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If you’re struggling with your spring cleaning motivation, or want a great place to begin, try this checklist for 14 spring cleaning chores you can do in the dining room, and generally within 5 minutes or less.
We also offer tips, how-to instructions, and insight on habits you can develop to make things easier long term.
In this post…
- What to Do
- What You’ll Need
- Tips to Get You Started and Motivated
- 5-minute Spring Cleaning Dining Room Tasks
If you missed the start of our spring cleaning 5-minute cleaning series, where we cover 21 easy chores you can do in the kitchen and within just a few minutes, click here.
What to Do:
- Pick at least one out of these 14 spring cleaning chores for the dining room and try to complete it in 5 minutes.
- Plan ahead and have a good idea of what you’re going to work on and how you plan to do it.
- Prep the area with whatever tools, cleaning products, or other items you might need, such as a donation box or step ladder.
- Set a timer for five minutes or for however long you wish.
- Clean without stopping.
- Clean as quickly as you can and try to finish on time.
- Allow enough time to clean up after you’re finished, or opt to go 5 minutes longer before you begin.
- Whatever you don’t finish can be moved to the next day or even later in the day.
- If you set the timer for longer than 5 minutes, try to avoid going too long since we’re breaking things down into manageable timeframes.
- Try stacking sessions on top of each other. For example, you might clean a few drawers for 5 minutes and then doing the microwave and whatever else for another five minutes.
What You’ll Need:
- Whatever items you’ll need to clean with.
- A timer.
- Things to help prevent extra trips or steps (i.e., trashcan or bag).
- A donation box or bag (optional).
Tips to Get You Started and Motivated
1. Make It Entertaining!
If you plan to do several 5-minute spring cleaning dining room tasks in a row, make it entertaining by joining it with other things you enjoy and can do simultaneously. However, make sure you won’t get distracted by whatever that entertainment is at the time.
Popular choices typically include Podcasts, music, YouTube videos, the news, or audiobooks. You can also use songs, videos, or programs like Audible’s timer feature to time sessions.
2. Pay Attention to How Long Cleaning Jobs Take
Keeping track of your time will give you a more accurate idea of how long things take to finish in the future. Especially since we tend to overthink how long or how hard chores will take in reality. This can really be helpful for people who hate cleaning or tend to procrastinate.
3. Don’t Hesitate to Combine Spring Cleaning Chores
If you finish before time’s up and don’t mind doing several sessions at once, it may help to do other similar chores if you have the time. For example, if you plan to clean the sink, try to clean the garbage disposal first to avoid a potential mess. And if you’re going to run the dishwasher, why not toss those grates, microwave parts, or washable filters in there too?
Have fun with it, experiment, and get creative. I love turning it into a game to see how much I can really get done in x-amount of time.
5-minute Spring Cleaning Tasks
Do these jobs in whatever order works best for you. However, we suggest moving in an order that won’t cause you to re-do something later. For instance, it’s often recommended to clean from the top and downward to prevent debris and dust from falling onto items you’ve already cleaned. Some individuals also find it helpful to move around the room while going in the same direction.
Some of these chores may take longer than 5 minutes, depending on the environment, age of the home, and how often things are cleaned prior to the challenge. Be patient and do what works best for you, whether that’s breaking things down into even smaller chunks or working on it more the following day.
Don’t forget that you can expand and contract each task to see more or less information. Under each task, you’ll also spot helpful habits and spring cleaning tips about certain chores.
1. Declutter the room.
It always helps to declutter and tidy up before you set out to deep clean a room. Decluttering in the sense of removing items that you don’t need or no longer use and tidying what you plan to keep in the space. This way, you’ll be able to eliminate any unnecessary obstacles. You’ll also be able to clean faster and see messes more quickly with fewer distractions.
Take a few minutes to declutter the space. Depending on how much stuff you have, you should be able to get this done in a session or two. If you need more time or want to work on it throughout the week, or even month, feel free to adjust accordingly.
- Donate or give away whatever items you don’t use or love.
