Dear Urbaneer: Help! It’s My First Annual Spring Cleaning And I Want To Clean Sustainably

Dear Urbaneer


Welcome to a new installment of Dear Urbaneer a series in which I answer questions from my curious readers about all matters of house and home. This month, our reader is preparing to spring-clean, while thinking ahead about their summer tasks as well, executed with an eco-friendly approach.



Dear Urbaneer:

Having moved into my property purchase in October, with the arrival of spring I am ready to embark on my first concerted effort to spring clean as a homeowner. However, I’m not entirely sure where to begin, and frankly, the whole undertaking is daunting. I’m also interested in embracing an eco-friendly approach and living life more sustainably. Can you recommend a Spring-cleaning list, advice on where to start, and how I can make environmentally friendly practices standard? I intend to make this an annual event.


Seeking That Spring Clean Feeling




Here is my reply:

Dear Spring Clean Feeling:

After hibernating for the winter, there is nothing quite as energizing as throwing open the windows, letting the fresh air in, and embracing the season of rebirth. Spring represents fresh beginnings, renewed optimism, and moving forward which, after being cloistered in our dwellings for several months is perhaps why the season lends itself so naturally to the ritual of a deep clean. For some, spring incites our desire for change so much it’s one reason the real estate market is the busiest of the year.

You also indicated your desire to make this annual ritual eco-friendly which is both wise and practical, especially given the celebration of Earth Day was just a week ago. You might be interested in the posts I’ve penned in the past about Earth Day, including The Irony Of Navigating COVID-19 On The 50th Anniversary Of Earth Day – and – Earth Day 2023: Are You Investing In Our Planet?

You may find these posts helpful as well –> Dear Urbaneer: How Can I Incorporate Eco-Friendly Décor And Products At Home? – and – Dear Urbaneer: How Can I Make My Outdoor Space More Eco-Friendly? – and – Dear Urbaneer: What Is Biophilia And How Can I Use It In Home Design?.




Spring Cleaning Is A Gift To Your Health & Well-Being

Although it can seem onerous to execute a comprehensive deep clean of your living quarters, it’s wise to have a seasonal routine and checklist because consistently maintaining your home offers sustainable fringe benefits, such as contributing to energy efficiency and other planet-friendly objectives.

The other good news is that completing these tasks will ensure you have a healthier and calmer home environment for you to enjoy.

Here is a spring task list and how to plan for summer too.




The Purge

Before you even start to clean, get rid of clutter and unwanted items, ideally finding ways to either recycle or donate them, helping with the circular economy and keeping things out of landfills.

Start with seasonal items, but have a hard look at things you haven’t used in a long time, and consider getting rid of those things too. There are several benefits to cutting down on “stuff”. Clutter contributes to chaos, so streamlining possessions can help with mental health. Furthermore, for those meaningful items you keep, display them prominently as they’ll bring you more joy. If you have a lot of keepsakes, rotate them. I come from a family of artists so I have a lot of mementos. For years I have installed Art Rails in my residences so that I can switch out my pieces as I choose. Keeping my treasures circulating allows me to refresh how my home looks – a mini Style Enhancement of sorts – and ensure my space doesn’t get too stale. It’s a win-win for you, your residence, and the environment.




Review Your Storage Solutions

As part of your purge activities, review your existing storage solutions and determine whether any items being stored aren’t clutter-in-waiting. Also, assess whether you might be lacking sufficient storage in particular areas of your dwelling.

Sufficient storage is essential, no matter how large or how small your residence is. It’s integral to staying organized, and it’s necessary to present a cohesive home aesthetic, no matter what it is (and, let’s acknowledge, some people don’t subscribe to an aesthetic so this will matter less to them). Future Buyers will always appreciate quality storage (the return on investment for custom closets or built-in units is 100% providing they’re not suffering too much from wear and tear).

Keeping clutter under control is particularly important for those living in open-concept space plans because everything can be seen at once. Clutter interrupts sightlines and doesn’t give the eye anywhere to rest.

Consider incorporating built-in bookcases or cabinetry. On a budget? Execute an Ikea Hack. Look at in-closet organization systems. In rooms such as the kitchen, things like drawer dividers, pot and pan holders, cutlery trays and inserts can maximize functionality in a space where you typically need a lot of “stuff” at hand. Another great storage trick is to use Multi-purpose furniture, such as ottomans that lift, or bench seating that offers storage underneath.




