The living room is the heart of any house. It is where you probably spend the majority of your time; alone, as a family, or while entertaining others. For this reason, it is so important that we don’t neglect this space! And while this is usually the most-loved room in our house, it also probably needs the most love! Spending the majority of time on any given day in your living room also means that majority of the mess in your house probably resides here too.
Today we are going to focus our Spring Cleaning Series on your living room. Time for a refresh for your favorite room; we will get it decluttered, organized, and deep cleaned in a few simple steps!
Ceiling and Walls
Window treatments seem to be one of those items in your house that you don’t really realize are all that dirty until you actually go to clean them. I take them down (not as often as I should) to clean them and am always mortified, yet strangely fascinated by how much dust and debris they manage to attract.
It’s no surprise that window treatments need love during the Spring Cleaning season. This is the time to take them down for a deep clean, or in extreme circumstances, a complete replacement.
Start with your curtains. The first thing that you will need to do is check your care instructions. You don’t want your washing machine shredding curtains that were made for the dry cleaner! Next, give the panels a once-over and do any necessary spot cleaning or stain prep treatment. Once that is complete, throw them in the laundry according to care instructions, or drop them off with the dry cleaner.
Once your curtains are clean and laundered, dry them as detailed in your care instructions. Personally, I like the smell that comes with line drying your curtains on a nice spring day. And regardless of how you dry them, whether line dried or in the dryer, you will inevitably need to follow-up with the an iron. Trust me folks, the ‘wrinkle release’ cycle on your dryer is no match for window treatments.
If you also have blinds on your windows, you will need to first remove dust and debris with a feather duster or handheld vacuum. Once the majority of the dirt has been removed, take the blinds down. You have two options from here. You can either take them outside and hose them off, or let them soak in a bathtub of soap and water. Either way, leave them outside to dry once they are clean.
You are all set! Time to hang your window treatments back up and move on to the rest of the room.
If you followed along last week in the series, we discussed baseboards for the kitchen. For your living room, you will follow the same steps.
First, you will need to wipe all of the dust of the boards with a dry dust cloth. I also find that a dry Swiffer pad works well too. Then you will need to make a soap and water mixture for white baseboards, and a Murphy oil soap and water mixture for wood baseboards. Give the baseboards a wipe down and scrub out any spots or stains. Follow behind with a drying cloth. Last, give the entire perimeter of baseboards a wipe down with dryer sheets to help prevent additional dust buildup.
If you find any damage along the way, be sure to repair it now too. For white baseboards, you may need to touch up the paint or apply an entirely new coat of paint. For wood, fill in any cracks or gauges with wood filler and scratches with a wood pen.
In order to give your flooring a deep cleaning, you will need to move as much furniture as possible. If you have area rugs, roll them up. Small furniture should be removed from the living room. Any large pieces should be moved as you work through the room, to the best of your ability. The idea of a good deep cleaning is to get to all of those hard-to-reach spaces you typically miss in your normal weekly cleaning routine.
For carpeting, in addition to normal vacuuming, you will need to shampoo your carpet. You have a couple of options for this. The most economical is to rent a carpet shampooer. Most home improvement and grocery stores carry these to rent. You will need to buy your own shampoo, which can be found at these stores as well. If you shampoo your carpets on a semi-regular basis, you can also buy your own shampooer. Amazon sells a Hoover with all of your basic options for a reasonable price. The other option for those short on time or for carpets in need of some extra-special love, you can hire a local cleaning company to deep clean your carpets. Whichever option you choose, be sure to allow plenty of time for the carpet to dry before you re-enter the space.
If you have anything other than carpet, such as hardwood or laminate flooring, the first thing you will need to do is get all the dust off of the floor, especially the areas typically covered by furniture. Then you will want to do a good deep cleaning. For hardwoods, a mixture of Murphy Oil Soap and water works well. For laminates you will want to check with your manufacture’s instructions. This is also the time to fill in any dents or scratches with wood filler or a wood pen.
Furniture takes a lot of daily abuse. It is where we spend the majority of time when we are in the living room. And it shows! You will need to do an assessment of your furniture to see what it needs, depending on how worn it is.
The first thing you will need to do is run a vacuum over each couch, love seat and chair, unless you have leather. Speaking from experience: do NOT attempt to vacuum leather! Next, spot treat any stains that you may have. Once the surface is clean, pick up some Scotch Guard and re-seal all of your furniture.