- Throw away or repurpose whatever isn’t being used, can’t be donated, or is broken.
- Put away whatever items don’t belong in the room or find a home for them.
Decluttering also helps after you’re finished. For instance, you’ll be able to relax more in that space with fewer visual distractions, which can create overstimulation, even on a subconscious level.
With less stuff out on average, messes are much easier to detect. You’ll also be able to clean the space a lot faster and with fewer things to contend with, whether that’s furniture, knickknacks, or décor.
Tote-ly useful hack: One thing I find extremely useful is to have laundry hampers, totes, or baskets around with me as I tidy up and declutter. This way, I save myself a few extra trips back and forth, and I can easily cart items to their next destination with ease.
We previously did an in-depth review on what turned out to be our favorite go-to basket to use, which is the Clevermade Laundry Tote 2-Pack set from Costco (review link). We love how their sturdy, metal snap-frame collapses down into a thin bit of nothing. It’s also easy to appreciate how it can be neatily stashed virtually anywhere, thanks to its compact size.
We keep several hidden throughout the house just for the sake of decluttering. And I’m even thinking about trying out their adorable Luxe version, which comes with a shoulder strap and several cute patterns. Cos why not?
Prep ‘n’ go: It’s always a good idea to prep the space before setting out to clean it, whether you time yourself or not. If you think you’ll have some stuff to throw away, bring a trash bag or bin with you. It can also be helpful to have a donation bag or box nearby as well as any cleaning supplies.
KonMari: If you find that getting rid of or donating items is difficult for you, I highly recommend giving The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo a read. She has some pretty fantastic methods for decluttering and folding properly to handling other household issues. You can also catch her on her new Netflix series, though we’ve not watched it yet.
2. Clean or dust vents.
Set the timer for 5 minutes and work on dusting the vents. Since you’ll likely have time leftover, don’t hesitate to combine this task with other types of dusting, such as the walls, furniture, ceiling fixtures, baseboards and wood trim, window treatments, etc. Or you could opt to clean all the vents in the house, if not just the same floor.
Filtered joy: Make sure that you change your AC filter frequently. Most filters, depending on the grade and quality, require replacing every 2-3 months. However, this will also depend on how often you use your system. Taking this step regularly also helps to minimize dust throughout the home.
You can use a filter subscription to keep you on track and to ensure that you always have a filter on hand. I loved this during peak seasons, back when my ex and I gave Filterjoy a try (not affiliated). You can also set your phone or other smart device to remind you to check your filter, which is what I like to do.
Prevention: Try to dust your vents, including the AC -Furnace return vent, at least once a month to prevent buildup and to ensure that your unit runs as best as it can.
3. Dust ceiling, walls, wall decor, and light fixtures.
Take some time to dust your ceiling, walls, wall decor, and light fixtures. This can be done with a regular 360 duster, such as many microfiber dusters on the market. There are also options like the Swiffer 360. I sometimes use a floor dust mop, such as this one by E-Cloth. They’re easy to use to reach the ceiling and cover a lot of space in one go.
To avoid lint issues, we’ll be dusting the walls first and then cleaning in the next step. But feel free to use a lightly damp cloth to clean your light fixtures and decor as needed and for a more thorough deep cleaning.
Helpful Habit #1
Give it the good ole one-two: It’s a good idea to dust any ceiling and wall fixtures, such as lighting and fans once a week—or, at the very least, once a month. The same can be said for wall decor, including pictures. Dusting them more often can be a lot easier than wiping them clean and may reduce how often you need to do so.
Don’t worry about removing sconce-like or fixed lights from the ceiling each time to dust the inside. Doing a quick once-over over the exterior will help you avoid dust buildup and keep dreaded dust bunnies from launching a full-on assault. Plus, it takes just a few seconds. You can get the inside of hard-to-clean lights a few times out of the year, such as during spring cleaning.
Helpful Habit #2
Like new: Dusting your walls and ceiling a few times a year can help keep your paint looking like new, which can also keep your home looking far cleaner than it usually might otherwise. It may also lessen the number of times you might have to physically clean them to help keep them looking great. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes.
