A Frugal Spring Cleaning Checklist

Pollen is in the air, daylight is lingering later into the evening, and the birds are chirping away. You know what that means; spring is in full swing, and with it, a whole bunch of unpleasant household chores.

That’s right — it’s time to clear out the cobwebs, sweep up those dust bunnies, and get your yard barbecue-ready for the summer. But where should you start? And even more importantly, how much is this going to cost?

The good news is, spring cleaning can be as inexpensive want it to be. The bad news is, spiffing up your home on a budget might take a little more leg work. If you want to spruce things up without burning up too many Benjamins, consider this frugal spring cleaning checklist.

Eight Steps to a Frugal Spring Cleaning

1. De-clutter cabinets, closets, and common areas

When you’re trying to get rid of clutter, it helps to work from one side of your home to the other — or from top to bottom. Whichever strategy you choose, go from room to room and clear out any unwanted items from closets and cabinets.

Costly, convenient route
  • Hiring a junk and trash removal service (average cost: $135-$358)
  • Renting a dumpster for waste (average cost: $396)
Frugal route
  • Organize a garage sale
  • Collect materials for donation
  • Recycle/repurpose usable items
  • Sell to second hand stores

2. Clean your windows inside and out

If you like to open your window blinds, don’t let the sunshine compete with fingerprints and other grime. Some may not go as far as cleaning the windows, but there are some aesthetic and health-related-benefits.

Costly, convenient route
  • Hiring a professional window cleaner (average cost: $50-$200)
  • Buying glass cleaner (average cost: $4-$10)
Frugal route
  • Using homemade glass cleaner with old dust rags and paper towels

Making your own homemade glass cleaner takes equal parts white vinegar and water. Pour your solution into a spray bottle and use it to clean your windows without any harsh chemicals or fumes.

3.Cleaning ceiling fans, woodwork, mini-blinds, and ledges

While much of your sneezing and watery eyes may come as a result of the natural changes of the season, there is some credit that belongs to the layers of dust that collects in areas that don’t get much attention.

Costly, convenient route
  • Buying wood polish (average cost: $4-$30)
  • Buying dusters (average cost: $5-$20)
Frugal route
  • Using homemade wood cleaner with old rags and towels

Some say you should clean baseboards and other woodwork with equal parts white vinegar and lemon juice. Others say you can get up the most dust by wiping your woodwork down with dryer sheets. Whichever frugal hack you choose, make sure to wipe down all of the wood surfaces in your home regularly to avoid dust collection.

4.Cleaning up your yard

If winter left your yard in bad shape, it’s time to restore your curb appeal! That may mean cutting ankle-high grass, raking last year’s leaves, cleaning up forgotten toys, or yanking pesky weeds.

Costly, convenient route
  • Hiring landscapers (average cost: $200-$400)
Frugal route
  • Using your own lawn care tools, or borrowing tools.
  • Asking family/friends to assist in initial cleanup

The first cleanup yard work of the season tends to be the most involved. After that, all other work should be fairly routine maintenance. If you can recruit a few others to spend a Saturday helping you knock out most of the heavy lifting, the rest of the season shouldn’t cost you much at all.

5. Cleaning out your garage

No matter how organized your garage is, all kinds of nasty things can build up in there during the cold, dreary winter months. Now that it’s warm outside, it’s time to open up the door and sweep it all out.

Costly, convenient route
  • Buying a pushbroom and new cleaning supplies (average cost: $30-$50)
Frugal route
  • Using the cleaning tools you have and making homemade cleaning solutions

Sweep dust and debris from all corners of your garage before mopping with solution of warm soapy water or vinegar water. As you remove items from your garage to clean, make sure to put them back in an organized, uncluttered fashion.

6. Cleaning your bathrooms

One of the least favorite areas to clean in your house can also be one of the toughest to clean well. But similar to your yard work, maintenance is what’s important here. Letting gunk build up in the shower and sink drains isn’t only a nuisance, but it’s also a health risk.

Costly, convenient route
  • Hiring a professional cleaner (average cost: $90-$250)
  • Buying heavy duty bathroom cleaners (average cost: $5-$20)
Frugal route
  • Using your own cleaning tools to wipe down the bathroom at the end of each day
  • Cleaning with homemade solutions

Don’t bother buying expensive chemical cleaners for your bathrooms. Instead, make your own and use a little elbow grease to get the job done. You can make your own homemade scrubbing cleaner by mixing ½ cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish detergent, and distilled vinegar to texture. Clean toilets, drains, and showers with a baking soda and vinegar mixture. Rinse with warm water when you’re done, and enjoy.

7. Cleaning floors

No matter what kind of floors you have, they could use a thorough cleaning this spring. Even if you have a no shoes in the house rule, trust that you’ve still tracked countless variations of bacteria throughout every square inch. Not to mention the dust, hair, and any other unmentionable particles that have collected there.

Costly, convenient route
  • Hiring a professional cleaner (average cost: $90-$250)
  • Buying heavy duty floor cleaners (average cost: $5-$40)
Frugal route
  • Using your own cleaning tools to clean floors weekly
  • Cleaning with homemade solutions

Start with a dust mop, broom and dustpan, or floor vacuum and work from side to side until you’ve swept or vacuumed up any and all dirt in your home. Next, mix your own floor cleaner and get to mopping. Wellness Mama offers homemade floor cleaner recipes for different floor types on her website.

8. Vacuuming furniture and curtains

This is another area that’s easily neglected, outside of the occasional spray down with fabric fresheners. Keeping the windows closed for months on end could mean plenty of dirt build-up on your furniture and draperies.

Costly, convenient route
  • Hiring a professional cleaner (average cost: $90-$250)
  • Buying fabric fresheners (average cost: $5-$10)
Frugal route
  • Using your own cleaning tools to clean weekly
  • Cleaning with homemade solutions

Use a vacuum attachment to thoroughly clean all hanging draperies, couch and chair cushions, and rugs. Make your own homemade deodorizing spray and use it in place of Febreze to freshen things up when you’re done.

It’s hard to enjoy the warm weather when you have a ton of cleaning to do. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of money to get your home in tip-top condition this spring; only an open weekend and a handful of non-toxic and cheap ingredients you can buy at your local grocery store. You may even have some of them in your pantry already. So don’t delay. Get started on your spring cleaning checklist early as you can. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be ready to enjoy the season.

Holly Johnson

Contributing Writer

Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.