Apartment Spring Cleaning, Weeks 2+: The Clean-ening

May 05, 2017 | Apartment Living

(Writers note: I started this bit way back at the beginning of Spring, and proceeded to get too sick to type — sorry — but while it’s not all that timely anymore, it’s still relevant!)

Last time, we talked about The Purge: that first part of the Spring Cleaning process that consists of getting rid of all of your unnecessary stuff. Now, it’s time for Week 2 (which may, depending on a few factors, last anywhere from one to five weeks): the actual cleaning.

Preparation: Clear two Spaces
The Spring Cleaning process requires that you empty out various areas of your apartment  — which means you need spaces to empty into. We find it’s often convenient to move your couch a few feet into your living room and use the space between the couch and the wall as your primary ‘staging area.’ Then use the dining room table as your secondary area. Whatever it takes, clear at least a dozen square feet of space that you can assign to the primary staging area, and three square feet to the ‘details zone.’

The Process
This is the process that you will perform once or twice for every section of the apartment (depending on size and amount of stuff). If you work diligently, you should be able to get through the process entirely in about an hour and a half per section.

  1. Take all of the movable objects out of the area, putting the topmost items furthest ‘back’ in your staging area, and the bottom items in front, so you can easily put them back in reverse order.
  2. Clean all of the exposed surfaces in the appropriate fashion.
  3. If there are any large items that can’t be entirely removed, like furniture, first strip the item of any coverings (i.e. bedsheets, upholstery covers), clean them, and then clean the item itself. Then move it so that its new footprint doesn’t at all overlap its usual footprint, and clean under and behind where it usually sits. Then put it back.
  4. Now go back through the staging area and go through it one item at a time. For each one, go through the following substeps:
    1. If the item is a container full of other objects (as opposed to food or hand lotion or whatever), empty it into the details zone, follow the rest of these substeps, and then repeat these substeps with each item in the container.
    2. Strip the object of any coverings, clean them, then clean the object, inside (if any) and out.
    3. Check to ensure that you actually need the item. If the item is a container that holds a specific thing (such as a box of Band-Aids or a binder full of D&D characters), ask yourself if there’s another container of the same thing that you could combine this one with.
    4. If you don’t need the object, decide whether it’s best donated, sold, recycled, or trashed.
    5. Put the item back where you want it (unless it’s a container object and you haven’t put anything back into it yet). Note that this is your chance to decide that you want to rearrange that area.
  5. Once your staging area is empty, take a look at your section and reassess the arrangement of things one more time. If there are things you use often that are on the bottom/in the back, rearrange so that they’re more accessible, and vice versa.

The Big List of Sections
This list contains a lot of items that won’t apply to every apartment. Just skip the ones that don’t apply to you.

  • Bedrooms
    • The closet (main clothes-hanging area)
    • The closet (top and bottom, usually best done when the middle area is still empty)
    • The dresser (just take each drawer as-is to your staging area if you can carry them)
    • The bed
    • Any other furniture
    • The rest of the room, including the garbage can, laundry hamper, and hanging art
  • Bathrooms
    • The vanity (top and inside)
    • The cabinetry, including the medicine cabinet
    • The commode
    • The tub
    • Any other furniture
    • The rest of the room, including the garbage can, plunger, and toilet brush
  • Hallways
    • Each closet (linen , or otherwise)
    • Any other furniture
    • The rest of the space, including any hanging art
  • Dining Room
    • The dining set
    • The china hutch
    • Any other furniture
    • The rest of the room
  • The Living Room
    • The entertainment center
    • The bookshelf
    • Other storage areas
    • The couch and chairs
    • Any other furniture
    • The rest of the room
  • The kitchen
    • The pantry
    • The fridge and freezer
    • Individual. Cupboard.
    • Including underneath the sink
    • The stove, including the broiler/under-the-stove drawer thingy
    • Any other appliances
    • The rest of the room
  • Any other room
    • Every storage space
    • Every piece of furniture
    • The rest of the room

And if you haven’t decided to cut this whole Spring Cleaning thing short and just vacuum really well and wipe everything off with a damp rag, you’re doing better than many. Kudos, and good luck!

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