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Monday, May 07, 2007

Spring Cleaning, Part VI


Spring Cleaning your Living Room

Fireplace or Woodstoves

The fireplace should be the first thing you clean. If you use it for wood fires, you know how ashes tend to go everywhere.

Sweep out, being sure to get into the crevices. Take all ashes out carefully and take outside. Set the grate outside and scrape. Clean glass doors inside and out, being sure to get the edges. If you want to clean the brick lining the fireplace, I would suggest using dish washing machine detergent. Be sure to wear gloves and use disposable rags. Check to see that all working parts are in good operation. Decide if a chimney sweep is in order. For a nominal fee they will inspect your chimney and your fireplace to ensure their safety. I would suggest doing this every other year if you use your fireplace regularly. Vacuum down the stonework and brick. If your bricks have developed a white powdery substance on them, this can be removed with a solution of muriatic acid and water. Please note that this is a dangerous chemical. The directions for its use must be followed exactly. Close your vent or damper.

Windows

Take down curtains and wash or take to the cleaners. Wash the windows inside. Be sure to wipe all window sills and facings and moldings.

Accessories

Remove all accessories from the room, including table lamps. Put them in the kitchen. Wash everything thoroughly. Brush or vacuum your lamp shades and silk flowers. Silk flowers can also be swished in a basin of water and set on towels to dry. A toothbrush can be used to get into small crevices of statuary, etc. Leave the accessories drying in the kitchen until the living area is completed.

Piano/Organ

Polish, being sure to get all the crevices. Clean the keys with the recommended cleaner for your instrument. Don't forget the foot pedals. Stool: Empty out, wipe clean, and polish. Sort through your music. If you have entire books that you only play a few songs from, why not remove the songs or make copies of them and sell the book? The separate pieces of music can be kept in a binder sorted by category.

Coffee and end tables

The tops of these items should be clutter free now. If your tables have drawers or shelves, remove everything and sort through. Reline the drawers if necessary. Clean and polish your tables. Be sure to tip them over and get the cobwebs that grow under and between the legs.

Upholstered furniture

Remove all loose cushions, slip covers, pillows. Run the pillows through the no-heat setting on your dryer to fluff and remove dust. When they are done, spray with Febreze. If you can, take your loose cushions outside to air. (Hint: Try to make rotating your cushions part of your weekly routine.) If you use slipcovers on your furniture, check them for spots. Do they need cleaning? If so, either launder them or set them aside to be taken to the cleaners. If you change your slip covers seasonally, pull the seasonal covers out. Make sure they are clean and fresh. If it's not time to change them, store them in a place you will be able to access easily. Now it's time to vacuum all the upholstered pieces. Be sure, once again, to get those crevices. If your furniture has wooden parts, clean and polish the wood. Now tip all your furniture over on it's side. Vacuum the pieces underneath and then vacuum the flooring beneath their places. Tip the furniture back up.

Leather furniture

Wipe down with leather cleaner and then refurbish with leather oil. Pound and vacuum all surfaces. Clean and polish any wooden surfaces.

Bookcases, cabinets, and other storage pieces

Empty them completely. Sort through the contents, using the decision process. Organize the items. Clean and polish being, sure to get underneath and the backs.

Hints: If you have trouble cleaning the back of let's say a hutch, wrap a cloth around the end of a yard stick and swish back there.

Be sure to get the tops of the cabinets too. As you go through your books, make some strong decluttering decisions about keeping them. Paperbacks can be passed along after you've read them unless there's something special. Magazines, pamphlets, and all the additional clutter we tend to stick in our bookcases can be tossed. You can keep a few up-to-date magazines for the guest room.

The rest of the living room

Polish mirrors and clean the frames.

Clean photographs and frames.

Clean fireplace mantles.

Dust your television very carefully. Use a brush if you need to clean little crevices in the back of the television. Be sure to pull the dust out, not push it in. Polish your TV screen.

Clean your stereo system. Remove the backs from your speakers and vacuum inside.

Wipe down any floor lamps. Dust all lamp bulbs. Check all electrical cords in the room for fraying.

Finishing up

Scrape your fireplace grate and replace in fireplace.

Bring your cushions back in and place on your furniture.

Set out your pillows.
Put your clean curtains back up.

Back to the kitchen. Let's sort through all your accessories. Keep in mind that less is more. Replace the accessories you truly love in your living area. Put the rest in a "dispose of" box.

Replace silk flowers in their containers and replace in living area.

Hint: Most beautifully decorated rooms have only one or two focal points in them. By creating an absence of clutter, your favorite pieces can be focused on. Go sit in your living area. How does it feel to you? If you notice something that the room is lacking, write it down in your notebook.

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