PUBLISHED APR 1, 2019

Spring Cleaning: theSkimm on Sprucing Up on a Budget

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CleanSpace/Budget

You’ve already Kondo-ed your apartment. Or not. Either way, it’s worth sparking joy with what you have left. Because spring is here. There’s no better time to swing open your windows (or at least your supply closet) and start sprucing up. Sans stress on you or your wallet.

But first, a deep clean.

Clear eyes, full disinfectant bottle, can’t lose.

For when you’re dreading getting to work...

Take breaks. Try following the 20/10 rule. You do 20 minutes of cleaning, followed by a 10-minute break. Make it less daunting by splitting your chores throughout the week. Here’s a guide for how often clean everything in your home.

For when you want to breathe deep…

Refresh your filters. If your home has a heating and cooling system, make sure to seal up any gaps or leaks, then replace your filter. If you don't have a centralized system, get an air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. They’re good for capturing tiny particles like dust mites without letting them back out into the air. Pro tip: same goes for your vacuum.

For when your ‘seasonal allergies’ aren’t tied to seasons at all…

Sounds like you mite have caught a bug. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that eat grime and moisture for breakfast, and about 20 million Americans are allergic to them. Here’s how to make a clean sweep...

  • First...use the right tools. Get yourself microfiber cloths to properly capture them. Psst...if you don’t have any on-hand, dryer sheets should do the trick.

  • Then...started from the bottom now we’re...going to have to re-start. Clean your spaces from top to bottom and catch any fallen dust as you work your way down to the floor.

  • Finally...move your furniture and actually reach the hard to reach places. Because what you don’t see will hurt your sinuses.

For when your washer/dryer's seen better days...

Out with the mold and the mildew. Meet your MVP cleaning solution that you already have in your arsenal: white vinegar + baking soda. They mixture disinfects and cleans your machine in one go. Here is a step by step.

For when you want to say ‘thanks’ to your couch for all the Netflix binges…

Pamper where you park it. Upholstery is expensive. Instead, just sprinkle your couch with baking soda, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum up. Bonus: same thing works for your mattress.

Done. Now what?

Make it shiny. Here’s how to help the MVPs of your space shine bright, shine far...

For when you love your futuristic looking kitchen…

Make it look (inter)stellar. Save money by wetting a microfiber cloth with warm water. Then wipe each surface and make sure to dry them completely (hint 1: the minerals in water can leave marks), wiping in the direction of the metal grain (hint 2: doing this helps prevent scratches). Psst...metal grain equals the direction the lines go.

For when the hardwood floors are why you signed the lease…

Check ‘expensive mop solution’ off your list. At least for now. High traffic areas should be cleaned weekly, but for areas off the beaten path, wet clean them just once a month or season. FYI, how you clean them depends on what kind of hardwood you have.

For when you’re serving Moscow Mules at the housewarming redux…

No...alcohol won’t properly clean them. But ketchup and salt will. Yes, really. Say ‘ta ta’ to tarnish by applying the ketchup and a sprinkle of salt to a rag. Rub it onto your copper surfaces, then rinse off. Instant polish.

For when your plants hold a special place in your heart…

Sometimes you have to hurt the ones you love. When your plant’s leaves start turning yellow or brown, they’ll never go green again. So don’t be afraid to prune them. Pruning lets your plant re-focus its energy on the leaves that are #thriving.

For when those same plants leave a halo of dirt around them…

Don’t let them soil themselves. Put a coffee filter in your pot to keep things clean. They catch dirt debris while still allowing water through. While you’re at it, wipe the leaves down with a (surprise) microfiber cloth and gentle soap to get rid of any dust.

Okay...things are looking good. But nothing feels ‘new’...

We’ve got some ideas. Invest more in what you already own by making affordable upgrades and small changes...

For when you want more patterns…

You’ve got options. Stick-on decals and wallpaper work as quick custom covers. Use them on flat surfaces like your bookshelf, cabinets, or media stand. Bonus: save tons of money on marble and use contact paper to instantly upgrade glass surfaces with a faux finish.

For when your coffee table could use a boost…

Those coffee rings were onto something. Wood staining is an easy and affordable refresh to dull surfaces. Choose a hue to match your favorite kind of tree (think: birch, red oak, pine, poplar). Just make sure to test the underside of your furniture first. Stains show up differently depending on the kind of wood you start out with.

For when you’ve got a bright idea…

Dim it a little. Changing a room’s lighting goes a long way. Install an affordable dimmer switch to make your space feel like a fancy hotel. Not that handy? Get a cheap lamp dimmer to use manually on specific lamps on your home.

For when you’ve had the same furniture for ages…

Pull a fast one. Replacing hardware on your drawer pulls, handles, and doorknobs are some of the easiest upgrades you can make. Get new ones for a few bucks from places like World Market and Anthropologie. Pro tip: make sure to bring your current hardware with you so you don’t wind up having to drill new holes for the replacement pieces.

theSkimm

Fact: a clean, fresh, and de-cluttered home makes your brain happy. And you don’t need to stress or make your wallet sad to do it. Neat.


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