Eco-friendly Cleaning Kit

Now that your home is organized, it is time to get down to the business of cleaning. Before you start, look at your cleaning tool kit, and stock it with eco-friendly or natural cleaners, preferably in refillable containers.

Lemons, vinegar, and baking soda are commonly used organic cleaners. Microfiber clothes are effective and an eco-friendly option than paper towels because there’s less waste. Be mindful of how much water you are using to do your cleaning, and plan accordingly.




Window Cleaning

To really let the sun shine in, start by cleaning your windows inside and out. Remove the screens first, and scrub away the dust and debris from winter before you place them back on.

Cleaning the windows does double duty for the planet as well because it allows you to inspect windows for damage. Remember windows and doors are literally holes in your home’s airtight envelope, so if there are cracks in the window panes or seals, air is escaping, driving up operating expenses and increasing our carbon footprint.




Extra Cleaning Tasks

Rather than do your usual whole-home surface cleaning, spring should be dedicated to a deep clean. Launder window coverings and the shower curtain, steam-clean your upholstery and area rugs, or shampoo your broadloom. Shake out your soft furnishings or launder them. The same goes for mattress covers, duvets, pillows and bedding. Check to see if anything needs replacing.

Wipe down walls and ceilings, dust your baseboards, and clean your light fixtures, ceiling fans, and electrical components. Make a note of any wear and tear or damage.

In the kitchen, washroom, and laundry area, empty and clean any cabinetry inside and out, including the tops if they’re exposed. Do a deep clean of every appliance. Wash out trash and recycling bins. Clean the kitchen backsplash and countertops. Wherever there is grout, create a paste of baking soda and vinegar and clean it with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make a note of any mold, and recaulk your bathtub or shower if necessary.





Take time to descale all of your faucets. Mineral buildup inside the faucet occurs over time, and it can contribute directly to wasting water.

Take your faucets apart and put the faucet head in a plastic bag filled with half vinegar, and half water. Let it sit for about half an hour, and then wipe clean. Alternatively, if you don’t want to take your faucets apart, soak a cloth in the mixture, wrap it around the faucet, and let it sit for a while. Do the same with your showerhead, to get a clean, efficient flow. If any faucets are dripping they may need new washers.





Dusting is obviously required to get a squeaky-clean home, but did you know that dusting can help with your home’s energy efficiency? Dust can get into appliances and other systems, making them work less efficiently. Remember to pull out appliances and dust the back of the fridge, washer and dryer.

Don’t forget your lightbulbs as dust interferes with their ability to work efficiently.




Switch The Direction Of The Ceiling Fan

When you clean your ceiling fan, switch it to the counterclockwise direction, and keep it that way until the fall. Remember, heat rises, so in the spring and summer months, the goal is creating a down draft, so that you use less energy to keep your room cool.




Change Filters & Batteries

Spring is always a good time to swap out the HVAC filter, to help with air quality and energy efficiency. Don’t forget to fire it up and ensure that it’s working. Also, don’t stop with the HVAC. Change water filters, and appliance filters (the dryer, the dishwasher etc.). Check out your range hood, and if your vacuum has a filter, this is a good time to change it as well.

If your smoke and/or CO2 alarm, or your keypads to your doors are battery-operated, replace them with new ones. I usually do mine when the clock springs forward or back.




Clean The Eavestroughs & Rain Barrel

If you have and are responsible for the eavestroughs and they don’t have protective covers, clean them out so water can drain off your roof effortlessly. Use this as an opportunity to ensure the downspouts aren’t leaking and ensure the water is running away from your foundation and not pooling nearby otherwise, it could lead to water management issues and an expensive future repair. Also, ensure your rain barrel is functioning and your hose is in good nick. Also, consider creating a Rain Garden.




Get Your Outdoor Space Prepared

Once the frost is gone, it would be smart to do a comprehensive inspection of the exterior of your dwelling and yard just to ensure all is in order. Ensure no roofing tiles have gone missing, and ensure any window well gets cleared of debris.

Now’s the time to prepare your balcony, patio, terrace, or garden. Give the hardscaping a good sweep, or even a power wash. Check your garden implements, planters & pots, outdoor furnishings, and bird feeders if you have them for damage. Clean everything.