4. Clean and demark the walls and ceiling.
It’s usually a good idea to clean your painted walls at least once a year, and if safe to do so on the type of paint that you have. Doing so can help make the paint and home look brand new and a whole lot cleaner.
Demarking the walls can sometimes be done using a cloth, but do so carefully to avoid removing too much paint. Light scuff marks can also sometimes be removed using something like a Magic Eraser, which you should generally do before cleaning your walls since these products can sometimes rub off onto surfaces.
Washing By hand
To do this, you can use a barely-damp, lint-free cloth (microfiber is recommended) to clean the walls, if that’s your preference. You’ll also likely need a step ladder or something safe to stand on. I sometimes try to attach my microfiber cloth to something for better reach, such as our OXO Tub and Shower Scrubber.
Wall Mop Method
In Part One of our 5-Minute Spring Cleaning Kitchen Chores posts, we discussed de-marking walls and how some people, myself included, like to use microfiber mops with a swivel head to “mop” walls.
There are also actual wall cleaners on the market, which are essentially the same thing. It’s a much faster and more efficient method, and it can make cleaning the walls a breeze.
Disclaimer: Regardless of which method you use to wash or de-mark your walls, always check to see if your paint can handle washing and use a mop at your own risk.
Dust first: We recommend dusting before using any wet products or water on surfaces. Doing so will help prevent lint and debris from sticking to the surface, potentially making a bigger mess to clean up.
Test it: Always test whatever cloth or pad you’ll be using on your walls to make sure it won’t transfer color onto the wall itself. If you have white walls, it may be beneficial to go with white-colored cloths when possible.
Easy does it: Make sure not to get the surface of your walls too saturated. Always wring out the pad or cloth well before use. If necessary, a little bit of dish soap can be used on some types of paint before wiping cleaning with a cloth and water only. Again, do it at your own risk.
5. Dust and clean baseboards and any other wood trim.
If you haven’t done so already while dusting or cleaning the walls, give your baseboards and other wood trim some TLC. This would include anything from baseboards and doorframes to mantels or window frames and sills.
If you have a lot of trim to cover, feel free to break things down into manageable chunks. Or stack each type of trim into one day until finished, using the 5, 10, 15, or 20-minute timer if you wish to. You could also choose to do all the crown molding in several rooms one day and then baseboards the next. Whatever works best for you!
Drop that base: If you haven’t cleaned your baseboards or trim in a long time and they’re pretty dirty, we recommend giving them a good cleaning the traditional way of doing it by hand. To speed up the process, try using a good-quality microfiber cloth that’s just a bit damp. Too much water can hinder a microfiber cloth’s performance; whereas, too little water won’t attract as much dirt.
When in doubt, cheat: Just as with walls, some people also use a lightly damp mop to speed things up—especially if they dust and/or clean them consistently throughout the year. This can work particularly well on baseboards, though the best type of mop or product to use is still up for debate.
I personally have the best luck so far using my O-Cedar Spin Mop on baseboards, but I’m still on the lookout for other options. However, if your baseboards have been neglected for a while, it’s best to do it by hand initially so you can see better.
6. Dust and clean furniture.
Spend a few minutes dusting off the furniture to remove loose dirt, debris, and lint. Then clean your dining room furniture pieces. Some people prefer to do this with products Pledge or Endust. I like to use a barely-damp microfiber cloth.,but do what’s best for the type of furniture you have or that suits your preference.
If need be, split the dusting and cleaning into separate 5-minute sessions or however long you think it will take—especially if you have a lot of furniture. Clean any decor items in the order you feel is best.
Always make sure to dry dust before you use any wet method of cleaning. This helps to avoid loose lint and debris from smearing all over the surface, and it takes just a few seconds to do.
7. Replace worn or missing furniture pads.
Replacing worn or missing bumper pads isn’t a crucial task to get done, but it can soften sounds within your home as well as protect your cabinetry.
