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It’s the time of year that so many of us look forward to and welcome with open arms.

As the brisk air gives way to milder temperatures, we start shifting from our winter gear to our spring gear.  Outside, we swap out our snowblowers and shovels for bikes and outdoor furniture.

As we open our windows for the long-awaited spring air, it’s time to plan for a thorough spring cleaning.  Follow the below tips for a foolproof plan to freshen up your home for a clean, fresh start this spring.

Before you begin your cleaning, gather together all of the items you’re going to need.

Be sure to have micro-fiber cloths, trash bags, cleaning products, gloves and an empty box to start.   Go through each room, removing everything that will need to be put in the laundry.  Linens, bed sheets, hand towels, curtains…  though some of these items you might launder on a weekly basis, you likely neglect others in your regular routine.   Since now is the time to freshen up from top to bottom, be sure not to overlook this task.   By starting the laundry before you begin to clean, you’ll be able to make your beds and hang your clean curtains when your rooms are all freshened up.

Now that you have your supplies gathered and laundry started, it’s time to tackle your rooms one by one.  There are some tasks that you will need to repeat in each room, such as cleaning light switches and windows.  Be sure your supply bucket has enough supplies to make your way through the whole house.  You don’t want to have to keep stocking up on supplies as you move from room to room.

We all have at least one room that we hate to clean, and for many people it’s the bathroom.  For that reason, I recommend you start there.

Spray down or use a mixture of baking soda and water on the areas with most grime and soap scum.  Don’t forget the grout and inside the toilet!  While you let that set in to loosen for an easier clean, start on the easier areas.  For windows and mirrors, use a damp micro-fiber cloth or a mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle.  Wipe down with just a newspaper for a streak free shine.  Sprinkle baking soda in your sink and tub and use your micro-fiber cloths or a bathroom eraser for a fresh, chemical free shine.  Once you’ve cleaned the rest of the bathroom, go back and scrub the areas you sprayed down or used the baking soda paste on.

Once you’ve finished up with the bathroom(s), make your way into the bedrooms, living area, and kitchen.

Most people find that most of their high clutter areas are in these rooms.  Before starting, remove all items that belong elsewhere and put them in a box for sorting and organizing later.  Now is also the perfect time to purge yourself of clothes, toys, and books that are just taking up space.  Remove all toys and shoes from the floors and put away in closets, bookshelves or toy boxes.  Clear end tables, coffee tables, nightstands, and bureaus of knick-knacks and all those other items don’t belong.

Once you have removed those items that don’t belong and you’ve cleared the things you will no longer keep, it’s time to dive in.  Remember, work from top to bottom.  Dust off your ceiling fans and wipe down your walls using just warm water and mild detergent and clean each window as you go.  Wipe down all surfaces with your favorite cleaning products or polish with a cloth and a small amount of coconut oil.  If you have any vents, use a butter knife wrapped in a cloth or old socks and get between the vent slats to remove any built-up dust and debris.

Use a lint roller to remove dust and animal hair from living room furniture and lamp shades and use a vacuum with brush attachment to get the high corners of each room and baseboards.

Since the kitchen is generally the highest traffic area in the house, tackle this last and kick everyone out while you get to work.

As you did in the bathroom, wet down your sink and sprinkle with baking soda to soak while you work on the rest of the kitchen.   While the baking soda is hard at work in your sink, microwave a bowl of one cup water and the juice of one lemon for three minutes. Let it stay in the microwave for at least an additional 3-5 minutes then use that to wipe down surfaces with a clean cloth.  The citrus will remove odors and loosen grime for easy cleaning.

Now give your cabinets and backsplash a thorough cleaning.  You might be surprised how fresh they look once you remove grease and grime.   Move on to your table and chairs, baseboards and walls.

Next, tackle your refrigerator.  Remove everything and get rid of stuff that’s been sitting in there since last spring.  Wipe down drawers and shelves with warm sudsy water and dry thoroughly before putting anything back.

To clean appliances and countertops, spray down with an all-purpose cleaner or scrub with a lemon and baking soda.  The citrus combined with the baking soda cuts tough spots that water and dish soap can’t.

Once all areas are scrubbed, go back and wipe down your sink.  If you have a garbage disposal, throw in used lemons, baking soda and coarse salt to get rid of lingering odors.

The final step in your cleaning is vacuuming and washing your floors.  If you’re staying away from chemicals, use a mop with hot water and a drop or two of your favorite essential oil for that fresh, clean smell.

You’ve now scrubbed and polished each room from top to bottom and laundered all your bedding and linens… now sit back and enjoy the spring air in your freshly cleaned home!