go to content
DIY

Take BuzzFeed's 10-Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

Learn how to clean smarter, not harder: Make your home sparkle in less than 10 minutes a day.

Posted on

Let's face it: Cleaning can be a daunting task. And keeping things clean is even worse.

The BuzzFeed Spring Cleaning Challenge is here to help you break your cleaning routine down into small, easy steps. By tackling different rooms for only a few minutes at a time, keeping your home clean will start being a productive habit instead of feeling like an overwhelming chore. Best of all, these are tips you can incorporate into your daily routine all year round.

We consulted with cleaning expert Laura Dellutri and feng shui expert Karen Kingston to help you clean smarter, not harder.

We'll give you the tools and tricks you need to get your place into great shape without even breaking a sweat, and we'll break down each task into smaller pieces so that no matter how much time you have — whether it's ten minutes, five minutes, or even just one minute — you'll be able to make a difference.

Want extra tips and inspiration to help you get through every day of the challenge? Sign up now!



And here's what you'll need:

Lauren Zaser for BuzzFeed

1. Spray bottle (with 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water solution)

2. Microfiber cloth

3. Socks (cotton or microfiber work best)

4. Plastic bags

5. Lemon

6. Duster

7. White vinegar

8. Magic Erasers

9. Rubber band

10. Newspaper

11. Dryer sheets (used work best)

12. Antibacterial all-purpose cleaner (APC)

13. Paper towels

PLUS:

Vacuum

Toilet paper

Some overall tips to get you started:

Set a timer for the amount of time you're going to clean — you'll be surprised at how much you can actually get done in five minutes. Even better, put on your favorite song! Turn the volume up high and set your phone's sleep timer to stop playing the music after one, five, or ten minutes (depending on how much time you have). Remember: You don't need to try to deep-clean everything.

That's because this challenge isn't simply about the results — it's about creating new healthy habits for your home. "You are already there," says Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits. "[Cleaning] is not a set of ideals to aspire to, a standard of perfection to achieve. This is a mindfulness practice, and if you are cleaning or decluttering mindfully, you have already arrived."

Oh, and if any of the steps don't apply to you (if you don't have a dishwasher, for example), just spend some extra time on one of the other steps. Or, sign up for our daily newsletter reminders to get an exclusive bonus round suggestion for each day!

And, we're off!

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Make the bed

Don’t let yourself leave your room in the morning until the bed is made. No matter what. It sets a productive emotional tone for the day and instantly makes the entire room look cleaner. Plus, it’s so much more satisfying to climb into a bed at night that’s been made.

Five minutes: Clear the surfaces ( + make the bed)

Working clockwise around the room, clear the clutter off the nightstand, dresser, desk, etc. Do a quick trash sweep — throw away anything in sight that is clearly trash. Get all the clothes off the floor and chairs and put them in the laundry bin or your dresser.

Ten minutes: Dust ( + make the bed + clear the surfaces)

Supplies you’ll need: Socks or dust cloth

Put a sock on each hand and dust every surface, swiping only once over every area (not back and forth, which just moves the dust around). Don’t forget the tops of mirrors, picture frames, and all around the door frame. Toss the socks right in the hamper when you’re done. As you leave the room, take the clothes from the bin with you to the laundry room, if you have one.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Wipe down cabinet drawer handles

Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth or sock, All-Purpose Cleaner

Spray your microfiber cloth with all-purpose cleaner and clean the handles or the edge of the doors where fingers go. Don’t forget the lower cabinets where things often drip.

Five minutes: Tackle some dishes ( + wipe down cabinet drawer handles)

Whether you need to hand wash or load or unload the dishwasher, just do as much as you can in five minutes. If you have extra time, wipe your sink and faucet with APC.

Ten minutes: Clean your trash can & recycling bin ( + Wipe down handles + tackle some dishes)
Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth or socks, All-Purpose Cleaner

When trash goes into the bins, it often drips and leaves grime on the inside and outside that can start to smell. Spray the outside AND inside of the bin with your all-purpose cleaner and wipe them down.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Shine the sink & mirror

Supplies you’ll need: All-purpose cleaner, newspaper, dryer sheet

Spray your all-purpose cleaner on the mirror, the faucet, and the bowl of the sink. For a streak-free clean, dry the mirror off with crumpled-up newspaper. Use an old dryer sheet to shine the faucet first, then to clean the inside of the bowl. The fibers won’t scratch surfaces but are a great buffing element.

Five minutes: Clean the toilet ( + shine the sink & mirror)
Supplies you’ll need: All-purpose cleaner, toilet paper or microfiber cloth

Spritz APC all over the toilet: the seat, under the seat, the tank, the handle, and especially the bottom where most people forget to clean. Then, use toilet paper to wipe it clean, throw the used paper in the bowl, and flush! (A microfiber cloth works, too, just don't flush that one!)

Ten minutes: Clean the shower ( + shine the sink & mirror + clean the toilet)
Supplies you’ll need: Vinegar, plastic bag, rubber band

Throw away any old bottles or razors and neatly arrange what’s left. Then, fill a plastic bag with vinegar and use a rubber band or hair tie to secure it around the shower head. The next time someone takes a shower (or at least an hour later), have them take off the bag and wipe down the head to get rid of buildup and stains.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Shake out your welcome mat

Ideally, you should have one on the inside and one on the outside of your door for a two-step way to track dirt before it gets in. Tidy up any shoes or bags nearby.

