A roll of shelf liner surrounded by bath accessories.

Some people make spring cleaning seem like it’s just doing a little dusting and opening some windows. Of course, those people don’t do the spring cleaning. For the rest of us, this annual rite can be a daunting, proposition. Even a modest sized apartment has enough nooks and crannies in need of sprucing up to keep you cleaning for weeks.

But fear not! You can section this massive task into four easy portions and then divide and conquer. That way, you’re not still doing spring cleaning over July 4th weekend. Here’s how you do it:

1. Suck it Up: Do the Vacuuming First

Take the dust off the project – literally. Doing the vacuuming will have an immediate impact and help you feel like you’re getting somewhere – and that can help inspire more cleaning!

Remember, all that dirt starts up high before it hits the floor, so be sure to vacuum higher places to keep the dust from getting on the floor. Sprinkle a little scented carpet powder on the floor to give all your rooms a nice fresh aroma.

Don’t miss these areas:

  • Carpets, rugs and floors under furniture
  • Lampshades
  • Mattresses
  • Couch cushions

2. Do a Top Shelf Job. And the Other Shelves, Too.

Shelves are right in your eye line, so there’s no excuse here; you’re looking right at them. Sure, between your kitchen and bathrooms, there are plenty of shelves to tackle, but it’s not as bad as you think.

Instead of emptying ALL the shelves, take them one at a time. This is better than emptying everything at once and letting all those shelves overwhelm you.

Don’t forget to:

  • Clean out dust and crumbs, paying special attention to hard-to-reach corners.
  • Wipe the surface thoroughly with the appropriate cleaning solution to protect against germs.
  • Apply shelf liner before putting items back.

3. Hit the Showers. And the Tub.

This one will take some elbow grease, but it’s worth it. It may actually be worth hitting the DIY store and grabbing a cheap set of kneepads for the job. Because you’ll want to get down and do some scrubbing to take out the hard-to-reach mildew buildup in these steamy environments.

Don’t forget to:

  • Wear protective gloves
  • Use a good detergent and a tough-brushed scrubber to remove any grime
  • Clean showerheads, shower poles and seams that may be missed in regular cleaning

4. Put Yourself on Ice

Remember that shrimp lo mein you had for dinner back in September? Well it’s still in the back of your fridge. Everyone’s fridge has all kinds of surprises, and spring is the ideal time to clean them out.

Don’t forget to:

  • Defrost the freezer. Ice buildup can drag down energy efficiency and make organizing a nightmare.
  • Give every refrigerator shelf a thorough cleaning with a disinfectant and be sure each surface is completely dry before replacing any items.
  • Get the outside of the fridge, too: the unseen top is a dust magnet, and you likely have a dirt collection under the doors.