Savvy Solutions for Spring Cleaning
With the arrival of spring comes the pressure to tidy up our domiciles to an epic degree. Yes, I’m talking about the annual rite of spring cleaning. It’s time consuming, sometimes overwhelming, and often more expensive than we expect.
To help you maintain control of your household budget, I’ve developed this list of cheap cleaning tips as an alternative to overpriced products you may not need. If dishing out the big bucks for specialized toilet bowl cleaners and window-shining sprays isn’t on your list of financial priorities, consider trying some of these ideas in your own home. (See also: 9 Frugal Suggestions for a Humble Bar of Soap)
The people behind the television commercials will try to convince you that you need something more elaborate, but the truth is there are a number of ingredients kicking around your pantry and medicine cabinet just as well suited to the job. By using lavender, for example, you can easily scent a spray bottle of window cleaner in a way that won’t have you, your pet, or your children breathing toxic fumes. Other ideas include cleaning your bathroom with baking soda and using rubbing alcohol to shine the chrome fixtures in your bathroom.
As I discussed in Savings in Every Room, I’m a big fan of finding affordable ways to offer more wow factor throughout the house. For those who think a deeper cleaning of the home requires purchasing special rags and wipes, consider the power of an old T-shirt. Not only can they be cut into cleaning rags, but when tied over the bristle end of broom, they do a great job of removing cobwebs and bits of gook that make their way to the upper corners of rooms where the walls and ceiling meet. They’re also easily laundered before moving on to the next room, providing a penny-pinching way to clean green.
I first covered this tip back when I started writing for Wise Bread in my 10 Ways to Go Green and Save Money at the Same Time piece. Saving old athletic socks provides you with two reusable cleaning tools. First, by cutting off the foot portion just above the ankle, you’re left with an impromptu dusting mitt that allows you to easily dust and clean chair rungs, table legs, and other things with a similar shape. There are companies that charge a pretty penny for the disposable kind, but why dish out unnecessary dough? Second, the top part of the cotton athletic socks can be slit up one side to create a great dish rag or scrub cloth.
Bureaus for Organization
Often, the removal of dirt isn’t the only goal of spring cleaning. We want to feel organized and ready to tackle the rest of the year as well. To this end, I am a huge fan of repurposing old bureaus. They can serve as anything from a functional kitchen island to an alternative linen closet in the hallway outside your guest bedroom. They are particularly helpful if the house you’re living in doesn’t have much in the way of closet space.
I think one of the coolest and least used housework hacks is the utilization of window squeegees. They can save a surprising amount of time over dry cloths when you are trying to achieve a streak-free finish in a hurry. Not only do they work for windows and glass shower doors, but I’ve also seen them put into service in homes where the bathrooms and kitchens have a floor drain. Once you’ve given your tile a scrub, you can simply squeegee the extra liquid towards the drain and you have a shiny surface that requires much less time to dry. Who wouldn’t love that?
As one Wise Bread writer covered recently, there are a number of cheap plants which improve indoor air quality. Once you’ve got your spring cleaning taken care of, why not extend the results by making sure you detoxify the air as much as possible? Also, if you live someplace with long winters, it isn’t the worst thing to have a bit of green in your daily life until it actually starts blooming again outside.
While spring cleaning might never be something any of us actually enjoy, it is something that can be accomplished inexpensively. By choosing a few of these solutions, you should be able to save your money for something more enjoyable like a romantic getaway or a great dinner out.
How are you cleaning up on the cheap this spring?