Spring Cleaning 101

It’s a perfect day for spring cleaning 365 days of the year. Much to everyone’s surprise you can actually spring clean all year long. I know.  Breaking news.


Kind of.  We woke up to a raging snowstorm in Southern Ontario this morning. Yet for some reason, I still felt like spring cleaning. My guess is, it’s because I figure if I start spring cleaning, spring might actually come.   It’s the exact same reas oning that prompts me to stop wearing my winter coat from about February 17th. I’m generally close to hypothermic for the last month and a half each winter.

My Spring Awakening plan hasn’t worked thus far, but perhaps I’m just not being extreme enough. Next February I plan to give up winter boots, heating and any recipe that resembles a chili or stew. Plus I’ll wear flip flops for all outdoor excursions.

Give that a go and see what happens with the weather.  I get the feeling Spring is laughing it’s head off at us in Ontario right now.  Spring’s a bit of a jerk.

Anyhow, I’ve compiled a list of 3 things you can do in an hour or less to help kick start your Spring Cleaning motivation.   These are 3 of about a billion things that need to be done.  But … they’re 3 things that will have a great big, satisfying impact!  Oh!  And none of these things involve wearing flip flops or frostbite.


Spring Cleaning You can Accomplish in Under an Hour!


Clean the tops of things.

Being of a diminutive stature, I can’t see a lot of what other people can.

Things like top shelves, or the tops of lamps for instance.

As you can see, the left side is still dirty and dusty, the right side is cleaned.

I prefer the clean side.


Clean your light switches.

Yeah, so um, I really debated about whether or not to show you this picture.

It’s a real picture of a real light switch in my house.  Honest to God.

It’s not the light switch from a back alley men’s shelter.

It is not the light switch from a hog rendering plant.

It is the light switch from my kitchen.

To be fair, (to me) the switch is in a bit of a difficult to reach place, so I don’t clean it as often as I should.

In case that wasn’t clear to you.

Most of my other switches I wipe down every so often.

This one I don’t see, so I don’t wipe it down as often as I should.

In case that wasn’t clear to you.


Wipe down your switches (I used a Magic Eraser and a toothpick for an extra good result).

Re-align your screws so they’re even and level.

Touch up your screws with either white paint or white nail polish.

Little effort, HUGE impact.



Touch up chipped paint.

This particular chest of drawers in my kitchen takes a beating because it’s where I shove 2 very heavy pans.

Every so often, as I’m shoving the pan in the drawer, I miss and hit the chest.  It’s usually because my arm is so tuckered out from throwing guck at my light switch all day long.

If you take a look around your house, there’s probably at least a dozen places that could use a quick touch up.



To touch up painted furniture first apply a quick coat of primer, let it dry and then touch up with the original paint.

I just used a tiny little brush like you get with a paint-by-numbers kit.




Again, little effort, HUGE impact.


Wipe down grimy doors and walls.

With everyone inside the house all winter, things are bound to get filthy.

Take a quick look at your doors, doorknobs  and walls and give them a rub down with a damp cloth.  On particularly stubborn areas rub lightly with a Magic Eraser.




And once more for the win … little effort, HUGE impact.

Obviously, this is just an elementary Spring Cleaning list.  There are all kinds of things to do for Spring Cleaning, but when you think of it as a big, HUGE job you tend not to do it.  You just think about it, worry about it, decide there’s just toooo much to do and you don’t do any of it.  If you just think of doing 3 tasks at a time it’s a bit more manageable.

Now that I’ve shattered the perfect image you all have of me and shown myself to be a filthy, little pig, I implore you to do these 3 things today.  You really can do all of these tasks in under an hour.     And I have a hunch if  EVERYONE does it, we might just kickstart Spring’s ass right into gear.

Although to be perfectly honest with you, I’m not entirely certain Spring has an ass, or just is one.


For those of you who also love cleaning and the Magic Eraser … watch me try to remove blue Sharpie from a white wall with one!



  1. Patricia Englund says:

    I used to use the magic eraser until someone told me there was formaldehyde in them. Have you heard this?

    • Karen says:

      No I hadn’t, but it’s possible. Even probable. Formaldehyde is everywhere and in everything (including ourselves.) O.K., it’s not in everything, but it’s a very common “ingredient”. ~ karen!

