Writer Pam Coyle

By Pam Coyle

I did it again Saturday.

A crud-covered, dusty desk ignited a spark of cleaning but I started on the desk surface and not the shelving unit attached to it. In doing so, I not only had to take half a Benadryl to stop the sneezing (dust allergy) but also violated one of the most important rules of spring cleaning – or any other cleaning:

Left to right, top to bottom.

This mantra I learned while writing blogs for a residential cleaning franchise company, though the idea is simple common sense. I’ve known it for decades but still can’t stop myself. The bookshelves in our wide hallway are my biggest downfall – they collect dust like tack paper catches flies – and I’ll dust around the books, ignoring the piles of stuff on top of them. Worse, I’ll sweep the accumulated dust and dog hair from under the shelving units and then decide to dust.


I hate that. Honestly, though, cleaning for me isn’t the real chore. Dealing with clutter is. (Get Organized Before Spring Cleaning)

Spring cleaning for us involves a bit of both. Windows open, gear at hand, left-to-right, top-to-bottom allows more than one person to work in the same room, or tackle different rooms. For folks who keep neat, tidy and clean homes, the approach makes forgetting where you left off harder. At our home, where we took a break is pretty obvious.

A few tips I’ve learned along the way:
• Use microfiber cloth for dusting because it picks up the particles and does not simply move dust from place to place.
• Dust baseboards before scrubbing them. Using a wet cloth on dusty painted baseboards, at least at our house, has created smears and sticky gummy stuff. I blame it on the dogs.
• Add a few drops of an essential oil – lavender is nice – to the vacuum bag for cleaning upholstery, decorative pillows and heavier window treatments.
• Blast music you love. Better still, create a cleaning soundtrack with favorite songs. I have cleaned to soundtracks from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Evita” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and added my own vocals – but only if no one else is home.
• Clean one room at a time. Don’t jump around. Again, I lapse here but the advice is sound.


Allergy and asthma sufferers should take special precautions. Consider wearing a simple mask, keep windows open, add a fan or two, and don’t forget to clean screens and window sill interiors, because particles that lodged over the winter will find their way in.

With school almost out and gardening in full season, make life easier with baskets and bins at the front and back doors for kids’ gear and garden stuff – cleaning up after a busy summer will be easier.

Best of all, spring is three months long so I’ve got some time yet. Two rooms a week. Starting yesterday.

What do you want to know about spring cleaning?

Check out the answers to some of your questions