It’s also super quick and easy to do, and you likely won’t have to do it again for a long while. Your ears and any neighbors with shared walls will thank you!
Take a few minutes to replace worn-down felt or missing rubber pads on your cabinet doors and drawers. Pay special attention to any doors or drawers that tend to make a lot of noise when shut or that tend to get slammed often.
Think you’ll have extra time left on the timer? Consider working on other items in your home, such as placing felt feet on dining chairs or the dining room table.
Check out our post on 5 Ways to Use Leftover Rubber & Felt Furniture Feet Pads for more valuable hacks that you can use leftover rubber or felt pads for and in just a few minutes.
8. Wash textiles or fabric items.
Make sure any textile-type items are appropriately washed or cleaned if they haven’t been in a while. This is also an excellent time to go through and declutter what you don’t use or need. I also like to include any faux plants that can be cleaned by hand, or according to the manufacturer’s care instructions.
Examples of textiles or similar items that can be cleaned:
- Seat cushions
- Artificial plants
To wash or not to wash: If you enjoy artificial plants, always consider how hard they’ll be to clean before buying them. Some types are more fragile than others, such as silk, and will require special cleaning. Other, often less expensive options can be wiped off with a microfiber cloth or even ran under the tap, with any excess water shaken off and left to dry afterward. I call this “watering” my plants. The more often you do it, the easier they are to clean. So don’t let the grime buildup.
Places like HomeGoods, Target, and Amazon have great and affordable artificial plants. Plus, they’re usually a breeze to clean regularly. HomeGoods is always my favorite!
9. Dust and clean any knickknacks or decor.
Take a few minutes to use a barely damp cloth to wet dust any knickknacks or decor pieces in the room (when safe to do so). How long this takes may vary and depend on how much stuff you have in the room or how long it’s been since you’ve cleaned.
Feel free to take as much time as you need and feel comfortable doing it in one sitting. Or work at it gradually in 5 to 10-minute increments or as you have the time.
Wet dusting: While dry dusting using a regular duster is great for upkeep and can make quick work of dusting in general, sometimes it’s good to wet dust too since it’s a little more effective.
We love to use an E-Cloth and their polishing cloths as a more efficient and chemical-free method. They manage to get most items around the house looking ultra sparkly, from baseboards to our crystal lamps and mirrors. Above all, they speed up the overall process. And, because there’s a lack of residue left behind, things seem to stay dust-free longer.
Less stuff = less work: While we love our decorations, they can create a lot of visual stimulation and distraction, potentially increasing stress levels, and give us more work than we might have bargained for.
If you ever find that dusting takes you a really long time or feels like a hassle, consider decluttering the room more. Decluttering not only speeds up the amount of time it takes to dust and clean, but it can help make a room feel more comfortable and look more inviting.
This is why model homes, hotels, and homes in magazines or on TV shows look so fantastic—they don’t have a lot of stuff sitting out. You can also try rotating your decorations if you feel you might have too much sitting out but don’t want to get rid of certain pieces.
10. Clean window treatments.
Give your window treatments a little love and a good cleaning.
If you have blinds, shades, or shutters, give them a thorough wipe down. Some people like to do this with special cleaning devices for blinds. Others may go the DIY route and use microfiber cloths wrapped around a pair of tongs. And some may do it the old-fashioned way, using a cloth and some water.
If you have curtains or valences that need to be cleaned, follow the care instructions they came with and shake them out outside well before cleaning. Certain types may require delicate handling through methods such as dry cleaning. Some individuals like to freshen their curtains in the dryer, which is also great for removing fur and other types of debris, or they might wash them in the washer first.
Rinse and repeat: If possible, make sure to clean your window treatments several times a year and dust or vacuum them regularly when possible. This will help reduce household odors and potentially increase their longevity and overall appearance.
Blinds, shutters, and shades should be dusted at least every month and wiped down every season or every other season. Some people, myself included, like to do maintenance-styled dry dusting on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Maintenance cleaning tends to be far easier, more efficient, and without needing to be as detailed in the effort.