  2. Cat says:

    Every other year I clean the grout in my kitchen floor with baking sofa and vinegar, using old tooth brushes I save. It’s unbelievable what a difference it makes. I use the aforementioned products as we have two cats we want to keep from harm.

  3. karen hedges says:

    HI Karen,
    I used to get your blog but it stopped coming. I’d like to resubscribe. Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen! It looks like you accidentally unsubscribed in July. I’ve sent you another subscription confirmation notice so when you get it, just click on the email to get your subscription up and running again. :) ~ karen!

  4. Laura Bee says:

    Today I discovered my dishwasher has a filter. Won’t tell you how long we have lived in our house. Ick. Going to wipe some things down & – ick – need to wash the cat’s nose prints off the windows too.

  5. marilyn says:

    i too love the magic eraser but they fall apart so fast!

    • Karen says:

      Marilyn – If you’re cheap like me you probably already do this, but I tend to cut the Magic Eraser in half. That way you don’t waste a whole one. If I just have one little smudge I just cut off a corner and use it. Seems to help make a block last longer. ~ karen

  6. Sarah P says:

    Ha! I do the same thing with my winter coat! After the brief warm spell we always get in February, I stay with my spring coat… and we had snow here in Boston this week, too. I’m cold all the time.

    I also realized around the end of January that my long-missing snow boots are never going to be found, but I figured “winter’s almost over, so there’s no point getting boots until next year.” It was wishful thinking that has resulted in cold wet toes many times over.

  7. Ruthy Sue says:

    That light switch makes me feel so much better about my house! I also have hard-to reach switch (it controls the dishwasher-long story) that probably looks about the same. I’ve added it to my weekend do to list.

    BTW, Karen, I absolutely love your site. I am a religious reader of it. Thanks for all of your posts!

  8. lori says:

    Ok now that you made me totally exhausted. I’ll think I’ll just move on. he-he No I will get at and just try and get some things put back where they belong then do the hour of cleaning that you suggested. Thanks for the inspiration!
    love your blog!!

  9. Roxana says:

    Carol_Anne was right on spot! I have no clue how to clean them and the suggestion posted by Alyssa confused me even more. Put them where? :)

    • Lisa says:

      I think Alyssa is talking about taking them off the window and taking them to one of those self-service car washes. They have brackets on the walls to hang your floor mats so you can blast them with the hose. I never thought about bringing other items there. Alyssa must be a genius!

  10. Bill Grigg says:

    We’re deep into spring in BC. Crocuses are up, and the daffodils are budding out. So are the trees.

    I’ve been slowly spring cleaning for the past couple of weeks, but now it’s time to get in the yard and get grubby.

    • Alisha says:

      Ooo! I spied full bloomed rhododendron and lavetera yesterday in Vancouver! Spring makes me a happy friggin’ camper.

      • Karen says:

        Alisha – If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were gloating. You *did* see the picture of my window to the winter wonderland, right? (: ~ karen

  11. Yvonne says:

    I can’t believe you re-aligned the screws!! Toothpicks?! Brilliant! I’m going to go lie down now. Tired after just reading about your spring cleaning….

  12. Asheyna says:

    Love the blog! I wandered over here through a series of highly fortunate events and your style rocks!

    Thanks for the Spring Cleaning tips, I’m currently moving which is a spring cleaning of it’s own but I look forward to trying out your tips on my new place!

    • Karen says:

      Asheyna! Thanks so much! And welcome to the site. Next week you have Spring wreaths and Easter decorations to look forward to. And probably some swearing. ~ karen

  13. Cheryl says:

    Your posts generally make me laugh out loud, and this one is no exception. I live in Wisconsin where we, too, received a gift of snow & ice after spring was leading us on with warm winds last week. I felt like you were calling me out on my spring cleaning – it is so MASSIVE that I have been just standing and looking at everything but have not lifted a finger to start yet. It’s too MASSIVE. I will try your method and pick 3 small steps… like, eat the candy out of that jar so I can wash it.

  14. Brittany says:

    LOVE Magic Erasers!! I use them all the time to clean my walls! I do agree with Pam’a though… they disintegrate waaay to fast!

