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A checklist: 25 ways to spruce up your home

By: Mitch Mitchell
November 5, 2022

Moving into a previously-owned home? Or have you been living there long enough that it's lacking that "brand new" feeling? 

Either way, tap into our checklist of over two dozen deep cleaning tips to help you love your home more than ever!

  1. Clean strategically. Start in the room furthest from the main entrance. Then clean from the top down. Dust the ceiling and overhead lights, removing cobwebs in corners, then work your way down to the walls, closet doors, window sills and moldings. Do floors last and shut the door when finished.
  2. Clear out the closets. Once closets are full of clothes and vacuums and everything else you want to keep out of sight, you're unlikely to dive back in. So take a moment to clear them out and reorganize.
  3. Scrub the tub. Nobody wants to soak in a tub that still has traces of last summer — or worse, the previous owner. Soap and water will do the trick unless you have dirty bathtub rings. If so, buy something stronger — or go online to learn how to make an all-natural scrub.
  4. Freshen up the throne. Forget the sofa and the recliner, the toilet is probably the most important seat in the house. If it's over a decade old, get a new one.
  5. Wash the dishwasher. Yes, you read that correctly. Put a cup of white vinegar in the top rack and run a wash cycle. Then sprinkle a cup of baking soda over the bottom rack and run the dishwasher a second time. All clean!
  6. Defunk the fridge. Keep the remaining vinegar from the last chore and use it in the refrigerator. Remove the shelves and crisper drawers, scrub them with a bit of liquid soap and then use a mixture of vinegar and water to wipe them down. Make sure you scrub the inner walls of the fridge, too.
  7. Reclaim the oven. Toss dials and drip pans in the dishwasher for a deep clean. If oven racks are caked-on with hard-to-remove charred food and grease, soak them outside in a mixture of hot water and clear ammonia. If you have no outdoor area, don't try it indoors. Splurge and buy new racks!
  8. Lose the lint. Not only is a lint-filled vent kinda gross — it's a natural fire hazard. Clean it out with a vacuum attachment once a year to improve your dryer's efficiency.
  9. Restore the floor. Blame gravity, but floors get gross. We've found steam mops to be a quick and easy way to clean hardwoods, laminate and tile. We advise against a regular mop on hardwood floors, though — left-over water residue can ruin the finish.
  10. Deep clean the carpets. If there are wall-to-wall carpets and they're still in good shape, rent a carpet cleaner from your local grocery or hardware stores. You'd be surprised to see what's lurking in those fibers, and you want no part of it.
  11. Destroy germs. Nearly every light switch, doorknob and thermostat has been touched by everyone who's ever been in your home. Ewww. Take the time to disinfect anything and everything with buttons or a handle.
    A checklist: 25 ways to spruce up your home
  12. Baby wipe the cabinets. Kitchen cabinets get gross, too: loose pasta and spilled rice, oil from jars and stains from old tin cans. Remove your dishes, glasses and groceries, scrub them down and add a shelf liner for good measure.
  13. Lock it down. Who knows who the previous owner gave a key to? Protect your valuables and family by switching out locks and deadbolts. A security system is also a good idea. Consider one with online video monitoring, smartphone compatibility, doorbell guards and thermostat control!
  14. Clear the air. Changing an air filter takes two minutes, but most people never bother, even though it can improve air cooling and heating and remove allergens in the home. Do it today and set a mobile phone alert to remind you every 90 days.
  15. Be a fan. Ceiling fan blades are dust magnets and easy to ignore. It's best to wipe them down when you first move in. But if it's been a while, tackle it now — and do it before washing the carpet or mopping the floor beneath!
  16. Shut the front door. Then paint it. Nothing tells the new neighbors that you love living on the block like a freshly painted front door. It's a great time to show off your personal style, so we say go for a color that makes a statement.
  17. Pest-proof your place. There are many DIY ways to keep insects and rodents out of your home, but they'll eventually find a way in. Our advice? Call the professionals to do a full health check — including termites — and have them fumigate before you move your things in!
  18. Spruce up your interiors. Many people recommend living in a home before settling on a color that speaks to you. If that sounds like you, we suggest choosing neutral colors that go with everything — nothing bold and brash. Just wait until the pest fumigation is done.
  19. Create an inbox. Believe it or not, snail mail is still a thing — and it can pile up. So find a place to keep it where you'll regularly pull out the stack and go through it. By the front door or in the kitchen is a hard-to-ignore spot.
  20. Locate shut-off valves. While you're sprucing up, know where the shut-off valves are for water (under the toilet or sink), gas (near the stove or dryer), or electricity (your circuit breaker.) Locate them now so you're not panicking in an emergency later.
  21. Get advice on local services. The best way to learn about hired help — like plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers — is to ask the neighbors. It's also a great way to meet the locals.
  22. Post about poison control. This is especially important if you have pets or kids. Find the contact info for poison control and post it on a message board or prominently on the fridge.
  23. Test smoke detectors. Sure, this isn't considered deep cleaning, but while you're at it, it makes sense to make sure the smoke alarms are fully functional. Check all your smoke detectors and replace the batteries with brand new ones. You might even want to have the fire department inspect them.
  24. Unchoke gutters. Clear the leaves and other debris that can block a steady water flow in heavy rain. We tend to do this three times a year: when spring starts, mid-summer and before winter. If gutters are high up in your new home, don't risk a fall. Call a pro.
  25. Chimney Sweep. If your home has a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove, be on the safe side. Get it cleaned professionally when you move in, and then every few years to be on the safe side.
black and white photo of Mitch Mitchell
Author: Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell is a freelance contributor to Movement's marketing department. He also writes about tech, online security, the digital education community, travel, and living with dogs. He’d like to live somewhere warm.