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“Spring cleaning” is so critical in my house. I go through phases of dismantling from the holidays, and this is the final phase.
Phase 1, shortly after New Year’s: Taking down the tree and Santa-related decorations.
Phase 2, sometime before March: Taking the wreath off the front door, putting away plaid, snowflake, and New Years-y decor.
Phase 3, sometime around the first day of Spring: Putting away all my little snow-covered pine tree decorations and anything else winter-y, and replacing it all with bright colors and spring flowers.
We’re in Phase 3 now and there’s no turning back. Last year around this time I shared 11 Spring Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen, and I was actually pretty surprised at how many of you reached out to tell me how useful it was for you – but that you wanted to know what I used. Specifically me, as a human. It kinda warms my heart that you want to know, so for this post I’m going to share my favorite products to help with my kitchen/dining room Spring refresh, and my general process that gets me feeling good about emerging from winter hibernation and opening the house back up to some sweet, sweet sunshine. The full list of products is listed at the bottom of this post with links for purchase.
Step 1: Clearing & Cleaning
The first thing I do is put away all the winter decor (and find room in the closet for it – YIKES). Then I clear off all the countertops and give it a really good cleaning. I’m talking dusting, vacuuming, wood polish or all purpose cleaner (depending on the surface), and maybe even giving it another wipe down because in the ten seconds since I cleaned it I’m sure a cat has climbed on top of it and now there are little tiny paw prints everywhere. And don’t forget about any windows or mirrors – I know ours are always covered in teeny tiny cat nose prints and a thin layer of residue from the stove being so close by. Gross.
If you’re not sure what kind of cloth to use for cleaning, I highly recommend stocking up on some microfiber cloths – you can just chuck them in the washer when you’re done and then reuse them the next time you clean! I have some that I’ve had for many years, and they’re still up to the task.
We also can’t be without Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser. If you’ve never used it, it’s a powder that you sprinkle on the surface in question, let it sit for a few seconds, and then scrub it clean. It’s a miracle worker for so many things in our house: the stovetop, quick cleanups of splatter on the glass inside the oven, cookware, bakeware, and even our countertops.
Since we moved into this house, far and away the best use of Bar Keepers Friend was when it removed red wine stains from our white counters. We were having a party, and we hadn’t noticed the stains until we cleaned up that night – so they’d be sitting there for at least half a day. It took a couple rounds of cleaning, but it worked when nothing else did. MIRACLE WORKER, I tell you.
I make sure to restock our sponge and scrubber supplies – these days, we only ever use these Scotch-Brite natural fiber sponges and heavy duty scour pads, and we always have a plentiful supply of Magic Erasers. I’ve got these handy little mesh drawers under our kitchen sink to hold all these, our dishwasher pods and a few other cleaning-related odds and ends. Actually, I have two sets of these drawers – the other one is on the opposite side of the cabinet and holds our trash bags, plastic sealable bags, wax paper, parchment paper and aluminum foil.
As an aside, I also found it super useful to keep a nail brush under the sink for after I’ve been cleaning, or cooking with potent foods like garlic and onions. The last thing I want to do is forget to get under my nails, and then rub my eye – OH GOD THE PAIN.
You’ll also notice a little white and gold anchor ring holder in the picture below (behind the cat tail, because jesuschristthey’realwaysaround), because I’m one of those people who has to take off her wedding rings before washing the dishes or cooking. My husband is the same way, so it works out well to just rest them on this dish while we do our thing, then put them back on when our hands are clean and dry.
We’re a Seventh Generation and Method household for almost all of our cleaning needs, so it’s no surprise we use the Seventh Generation Free & Clear dish soap. TBH, I’ve tried their hand soaps and I’m not a big fan. Instead, we stock up on J.R. Watkins hand soap – our favorites are the Lemon and Aloe & Green Tea scents. We also keep their hand cream by the sink to help replenish the moisture and soothe the skin after epic dish-washing sessions.
I like to keep them in this little marble tray (not quite the same, but similar) because it keeps the products from being all over the place, and it contains any extraneous water from pooling on the countertop. About once a week I just take everything off the tray, wash it, dry it, give the counter underneath it a quick wipe down, and put it all right back. Easy peasy.
As a bonus, this thing likes to make sure I’m doing everything the right way, so he perches on the windowsill over the sink and occasionally swats at the faucet and tries to drink the water coming from it. If you have such an assistant in your home as well… I’m sorry.
Don’t forget about your fridge! We have a nifty indicator on the door of ours that tells us when the water and air filters need to be changed, so depending on the timing of your spring cleaning this may or may not apply. Either way, make sure you have those filters on hand for when you need them – we need these filters for ours, but make sure you get the right kind for your model!
Step 2: Fixing
Next up is fixing anything that might have come loose over time like screws, drawer pulls, or the adjustable feet on furniture. You’d be surprised how loose I find some things after a season of hosting parties where people are using chairs that aren’t usually used, frequent door/drawer opening, and just general wear and tear. So make sure you fix those before your aunt comes over for Easter and sits in a loose chair and ends up on her ass.