11. Clean interior-side of windows and doors.
Clean the interior side of your windows—especially if it’s been a while. However, feel free to get the outside too or make windows into a separate category.
12. Clean area rugs and doormats.
Don’t forget to clean any rugs and doormats according to their care instructions. Some types may need to be professionally cleaned or done with a non-commercial carpet cleaner, such as our Bissell Pet Revolution 2x, which I hope to do a review on soon. Other, often smaller rugs can often be washed in the washing machine or even hoses off outside, depending on the material involved.
Suck it up: Always thoroughly vacuum rugs or carpeting before cleaning, whether you do it yourself using a carpet cleaner or have them done professionally.
Don’t get bogged down: If you decide to carpet clean at home, don’t oversaturate the rug or carpet as this can create issues with mold.
It’s also essential to use a machine that offers the right amount of suction and agitation, which we hope to cover soon. If you’re forced to make several passes with the machine, make sure to do a few dry runs without using any solution to suck the water back up.
Dirt magnet: If you clean your carpets with a machine, we highly recommend doing a single pass afterward using water only to rinse the soap away. Otherwise, the soap can attract more dirt later and also cause the carpet to gunk up. It’s also recommended to do a final dry pass (or more) to ensure as much moisture is sucked up as possible.
13. Clean points of contact.
If you haven’t already, make sure to clean any points of contact. These are typically high-traffic areas or items that we touch regularly, many of which get their fair share of bacteria, grime, grease, and other unmentionables over time. And since there can be a lot of areas to cover in the average home, it’s often easier to go room-by-room instead of all at once.
Common points of contact in the dining room:
- Door handles
- Light switches, pulls, and knobs
- Cabinet and drawer pulls, knobs or surfaces
- The back of chairs
- Window treat pulls, batons, and cords
Try to clean around areas such as doorknobs and light switches too. Whether we can see it or not, they get a little bit of abuse and gradually get dirtier over time. It just may not be as noticeable until things start looking pretty filthy from a distance.
14. Wipe clean furniture.
Cleaning the furniture is pretty straightforward and relatively easy to do. Again, you can use your favorite furniture cleaner or polish, such as Pledge or Endust, or a slightly wet cloth or microfiber product.
During this step, make sure to get all the detailed nooks and crannies, not to mention the back. You may also need to have a vacuum and duster on hand if you haven’t dusted or vacuumed the area yet. If you need to break down pieces of furniture to do in 5-minute increments or more, feel free to do so.
As mentioned in our 5 Ways to Use Leftover Rubber & Felt Furniture Feet Pads post, if you struggle to move items, consider using felt pads for hard floors or pads designed to be used on carpet. They make cleaning around heavy items extremely easy, which means fewer chances of procrastination.
Try to thoroughly clean around your furniture regularly throughout the year to keep the task manageable—especially if you have pets and/or children. Larger or heavier pieces should be moved and cleaned around at least twice a year, if not every quarter or so.
Getting your spring cleaning tasks finished in the dining room can be relatively quick and easy. In many cases, you can get a lot of small jobs done in 5 minutes or less. You may even be able to finish in one day, simply by following some of the tips we covered. And the more you stay on top of it, the faster seasonal cleaning, or even just spring cleaning, becomes.
- Give yourself a set amount of time to finish a task. It will help you get things done in a faster and more efficient manner.
- Set a timer, make a timed music playlist, or listen to x-amount of pages or chapters of your favorite audiobook to pace yourself.
- Treat it like a game and move as fast as you can.
- Prep your space before starting.
- Don’t hesitate to stack more than one session or task on top of other ones if you want to clean for a longer time period.
- Feel free to break jobs that might take you longer than five minutes into smaller sessions or continue later on if you need to.
- Make things entertaining by listening to distraction-free music, Podcasts, audiobooks, or shows and videos that you won’t feel the need to watch.
Are you spring cleaning this year? Where’s your favorite place to start? Comment down below!
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