No matter how big or fancy your apartment is, it can definitely benefit from a little spring cleaning. Cleaning is, of course, a necessary evil. But the practice of “spring cleaning” seems to have originated in more ancient times.

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Some scholars suggest that spring cleaning began as an ancient Jewish practice where the home was ritually cleansed before the memorial feast of Passover.

Others trace the roots of a spring clean to ancient Iran, where Iranian families celebrated Persian New Year in the springtime by “shaking the house,” where all corners of the family’s home were scrubbed clean of stale air, dirt, and dust.

Still others believe that the Chinese New Year tradition of cleaning the home in order to “sweep away bad luck and misfortune” is why we spring clean our homes to this day.

Whether you just like a clean apartment or you want a fresh start with the spring season, check out these tips.

1. Wash out the fridge to banish bacteria

Cleaning the refrigerator is a dreaded task. But it’s necessary, and once it’s all done, not only will you be able to find everything, you’ll have made your food storage hub safer.

Start by removing absolutely everything from the fridge. Place everything on the counters around the refrigerator and systematically go through all those jars, especially the condiments. Throw out the things you haven’t eaten in over a year since they’re likely passed their due date anyway. Then give everything a wipe to keep from bringing spills and stickiness back into your fridge.

Take out all removable shelves and drawers and give them a good scrub in the kitchen sink using hot water and dish soap. Dry all the parts and place them back inside the fridge. Now’s the time to adjust them if you find some of the shelf configurations aren’t working for the food you tend to store.

Put everything back in the fridge with an eye to organization; jams and jellies on one shelf, mustards and savoury condiments on another. Don’t forget to leave space for bigger items you reach for often, like juices and milk. Keep things like pickles and olives together on a lower shelf towards the back where they tend to be less frequently needed.

2. Spring clean your duvets and pillows

While most of us are great at remembering to wash our bedding once a week, we tend to fall short when it comes to keeping the bigger pieces of our bedding clean.

Spring is the time to take your duvet covers or comforters to a professional and have them cleaned and sanitized. Once you get them back, you can store them in an out-of-the-way location and opt for a thinner blanket for warm weather.

Don’t forget your pillows. If you can toss them in a washing machine, do it, and make sure to use very hot water and a small amount of bleach if your fabric allows it. Air dry and fluff.

If your pillows aren’t washable, now is the time to replace them. Pillows can be purchased very inexpensively so don’t be afraid to replace them if they’re turning yellow, or stained. Having a new pillow with proper support for your head and neck can greatly improve your night’s sleep!

3. Start with a sparkly fresh oven

If you like to cook and have been making warm and hearty winter meals, the inside of your oven could probably use a cleaning. To begin, sweep out any accumulated debris using a dustpan and brush. You can also vacuum up any carbon or crumbs left inside. Use some designated oven cleaner to remove stains, burns, and other leftover messes (unless your oven has a self-clean cycle, in which case you don’t use anything except heat). Most oven cleaners work in just a few minutes and are extremely effective. Just remember to use gloves and keep a window open to ventilate.

4. Mend or donate good old clothes

Most of us accumulate clothing without much thought, then we wear the new stuff and forget about the old. Springtime is a perfect time of year to go through your closet with a fine tooth comb.

Start by identifying anything you haven’t worn in over a year, then assess why you haven’t worn it. Does it need repairs? If so, collect a pile of clothes that need work and drop them off at a tailor for fixing. Are they stained beyond help or just worn out and looking threadbare? Time to toss those in the garbage.

If you have some clothes that are in good condition but you’ve just grown tired of them or they no longer fit, consider donating those to a local community group such as the Drop-In Centre.

5. Vacuum or wash draperies

We frame our windows with drapes and curtains to keep the cold, bright light, and prying eyes out. We like them to match our decor, but once we’ve selected draperies we rarely give them a second-second thought.

Springtime is the moment to take a look at your sheers, blinds, or fabric draperies and give them a thorough clean. Depending on the fabric and what you’re able to do with it, spring cleaning draperies might be as easy as vacuuming them, throwing them in the washing machine, or if they’re rather delicate, use a generous spritz of Febreeze to remove odours. While you’re at it, vacuum and Febreeze any large furniture in the house.

6. Clean your phone

One last tip; while you’re cleaning your most intimate rooms, clean the dirtiest item you touch every single day: your phone.

Smart phones are known to harbour legions of bacteria, dirt, and grunge. In fact, some studies have shown that your smartphone is likely dirtier than your floors, or even your toilet.

After you’re finished all your spring cleaning, take a seat on your freshly vacuumed couch, remove the case from your phone and give it a wipe with a soft damp cloth, or Lysol wipes. Do the same for your smartphone, following manufacturers recommended cleaning instructions. At the very least, giving everything a good wipe with an antibacterial cloth should be enough to cut back on the worst of the dirt and grime.

When you’re done with your spring cleaning, head on out to your balcony and enjoy the view with a beverage of your choice. If what you’re really craving is not just a tidier apartment but a better living environment, you might want to check out the Arch Apartments. Located in Calgary’s vibrant Beltline neighborhood, you’re instantly part of a very walkable infinitely liveable community.

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