The Four-Step Plan for Cleaning Up Your Home

Roll up your sleeves, break out your cleaning supplies, and get down to business.

If you're anything like us, you balk at the first mention of cleaning your home. It's annoying, and it cuts into precious weekend relaxing time. But it doesn’t have to be all bleach and buckets.

Even if you're especially resistant to tidying up, taking just a couple hours once or twice a year will pay big dividends for your home life. When everything is clean and de-cluttered, you'll be able to rest easier in your off hours, and host your next poker night or wine and cheese tasting without out worries.

In that spirit, this short list of cleaning tips will not only refresh your home, but they’ll give your mind a boost as well.

Overhaul Your Closet

Step 1: Out with the Old

Take everything out of your closet and survey the goods. Pick out the clothes you actually wear on a regular basis and give them a close inspection. Shirts with yellowing collars, worn-out plackets, or set-in stains? Chinos you haven't worn in years? Put them in the donate pile.

Also, take note as to what’s still sartorially appropriate. Those boot-cut, wide wale cords probably aren’t scoring you any points around the office, so maybe it’s time to part with them. There's something to be said for boundary-pushing style, certainly, and we won't fault anyone for trying out some pro-level menswear with loud designs or unconventional fits. But tailored silhouettes and clean lines aren't just on trend right now; they're timelessly stylish. If it’s too baggy or too busy in an outdated kind of way, move on.

As for everything that you don’t regularly wear, put 'em in the donate pile.

Step 2: In with the New

Now make a list of what you need to replace or add to your wardrobe this season. No one is asking you to break the bank, but a few crisp, new shirts and untarnished pants are a worthy investment for your self-image.

Oh, and those jeans that fit you two years ago, but are too tight around the waist now? Get rid of them. Instead of waiting for those pants to fit you again, decide that when you’re back down to your optimal waist size, you’ll reward yourself with a new pair.

Deep Clean One Room

Even if you keep a tidy place, you'd be surprised at what dust and gunk can unknowingly build up. So it’s time to invest at least an hour and give at least one room a deep cleaning.

We recommend the bathroom, as it gets heavy foot traffic and has a knack for storing up some serious bacteria and grime. Scrub the floors (as in, on your hands and knees with a scrub brush and bucket), clean grout, sanitize door knobs and faucet handles, and vacuum out exhaust fans. Mix a few tablespoons of white vinegar with baking soda to form a versatile cleaning paste for sinks, showers, and the toilet.

Become a Botanist

Ok, not literally. But get outside and spruce up those flower beds a bit. You don’t need to have a green thumb to up your curb appeal.

Spread some new mulch, drop in a few perennials from your local greenhouse (ask them which ones are best, given the amount of light your house gets), and rake up any leaves leftover from fall. If you live in the city, hang a flower box outside your kitchen window, and grow some fresh basil for cooking.

No matter where you live, bring some greenery inside, too. A few indoor plants can not only boost the attractiveness of your abode, but they can also decrease stress. And since we know you don’t have time for a juice cleanse, why not pick up a peace lily, aloe plant, or spider plant, all of which have air-purifying qualities.

Clean You Car

There’s no greater feeling than spending an afternoon making your wheels sparkle. Sure, you could swing through the car wash, but that automated contraption doesn’t know the ins and outs of your ride the way you do. Taking pride in your ride starts with taking care of it.

Vacuum with a shop vac, clean all the glass inside and out, and wash the body and wheels by hand (use separate sponges!). Once it's clean, give the body a nice coat of wax and buff to a pearly finish.

We live in a culture of “life hacks” and half-assery, but sometimes it pays to slow down and simply do the work. You can easily complete this entire list in a weekend or two, and the physical and mental dividends will come back to you tenfold.

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