It’s April, and that means the snow is ending, grass is growing, the sun is out, and it is getting warmer. Spring has sprung and for many, the season can’t come soon enough. Snowbound, weather-worn homeowners will certainly attest to that. But the season change also comes spring cleaning.

After being cooped up inside for the whole winter, you’re probably ready to purge the house of all the dust and clutter that has been accumulating. When you’re a new homeowner, however, spring cleaning takes on new meaning. No longer are you tidying up an apartment rental. You’ve just invested your hard-earned money into your new place. And if your property was previously owned, you may be giving it the time and attention that it never received from the prior tenants.

So what’s the best way to approach your new home’s first spring cleaning? Here are a few strategies, in no particular order, to consider as you roll up your sleeves and dig in:

1. Get rid of stuff you no longer use:

Perhaps the biggest task that is associated with spring cleaning is purging things that you have stubbornly been holding onto that no one uses. There are many reasons for why people do this, such as sentimental value or thinking they may come in handy at some point in the future. But many people fall into the same trap year after year, gathering more but never getting rid of anything. To avoid being on the next season of Hoarders, you will want to set time limits. If you’re unsure whether to get rid of something hiding in the back of your hall closet or taking up space in your attic, ask yourself if you’ve used or worn it in the last year. If not, then it’s unlikely you will in the year ahead either. Better to toss it, sell it or donate it to someone who really needs it.

2. Clean in installments:

If you’ve moved into a fixer-upper, you may become overwhelmed with the idea of spring cleaning. Where do you even start? That’s why it’s best to approach the project “a la carte,” and clean one room at a time. Going room by room is much less daunting and gives you an idea of what you need to do in order to make the room look as good as new, whether that’s as simple as putting things away or performing a more thorough cleaning that involves dusting, polishing, sweeping and/or vacuuming.

Looking for a good place to start? Start with the bedroom. More spring cleaners tackle this room than any other room in the house. Then it’s on to the kitchen and bathrooms.

3. Make a list:

Spring cleaning is a lot like weekly grocery shopping: In the days leading up to the errand, you know exactly what you need, but will you remember those things on the day? Instead of relying on your memory with mental check lists, you should write down your cleaning tasks onto a list located in a common area, like tacked to the refrigerator or the family bulletin board. Making a list – and crossing tasks off once they’re completed – helps you prioritize every step of the way, see what you’ve accomplished and remember what still needs work.

4. Get into the habit of cleaning:

Make your future spring cleaning seasons less time-consuming by adopting a “clean-as-you-go” mentality throughout the rest of the year. Set the tone by adding small tasks to your daily routine, such as making your bed when you first wake up or wiping down kitchen countertops after breakfast.

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