Sometime in the 1700s, John Wesley wrote, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” The same attitude holds true today in refined society. We all like to think of ourselves as refined, do we not? A clean body and mind are usually what we imagine in reference to that quotation, but a home makes a statement about the person living in it and should be kept clean as well.

If you’re getting ready to show your house or if you just think it’s about time to get on that pesky spring cleaning, the idea of cleaning might seem daunting. Maybe that’s why you’ve put if off for so long and a little mess gradually grew to an overwhelming nightmare. Never fear! The right perspective is all you need to prepare to tackle this formidable task.

Break down the process so you’re dealing with manageable portions. Start with tydying; there’s no point in trying to deep clean an area that’s cluttered. Choose a room in which to start and put everything in it away. Fight against getting sidetracked. Especially when you’ve let things pile up, if you move from one room to another doing this and that, you’ll end up feeling like a chicken with its head off. Focus on one room at a time. If you have a load of things in the living room that belong in the kitchen or bedroom, get those things to the room where they belong until the first room is clutter-free. Move on then to the next room, and then the next until everything is in its proper place.

Now you’re ready to start superficial cleaning. This is the point where I change tactics and go by task rather than room. But if finishing one room entirely before moving on to the next suits you better, go for it. These tasks include dishes, wiping down and sanitizing kitchen countertops, wiping down and sanitizing bathroom sinks, toilets, and tubs, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping.

At this juncture, your home is looking pretty good. You could have friends over without being embarrassed. For the house to be thoroughly clean, however, you’ll need to take a few more steps. Look up. See the cobwebs on your ceiling? I shall not even mention the frightening accumulation of dust on the fan up there. Look down. Over time, how many drinks have been spilled on your carpet? How many shoes have ground in dirt over the last few, um, years? Steaming the carpets might not be a bad idea. Neglected baseboards are horrifying. You pass by them every day and probably give no thought to them. But if you look closely, they’re in need of a good scrubbing. Windows also could stand to be brightened. Because of cooking, kitchen walls, ceilings, nooks, crannies, floors, and of course the range will no doubt be coated, however thinly, in grease. Curtains that have been hung for ages should go through the wash and be ironed before returning to their rods. Venitian blinds are sadly a cheerless item to clean, but it would be wise to consider it if they’re particularly sordid.

In the event that your house will soon be on the market, and there are noticeable smudges on your walls, cleaning at least, and possibly painting is recommended. Most painted walls can be cleaned using a mild soap or vinegar and water and a gentle sponge. Create a paste of baking soda and water for stubborn wall stains. Light

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.