Your spring cleaning and maintenance checklist

Many islanders have turned to spring cleaning a little earlier than usual this year, since winter seemed to be loosening its icy grip.

'See what other people see when they come into your house'

Sparkle and Shine and Merry Maids use microfibre cleaning cloths for most of their cleaning — they're reusable and don't leave dust behind, the pros say. (Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock)

Many of us have turned to spring cleaning a little earlier than usual this year, since winter seemed to be loosening its icy grip on the Island.

But the task can seem overwhelming — do you first declutter, then clean? How deep do you go? Should you hire help? What about the fixes, small and large, that need to be done — when do you tackle those? 

Here's some advice from CBC Mainstreet's Frugal columnist Liz MacKay as well as you. 

1. Make a list 

Grab a paper and pencil and make a list of each room in your house, leaving lots of room under each heading. Add areas on the outside of your house too: your shed, deck, siding, lawns, gardens. 

'Everybody has only a certain amount of time, energy and finances,' to do spring cleaning and maintenance, so MacKay advises making lists to keep your plans organized. (lovemelovemypic/Shutterstock)

Then go for a walk around your house, room by room. Look around, starting with the ceiling, and note what needs to be fixed or cleaned — do walls need to be scrubbed, or repainted? Are there dents that need filling? Do floors need refinishing?

Outside check if trees need to be cut back, if your driveway needs resurfacing, etc.

Do this "with an non-biased eye — you're going to pretend you don't live there, and see what other people see when they come into your house," advises MacKay. 

2. Prioritize

"Everybody has only a certain amount of time, energy and finances to be able to do all of these things," MacKay acknowledges.

'It doesn't seem as overwhelming if you're taking it step by step,' says columnist Liz MacKay. (Submitted)

Figure out how much money each item will cost (get estimates) and how much time they will take. Figure out which jobs you can do yourself and which will require help. 

"Some you might need to take out a line of credit or put it on your mortgage if these are really big, structural items," she said. 

Then, prioritize the tasks in room from least to most significant time and money-wise. Some tasks might be urgent, while others may be able to wait a year or two, MacKay said. Then you can save money toward those fixes.

3. Make a plan

Create a realistic plan — mark your fixes and cleaning tasks on a calendar. Some can be done in the spring, some in the summer and others in the fall.

Write down steps for each thing. For instance, MacKay is in the middle of a kitchen renovation — the cupboards are done, and now the family is deciding on a paint colour and lighting options — they're not trying to do it all at once.

"It doesn't seem as overwhelming if you're taking it step by step, and not going outside of your expenses either," MacKay said. 

4. Follow through

Sometimes at the end of a task like painting a room, motivation can wane — that baseboard can end up never getting a final coat. 

'Follow through and finish' tasks you've started, McKay says. Then, 'reward yourself!' (DGLimages/Shutterstock)

"Follow through and finish that one plan," MacKay urges. "Have a goal in mind of when you want it accomplished by, and reward yourself!"

This way, you will enjoy your home while you are in it — not just when you go to sell it.

"Homes that are neglected look sad," MacKay said. 

5. Your spring cleaning suggestions

A recent callout for spring cleaning suggestions on Facebook had plenty of you weighing in. Most people purge unwanted items to get them out of the way before cleaning. 

Sort out your closet with the change of season, advises professional organizer and interior designer Billie Jane Buell. (globalmoments/Shutterstock)

"Facebook always has someone wanting something. Out of sight out of mind and in money," is Jeff Jardine's favourite way to declutter in spring. 

Others suggested putting aside excess stuff for charity including the Confederation Centre's Pinch Penny Fair April 28, Summerside's Free Store, the Mikinduri Children of Hope yard sale May 5, the twice-annual WoHeLo clothing sales at the QEH and more. 

Pam Scott shared that she washes out her curtains and hangs them outdoors, pulls out appliances and furniture and washes underneath, turns and flips mattresses, washes walls and windows and more. "Process takes about a week. Planning is key especially if working full time," she said. "Key is not to beat self up if can't get done when want to."

Edit your closet in spring, too, suggests P.E.I. professional wardrobe stylist-image consultant Billie-Jane Buell. Her top tip: "I always create three categories for closet edits while working with clients — giveaways, alterations, and keepers."

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Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara has worked with CBC News in P.E.I. since 1988, starting with television and radio before moving to the digital news team. She grew up on the Island and has a journalism degree from the University of King's College in Halifax. Reach her by email at

With files from Angela Walker