Check any fencing, structures, lighting, water features/swimming pool, or paved areas (tennis court) to ensure they haven’t been compromised over the winter. You may want to make repairs or refresh them before you do any planting.

Think about incorporating a veggie garden or compost this year if you don’t have that already, for an eco-friendly spin at home. Plan your garden out and order your seeds or plants, or head out to your local nursery to stock up. Choose native plants and flowers that are part of the local ecosystem and avoid invasive species. Remove any weeds or rocks from your garden area, turn the soil, and feed it with organic material in advance of planting your seed and flowers.




Tasks For Late Spring/Early Summer

As the weather improves, tackle your outdoor projects diligently to set your summer up for success. Get the work done sooner rather than later because working outdoors when it’s humid and hot can be exhausting and even a health risk.

Inspect your trees for damage and trim any broken branches. If you locate a diseased tree, call in an expert to see if you can save it, or have it removed. Dead or dying trees are hazardous during storms and could fall on your home.

Ensure your barbecue is in working order, then clean the lid inside and out first. Remove the grates and scrub away debris with a scour pad, soap, and water. It can help to soak them ahead of time or run them through the dishwasher. Clean out and around the burners (you generally don’t have to remove them to get them clean). Be sure to clean out the catch pan, where grease and drippings may have accumulated over the past season. If you have a fire pit, ensure it is in proper working order too.

Clean all the cushions and pillows for outdoor use, as well as your outdoor umbrella or screens for your porch. Use dish detergent, and then spray rinse with your hose.  Wicker and rattan are common patio furniture materials. Vacuum dirt off first, and then wipe clean after the loose dirt is gone.

If you have a 3-season room, wash and store those extra blankets and heavy comforters you use during the cooler months, swapping in the more lightweight linen for the summer. Give it a quick refresh on the fluff cycle, or better still, hang out on a sunshiny day. Ensure your summer towels, wraps, and sheets have another season of longevity. Check the tags and if they’re suitable do a wash cycle in hot water and baking soda, and then dry on the high setting in the dryer.

(And, although it’s a little premature, don’t forget to read my winter advice here: Dear Urbaneer: How Should I Prepare My House For Winter?)


Thank you for your great question! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of any further help.



Want to learn more about the best way to take care of your home? Check out these posts of mine for further reading.

A Realtor’s Tips for Mastering a Condo Move

Dear Urbaneer: How Can I Prepare My Home For Emergencies?

Dear Urbaneer: What Preparations Do I Need To Make Before Moving Into My New Home?

Dear Urbaneer: We’ve Moved Into Our New Home. Now What?

Dear Urbaneer: How Do I Best Equip And Furnish My Home? (+ Design Tips!)

Dear Urbaneer: How Do We Establish Our Interior Design Style?

Dear Urbaneer: What Are The Steps To Home Renovation?

Dear Urbaneer: What Are The Tasks & Timeline When Selling Your Home?

Dear Urbaneer: What Is The Best Process For My Elderly Parents To Downsize And Sell Their House?



As a realtor and a shelter expert who does consultations, I am always invested in making the most of your home, no matter the season, or the reason! With a treasure trove of maintenance tips, design and décor strategies, and advice on buying and selling, I welcome assisting you with any of your housing and home needs!

Since 1989, I’ve steered my career through a real estate market crash and burn; survived a slow painful cross-country recession; completed an M.E.S. graduate degree from York University called ‘Planning Housing Environments’; executed the concept, sales & marketing of multiple new condo and vintage loft conversions; and guided hundreds of clients through the purchase and sale of hundreds of freehold and condominium dwellings across the original City of Toronto. From a gritty port industrial city into a glittering post-industrial global centre, I’ve navigated the ebbs and flows of a property market as a consistent Top Producer. And I remain as passionate about it today as when I started.

Consider contacting me at 416-845-9905 or email me at It would be my pleasure to personally introduce our services to you.

Serving first and second-time Buyers, relocations, renovators, and those building their long-term property portfolios, our mandate is to help clients choose the property that will realize the highest future return on their investment while ensuring the property best serves their practical needs and their dream of “Home” during their ownership.

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Thanks for reading!


-The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800


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