaster oven, testing smoke detectors, and cleaning the inside of the washing machine (here’s a handy article).
Rock N Roll All Day
Maybe cleaning doesn’t quite match the excitement of, well, a great many other activities, but that doesn’t mean it has to just be a chore. There are ways to make it fun. Personally, I do that by playing my favorite music or listening to podcasts. It also helps to have a friend, roommate, or partner to share in the workload and spend some quality time with with you sweep and scrub (even if it’s just talking on the phone). Set specific goals for yourself and plan out rewards that you look forward to for when they’re accomplished. Depending on the time of day, you could even turn your spring cleaning into a drinking game. Just make sure you’re still able to function and get everything finished!
If you finish cleaning and still feel like you can and want to do more, check out these tips for how to maximize your space more efficiently in a small apartment.