Giving your home a spa day
Cleaning windows, walls and carpets, a one-day beauty treatment for any home
Giving your home a spa day refreshes your living spaces and knocks some routine maintenance off the home to-do list.
Cleaning the windows, walls and carpets makes a measurable difference in the overall impression of your home’s cleanliness, and covering up dings and scratches with touch-up paint perfects the look and gives a home that just-moved-in feel.
As a homeowner, tackling these tasks helps show your pride in ownership, keeps your home ready for company and perhaps even readies it for a Realtor should you decide to move. As a renter, staying ahead of these tasks helps keep a landlord or property management company happy, makes your house feel more like a home and helps ensure you’ll get as much of your deposit back as possible.
It sounds simple — and it is. Setting aside just one day to accomplish these steps can work wonders for improving the overall look and feel of your home.
Pamper your floors
Make an appointment a week in advance with a carpet-cleaning professional for as late in the afternoon as possible on the day of your choice. This will force you to start the other tasks nice and early. It also ensures the carpets will be cleared by the time the cleaners arrive.
Consider making a reservation at a favorite restaurant for the same night. The treat will be well deserved and keep you off the carpets in the hours after the cleaning.
After scheduling the cleaners, dust and clean everything above the carpets, so that dust can settle before the final and thorough vacuuming. The prerequisite of this is that one must clear all clutter from floors and furniture that will be moved for the carpet cleaning. This is in and of itself worth the drill. Using a bin or box to collect clutter to be sorted later helps move things along.
Starting with the tops of ceiling fans, tall bookcases and other hard-to-reach areas that seldom get attention, work quickly and move next to dust televisions, lamps, tables and lower shelves.
As you finish dusting each item, shift coffee tables, scoot couches or remove any area rugs or other small furnishings that can be taken off of the carpets. Staging these in a noncarpeted area such as the dining room works best, even if you have to build a bit of a Jenga game to stack and fit the pieces out of the way.
A tranquil environment
Time to turn to the walls now. On a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to overlook the condition of your walls, baseboards and trim. Before you know it though, every corner and ledge seems covered by grime; dings and scuffs appear on walls, and fingerprints become obvious around each door frame.
Start with a good supply of rags, a container for tossing dirty rags into (so you won’t break your momentum) and a bucket of hot-as-you-can-stand-it water with a capful or two of natural cleanser added. Wash the walls, baseboards and trim in a systematic way from top to bottom, left to right. Wipe and wash, rinse, wring and repeat. Discard rags as soon as they become soiled and change out water as frequently as needed until you reach your starting point. Be sure to note any dings or scratches on the walls or trim as you go along, marking these spots with a piece of painter’s tape so they’ll be easy to see when it’s touch-up time.
A refreshing cleanse
Next, move from walls to windows. Pop screens out, rinse and replace (noting those in need of repair for later), test locks to make sure they work and wipe down every windowsill and surface, inside and out, using Q-tips if necessary to remove dirt from the tracks. Wash windowpanes until streak-free. After all, windows are the “eyes” of your home — make sure they’re clear and bright.
Complete one room at a time, staying focused by noting — then quickly ignoring — any extra chores you notice along the way. You will undoubtedly come across other cleaning chores that are screaming to be done, such as filthy mini blinds, dusty heating vents or the sticky mystery mess in your child’s bedroom. Adding these to your immediate list will mean you’ll never meet your deadline. Simply note for later and keep moving.
You’re almost on the home stretch now that floors are cleared and walls and windows are clean. Give carpets a final vacuuming at this point, first in one direction, then in another to get as much dirt and dust out as possible before the carpets are shampooed.
When all surfaces are clean and dry, and your final vacuuming is complete, release your inner perfectionist with touch-up paints and go back to those scratches and dings you marked with painter’s tape. Bring a cup of clean water and plenty of paper towels. Make sure to soak, blot, squeeze and repeat until the brush is completely clean before moving between colors. Dab, pat or blend with a small, flat fan brush or another detail brush, covering each scuff or scratch until walls and trim look good as new. Consider leaving painter’s tape next to freshly painted spots as a warning until paint dries.
In just one day, you’ll have accomplished a lot. Go ahead, fix yourself a celebratory drink as you wait for the carpet cleaning company to arrive.