Ah, seasonal cleaning. Whether you’re tidying up as part of your spring cleaning routine or you’re just getting in your annual indoor/outdoor deep-clean, the list of action items can seem daunting. Still, you’re nothing if not thorough—instead of letting the dread build while you procrastinate for a few more weekends, clear your calendar, put on a Saturday morning cleaning playlist (I recommend a mix of Sade, Mariah Carey, or Whitney Houston, a trio that always motivates me to dance while I dust), and get down to work.
Ahead, 11 chores to make sure you check off your list at least once/year—including one that you probably haven’t done in years.
1. Change The Batteries
There are a ton of things in your home that need batteries, but only a few require tending to before they run out. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are two of them. Swap them out yearly—even before they begin to chirp—then grab some backups for things like remote controls, fans, or other battery-powered items in your home. You’ll be grateful when something gives out in the middle of the night and you’re short a single AAA.
2. Change Out Your Filters
Same goes for any filters—like the air filter in your heating a cooling system. If you use any portable air or water purifiers, now’s the time to swap those out, too. It can dramatically change the quality of air you’re breathing and water you’re drinking. Now’s also a good time to check your dryer vents, too.
3. Move The Furniture
Short of a full-scale room renovation, when was the last time you moved the couch just to clean underneath it? Rearrange any furniture long enough to clean any hard-to-reach places.
4. Swap Out Your Wardrobe
If you live in an area that requires a seasonal wardrobe swap, now’s the time to do it. Throw anything that you won’t need for the next six months into storage—but not before dry-cleaning, if necessary. Inspect anything you had stores for stains or holes that you might need to deal with before sending a whole new wardrobe into a possible moth infestation. While you’re going through everything, make sure you set aside anything you might want to donate—then make a point to drop it off within 36 hours.
5. Get Pests Under Control
Speaking of vermin, now’s the time for a routine cleaning. Get a professional to take care of any new cracks, seal up or caulk anywhere something can live, and call in the professionals to do some routine pest control.
6. Wash Windows and Screens
Even if your windows don’t *look* dirty, small bits of dust and pollen can live in the trapped space between your window and the screens and wreak havoc on your health. Take the screens out, hose them down, and give both the glass and any panes a good wipe-down before reinstalling.
7. Check The Gutters, Roof, & Outdoor Spaces
This one might take a few hours—and a professional—but make sure you’re cleaning your gutters at least once annually, lest you want more issues down the line. Now’s a good time to stop and survey the rest of your property, too.
8. Organize The Garage and/or Shed
I recommend setting aside about 3-5 hours for this, mostly because setting aside an entire day often feels intimidating; setting a time constraint can motivate you to get it done quickly and efficiently. Go through any storage bins, dust off any major appliances like a lawn mower or leaf blower, and make sure your gardening tools are organized and clean.
9. Wash Your Curtains
I recently learned that some people never, ever do this. Like, not once. At least once per year (but ideally quarterly), take your curtains down and wash them in whatever manner is appropriate for the material. (For anything with box-stitching or pleats, you may need to drop them off at the dry cleaner.) If you haven’t brought your duvet in a while, now’s a good time to launder that, too.
10. Steam Clean Carpets
Even if you vacuum faithfully every week, and even if you’re a shoes-off household, trust: Your carpets are filthy. I was convinced I didn’t need this until I moved a table that’s sat in the same corner of my bedroom for years, and then I couldn’t get it done fast enough. Carpets are inherently filthy!
11. Go Through Your Medicine Cabinet
Most people forget that cleaning includes the medicine cabinet, too. Empty everything in there, clean it out, then go through old prescriptions or medications and toss anything that’s expired (or is about to expire). Make sure you purchase replacements—and backups—ASAP.