You should also remove the cushions if possible to vacuum underneath of everything. You would be amazed (and possibly disgusted) by what accumulates under the cushions!
Now would also be the time to decide just how worn your furniture is. Do your cushions need re-stuffed? Does your fabric need recovered? Is it a lost cause; do you need all new furniture??? If you are repairing your furniture, just Google your local upholstery or furniture shops. If you need new furniture, the good news is that most major stores run great tax season sales for you.
For any other furniture, such as coffee tables and end tables, don’t forget to give them a good, thorough cleaning too! Clear them off, wipe away all dust and dirt, and give them a good polish. Don’t forget the legs and undersides! Repair any blemishes if possible. If any pieces look beyond repair or are starting to appear dated or just in need of a good refresh, check out Pinterest for lots of great suggestions on repurposing old furniture. The possibilities are endless, it saves you from having to buy something new, and you will end up with a one-of-a-kind piece that you can show off to all of your friends!
In every living room there is one area where we keep the bulk of our storage items. In our house, we have a large closet. It was originally set up as a normal closet, but since we already have an entryway closet, I repurposed mine with floor to ceiling shelving for optimal storage solutions. In your house it may also be a closet, or it could be a large bookcase, storage drawers or bins, or something else. Whatever it is, it needs organized!
For this step, I am going to refer you to my previous article, Organizing 101. There are lots of great tips in this article for organizing any space. Since you are Spring Cleaning your entire living room, now is the perfect time to organize your storage space, too!
TV STAND/ENTERTAINMENT UNIT
Of course your entertainment unit needs a good cleaning just like the rest of the areas in your living room. Empty all of the drawers and shelves; it’s amazing what accumulates in ours over time! Get them all cleaned up and organized, and discard any unneeded items. Wipe down the whole unit.
Now the ‘fun’ (dreaded) part… the main reason I included this area on your cleaning checklist; the disaster of tangled cords and wires that I KNOW is lurking behind your TV. The cords are more complex than a Rubik’s Cube, and let’s not even get into the colony of dust bunnies back there!
If possible, and with someone’s help, move the TV stand away from the wall so you can easily access what’s going on behind there. If it is not possible, all is not lost. You will just need a bit more patience with this project. I recommend unplugging everything and working your way backwards. I usually find that half of the cords aren’t even in use anymore. If you can get rid of some of those cords, great!
Once you have unplugged and untangled all of the cords, wipe them down to remove all of the dust. I find that a dry Swiffer pad works great for this. Before you plug everything back in, give the floor below a good cleaning too. Or as good as you can manage if it is a tight space. You may also be able to use a small vacuum attachment in this space. Now you are all set to carefully plug everything back in as orderly as possible.
Fair warning: the cords will mysteriously turn into a giant, tangled ball again!
CEILING AND WALLS
If you joined us for Week 1 in the Kitchen for the Spring Cleaning Series, we will follow the same steps for your ceiling and walls.
The first step to cleaning your ceilings and walls is to attack the dust bunnies. Using a dry Swiffer to reach up high, you can wipe everything down, paying special attention to corners. You may also need a vacuum for this. If you have a ceiling fan, you will need to reach that too. There are specific tools with brushes designed to slide right over the fan blades. You could also just grab a chair to stand on and do it manually.
Next, it’s time to wash your walls. This used to be such a dreaded, tedious project for me. It seems that if you only spot clean your walls, then you can always see what was cleaned and what wasn’t. But washing your entire walls would take forever! I discovered a new solution! Use a Swiffer to tackle your walls. This is simply the quickest, most efficient method I have found. I put a Swiffer pad on the stick, and then apply my cleaning solution of choice to the pad. Then just work up and down the walls, similar to rolling paint. This will leave you with fresh and clean walls with a uniform look.
You officially have a ‘spring-cleaned’ living room to enjoy! Just as with your kitchen, now is the time to kick into maintenance mode. Try to dust at least once a week. Vacuum or clean your floors a couple of times a week, depending on traffic. Baseboards can be wiped down once a week and washed once a month. As far as clutter, we have a simple rule in our house. Before you bring something new out to use, play with, or watch in the DVD player, you have to put away the last thing you were using. This may seem simple, but it totally works! And everyone is on board, including my three year old. This totally cuts down on clutter. And at the end of the night if there is anything left out, it only takes me a minute to put it away.
Time to kick your feet up on the couch, binge watch some Netflix and relax after all of your hard work! And be sure to check back next week for Week 3 of the Spring Cleaning Series!