Five minutes: Clean the door ( + shake out your welcome mat)
Supplies you’ll need: All-purpose cleaner, microfiber cloth, dryer sheet

The front door is the first thing we see but the last thing we remember to clean. Spray your cloth with all-purpose cleaner and scrub the door from top to bottom. Use a dryer sheet to polish the door handle.

Ten minutes: Dust your vents ( + shake out your welcome mat + clean the door)
Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth, rubber band, butter knife

Put a microfiber cloth on a butter knife, secure it with a rubber band, and use it to clean in between the slats of your air duct. You’ll see less dust in your home and eliminate a fire hazard.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Tidy up

Put away anything that’s out of place. Fluff (or flip) couch cushions and pillows, straighten things on the coffee table to give it some order, and put the remote back where it belongs.

Five minutes: Spot vacuum ( + tidy up)
Supplies you’ll need: Vacuum
Follow the paths most often taken throughout the room (i.e., from the door to the sofa, from the door to the other door) and only vacuum those areas.

Ten minutes: Dust ( + tidy up + spot vacuum)
Supplies you’ll need: Duster

Cleaning expert Laura Dellutri’s genius trick is to velcro her duster to her vacuum so she always has it handy to do both tasks at once: With one hand you can spot vacuum and with the other you dust whatever you can reach. Make sure to clean the surface and top of the TV, the shelves of any bookcases, and anything you can’t see the top of.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Take out three things

Don’t spend too much time on it, just find three things that are trash or old or don’t belong there. Get rid of them or put them where they actually belong.

Five minutes: Clean the outside & top of your dresser ( + take out three things)
Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth, vinegar solution

Whether they're actual drawer pulls or just the bottom of the drawer with a lip to open it, those places where hands go can get really grimy. Spend a second wiping down the front and top of the dresser and shine up the handles.

Ten minutes: Clean the actual drawer ( + take out three things + clean the outside and top of your dresser)
Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth, vinegar solution

Take everything out and wipe it down. Use a laundry basket or a tray to make things easier to replace. Then spray the water/vinegar mix on a microfiber cloth and wipe out all the sides and bottom of the drawer. As you’re putting things back, try to leave everything a little neater than you found it.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Dust off the sill

Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth or socks, vinegar solution

Dust off the sill. Use your duster or a cloth sprayed with water/vinegar. Make sure to open the window and get the grime that’s trapped underneath.

Five minutes: Clean the blinds ( + dust off the sill)
Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth or socks, vinegar solution, APC

Put clean old socks on your hands. Spray one with your water/vinegar mix and rub along the each of the blinds, using the other to dry. This works for wood blinds as well as plastic ones.

Ten minutes: Scrub the frame & muntins ( + dust off the sill + clean the blinds)
Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth or socks, All-purpose cleaner

If your windows have separate panes, the muntin is the wood or metal strip holding the panes together. Spray your APC on a sock then clean only the muntins. Then do the same with the frame or molding around the window.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Take out three things

Don’t spend too much time on it, just find three things that are trash or old or don’t belong there. Get rid of them or put them where they actually belong.

Five minutes: Focus on a shelf ( + throw out three things)
Forget the hanging racks, just start with whatever is on the shelves above the rack. Refold things. Try this genius trick to fold a shirt in two seconds. Make sure all boxes and bins face out so you can actually identify things when you go to look for them.

Ten minutes: Turn all your hangers the "wrong" way ( + throw out three things + clean a shelf)
After you wear something and wash it, put the hanger back the right way. This is the best way to see what you actually wear so you know which things to get rid of after a month or a season.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Throw away anything that is empty

And things that are almost empty. You’re probably not going to use that last teaspoon of mustard, so go ahead toss it out. Take out leftovers that are more than three days old, soda that’s flat, and anything that’s expired.

Five minutes: Clean the shelves ( + throw away empties)
Supplies you’ll need: Vinegar solution, microfiber cloth, Magic Eraser

Spritz your microfiber cloth with your water/vinegar and make sure to get the front of any shelves and drawers where things might have dripped. For tougher stains, use your Magic Eraser.

Ten minutes: Shine the front ( + throw away empties + clean the shelves)
Supplies you’ll need: Microfiber cloth, All-purpose cleaner

Use your APC and cloth on the front of the fridge and especially the handles and the sides where you don't often reach.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

One minute: Clean the dishwasher

Supplies you’ll need: Vinegar, All-purpose cleaner, microfiber cloth

Put a cup of vinegar in the top rack of the dishwasher and run it on extra hot. That will quickly clean it of residue and soap scum. You can also put the vinegar in the detergent cups. Then spray the outside of the dishwasher with APC and wipe it down.

Five minutes: Clean the stovetop ( + the dishwasher)
Supplies you’ll need: All-purpose cleaner, paper towels

Before you tackle the dishwasher, spray the top of your cooktop and a few paper towels with APC. Lay the paper towels over the top of the toughest stains. After two minutes, use the paper towels to wipe it clean.

Ten minutes: Clean the microwave ( + the dishwasher + the stovetop)
Supplies you’ll need: Lemon, water, paper towels, Magic Eraser

Fill a cup with water and half a lemon and put it in the microwave for three minutes on high. Then work on the dishwasher and the stovetop. Once the time goes off, let it sit for two more minutes. Then use paper towels to wipe the microwave clean. For tougher stains, use your Magic Eraser.

Congrats! You've made it all the way to the end.

Alice Mongkongllite for BuzzFeed

And hopefully your life feels a little more together than it did when you started. Now that you've got a baseline, it'll be so much easier to keep it up!

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss