It’s the time of year to throw open the windows and sweep beneath the rugs. Here are seven spring cleaning tips to instantly feel like you’ve conquered the mess and dirt in your home.

Holiday Hangover

holiday-garb_ageHoliday stress is tough, and we all have our excuses for not getting all of our chores done. However, if it’s time for spring cleaning and you have the remaining vestige of any holiday other than Easter in your home, it’s time for it to go. There should be no jack-o-lanterns, pilgrims, Christmas trees, Valentine’s hearts or St. Patty’s clovers evident in your home come April.

Paper Pandemonium

paper-pandemoniumFrom junk mail to the reminders you write yourself about picking up the dry cleaning or buying more milk, your house is probably a refuge for lost papers and publications. As you’re spring cleaning, it’s time to toss the old magazines, newspapers, catalogs, circulars and assorted scraps that amass on the counters and tabletops of your home. We promise you won’t miss your November copies of “People” magazine come July.

Pantry Peace

noodles-pasta-colorful-pasta-foodSurely you’re all too familiar with the adage that if you haven’t worn an article of clothing in a year, then it’s time to toss it. The same is true of your pantry. Old foodstuffs are only taking up valuable space in your cupboards. Combine dry pastas and rice if you have too many half-empty boxes and bags, and feel free to toss food gifts you know you’ll never consume. If you didn’t like fruit cake this past Christmas, you’re probably never going to enjoy it.

A Rank Refrigerator

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It’s always a good idea to periodically check the fridge for old take-out or spoiled milk, but when you’re spring cleaning, take special time to clean underneath and behind your refrigerator. Cleaning the coils behind your refrigerator actually saves energy and shaves dollars off your monthly utilities. And those of us who tend to snack standing up might see how crumbs and other bits of food could find themselves underneath the fridge, growing and rotting one day at a time…

Range Residue

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Have you ever started cooking dinner only to realize that some of the odors coming from your kitchen have nothing to do with what’s on the evening’s menu? Just as food can find its way underneath the fridge and cabinets, crumbs fall down into your burners as well. (Not to mention the sauce spills that happen there.) Cleaning your oven and your range is an absolute necessity for a clean and pleasant-smelling kitchen.

Window Wipe-Downs

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Let all the light of spring in by giving your windows the royal treatment. Clean them on the inside and the outside. Wipe down the sills. Get between the glass and the screen to clear out the cobwebs. Do it for summer’s mosquitoes and houseflies – they want a clean place to die.

Product Pile-up

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Unfortunately, all of the elements and tools meant to keep our houses clean can actually cause too much clutter and mess themselves. Pare down to one mop and one broom. Get rid of cleaning supplies that only have a few drops left in the bottle and combine same cleaners if you have multiples. Also, unless you have an army of help, there’s no need for bags and bags of rags when a few hearty cloths will do.