Speaking of furniture feet, putting felt furniture pads on the bottoms of every piece of furniture we own is a lifesaver. It makes it easy for me to push the furniture around when I’m cleaning, and I especially appreciate it during my spring cleaning when I’m going hog wild with it. It’s also useful for us because the floors in this old house aren’t exactly straight and flat, so I can use them to help balance our legs that might otherwise be uneven.
Step 3: Organizing
Gotta clear out that clutter! Get your counters down to only the things you need and use regularly. I already mentioned that I like to contain products on the counters in trays like this one, and the same goes for our salt and pepper. We have a couple grinders, as well as a little wooden salt box (it’s hidden in the back, didn’t notice until now – damn!) and they’re all placed in a little white plate that has a lip around the edge. That’s also perched on top of a cute little metal trivet, just because I like having it handy, but still out of the way.
I also like to keep a little covered bowl full of granulated sugar close to the stove because from time to time we’ll need a quick teaspoon of sugar for a sauce, and if I had to go get it from the big OXO container in the pantry, I’d have to run out of the kitchen, down the hall, and around the corner into the pantry and precariously transport it back without spilling sugar all over a cat. I like the bowl we have, but I can’t find it online. Womp womp. There are a TON of different styles, so if you like the kind that has a little built in spoon there are some super cute styles to choose from.
We also keep a couple OXO containers of different kinds of pasta on the counter, because… well, we just love pasta. We like to do “pantry pasta” when we’re low on groceries, so having spaghetti nearby to grab for a quick lunch is useful for us. Because otherwise, you can imagine me running back from the pantry holding a bunch of loose spaghetti for your own entertainment. I’ve talked about how much I love these containers before, so I won’t beat a dead horse – just get ’em! I am constantly finding new uses for them.
Our Google Home Hub is sort of the heartbeat of our kitchen. We use to to set timers and reminders, have it read recipes off to us, and I’ve even incorporated it as part of my morning routine. I say, “Hey, Google – good morning!” and it tells me the weather, events on my calendar, and the top news stories. We’re also really big on having music playing while we cook and eat dinner, so it pulls up our Spotify playlists and stations to keep us entertained while we chop and sizzle. Food, not each other… just to be clear.
You could have yours play you motivational music while you clean and you could dance around while you do it like you’re in a movie!
We have a couple of these marble wine coolers that we’re using on the counters as utensil holders, but of course you could also get crazy and put wine bottles in them. I like that they’re easy to clean, and just look clean and sort of blend in to our color scheme.
And of course, the t-rex cookie jar is standing at attention, ready to be filled with treats.
Step 4 (the fun one): Accessorizing
While you may not consider an apron a kitchen accessory, I do! It just happens to be a necessary one. We have a couple, and during the week, this one tends to live on this cabinet door handle close to the stove for easy access for those busy weeknight dinners. It’s durable, has pockets, and is actually pretty soft material. It washes well and comes up high on the neck with long ties that make it easy for both Bill and I to use.
Another necessary accessory are cotton dish towels. The ones we have and use the most don’t seem to be for sale anywhere anymore, but these Williams-Sonoma striped towels are good, too. You want them to be absorbent, durable enough for drying a pan, but also soft enough to be used on more delicate things like wine glasses.
In terms of actual accessories and decorations, I tend not to do much during the warmer months aside from hanging a yellow flower wreath on the front door and keeping fresh flowers around the house. However, I can never find vases that I like so I end up using things like a big white IKEA pitcher or a glass carafe. Since it’s not something I have out all the time, I like repurposing something we already have so we don’t add to cabinet clutter.
That’s it! I hope you found this helpful, and I’d love to hear some of your spring cleaning habits in the comments.
Recap of all the products mentioned in this post:
- Method Wood for Good Polish
- Method All Purpose Cleaner (our favorite is the Pink Grapefruit scent), and then pick up a big refill bottle to save money!
- Seventh Generation Free and Clear Glass Cleaner
- Microfiber cleaning cloths
- Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser
- Scotch-Brite natural fiber sponges
- Scotch-Brite heavy duty scour pads
- Magic Erasers
- 2-drawer mesh organizer to keep your cabinet in order
- Ring holder to keep by the kitchen sink
- Seventh Generation Free & Clear dish soap
- J.R. Watkins hand soap, and then pick up their refill bags to save money!
- J.R. Watkins hand cream
- Marble tray to hold countertop cleaning products
- Refrigerator water and air filters (these are specifically for PureSource Ultra/PureAir Ultra Filtration Systems, check your model and what it needs)
- Felt furniture pads
- Small salt box
- Covered sugar bowl
- OXO Good Grips airtight food storage containers
- Google Home Hub
- Marble wine coolers to use as attractive utensil holders,
- T-rex cookie jar
- Williams-Sonoma dish towels
- Glass carafe that can be used as a vase