  15. I actually *snorted* with laughter about the light switch. Back alley men’s shelter! Hog rendering plant! Your brain cracks me UP.

  16. Sharon says:

    Thank you for all the before pictures, especially the light switch. I feel so much better now.

  17. Jacque says:

    Oh crap…. I forgot that it was spring cleaning time again. Thanks for ruining my beautiful spring (seriously.. it’s like 80 here!) with thoughts of horrible housework! Oh well… I guess it gets me out of the “Yellow Fog” of pollen that is currently attacking the southern United States! :-/

  18. pve says:

    Good thing you were not arrested for all that dirt you were hiding.
    Nothing like speeding or spring cleaning to blow away the dust and the dirt.

  19. I love the magic eraser!! I have white walls now and can tell that they are going to keep me busy since I have three little ones. What was I thinking :)

  20. Carol-Anne says:

    Love Magic Eraser! Hopefully you will include how to clean ugly plastic mini blinds once they’re past the just need a dusting stage in your Part II cleaning post… hint ;0)

    • Alyssa says:

      Take them to the carwash, hang them up where the floormats go, and blast’em. :)

    • Rea Niece says:

      Carol-Anne, I take mine outside and hang them from a sturdy tree branch, spray scrubbing bubbles or some other type of foaming cleaner. When that stuff is done cleaning, I spray them with the water hose. If they are especially dirty, it might take a second round. Let them dry completely! Works for me.

  21. Whitney says:

    I’m sad for your frozen Ontario spring. It was a bonafide spring day in beautiful BC today. And what did I do? I washed the walls, wiped the switches, swept the dust bunnies (formed entirely of cat hair btw), and dusted places I had forgotten existed. To be fair, I’m moving so this was more move cleaning than spring cleaning but it seemed appropriate.

  22. Laura says:

    If it were possible to post photos on the comments I’ll bet that everyone else’s light switches photos look just like your before shot. & I never even thought to align the screws! geez.

    • Sheila says:

      Yeah, that aligning screws thing? It just put Spring Cleaning on whole other level. *sigh* When I get around to Spring cleaning, I’ll be all OCD on the screws. Thanks Karen! ;-)

  23. Norell says:

    Your list includes the exact things that are on my list right now. I am shocked at how dirty our doors are. We don’t have children at home anymore – how can 2 adults create such a mess.

    This week I found another place I had obviously not put on any list. The bottom drawer in my freezer got off the track this week (probably because it was filled to overflowing with things I didn’t know I had). I pulled it out and saw a science experiment in progress behind & under the drawer. I do clean my frig & freezer. Really I do!!

    • Karen says:

      Norell – Ah yes … the under/around the fridge/freezer cleaning. I plan to put up a Spring Cleaning Part II in a couple of weeks. Perhaps that’ll be on it. :) ~ karen

      • Rita says:

        Karen, A most important part of cleaning your fridge is the door seals. Gunk gets trapped in between the ridges from spilled food and the build-up will ruin a tight seal wasting energy. If left undone, the rubber\vinyl splits at the seams and must be replaced. You may have to use a Q-tip with a mild cleaner to get in there. It is a tedious task but to do once a year is worth it. Rita

  24. Pam'a says:

    I also love me some Magic Erasers. I just wish they didn’t turn to crumbs so fast…

    And Karen, people pay BIG MONEY to get their painted drawers all chipped up like your “before” picture. I say leave them alone and proudly display your distressed piece! ;)

  25. Lynne says:

    I too love Magic Erasers !! I finally found something that would remove the yucky stuff from the fridge handle and pretty much the rest of the house. Now if only it would remove all the snow from my driveway that would truly be magic !

  26. Adrienne Audrey says:

    The magic eraser is my favorite cleaning tool. It really is magical

  27. Sue says:

    Magic Erasers rock. I’ve also recently tried something called the Ultimate Cloth that really does clean everything (including windows, mirrors, stainless steel appliances) with only water and elbow grease.

    • Karen says:

      Sue – Is that Ultimate Cloth a home party thing? If so, I think my sister bought one in December. You’ve never *heard* someone go on so much about a stupid cleaning cloth in our whole life! She LOVES it. ~ karen

  28. Andrea Claire says:

    If you have children tell them you have hidden money under the dirt and as they clean whatever they find they can keep!

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