Welcome to Spring Cleaning Bootcamp, our step-by-step guide to everything you need to clean once a year, and how to do it right.

We asked Rebecca Gill, our resident clean-house guru, to share all of her secrets for getting a tidy, gorgeous home in as little time as possible—so you can get things clean, then get on with your life.

These guides are thorough. But with our step-by-step instructions, you can get them done! Turn on some music, put on some comfy kicks, and get ready to get your house cleaner than it’s ever been before.

We’ll be posting a floor-to-ceiling guide to deep-cleaning one room in your home every week.

This week’s bootcamp: The living room. Happy cleaning!

Step 1: Clear out the clutter

  • Pick up trays, books, remote controls, knick-knacks, and odds and ends from coffee tables, consoles, side tables, mantels, and shelves. Dust these items off, then move them out of the room.
  • Recycle old magazines, and rotate coffee table books back into the shelf.
  • Store any remaining seasonal decorations to make room for spring décor. Put fireplace accessories and wood away in the garage or a hall closet (It’s finally too warm for fires! Hooray!).

Step 2: Deep-clean upholstery, fabrics, and the chimney

  • Remove drapes and bring them to the dry cleaner for once-a-year deep cleaning. Goodbye sneezes!
  • Remove throws and pillows. Launder machine washables, and bring the rest to the dry cleaner as well (make sure to read the tags).
  • Steam clean upholstery and carpets or rugs. You can rent a steam cleaner and do this yourself, or save yourself some time and call a pro to do the heavy lifting.
  • Hire a pro to professionally clean the fireplace and chimney (dirty chimneys are one of the main causes of house fires, so make sure not to skip this step—you should do this once each year).

Step 3: Get the dirt

  • Grab an old t-shirt and a couple of pairs of old socks. Put a sock on each hand. Working from top to bottom and left to right, run your socked hands across all of your living room’s surfaces, including mantels, coffee tables, side tables, and shelves. Flip the dirty side of the socks to the backs of your hands, and go over walls, wall art, windowsills, and baseboards.
  • With a dryer sheet, go over windowsills, baseboards, mantels, and shelves once more (the anti-static agents in the dryer sheets will help repel dust and make the room smell fresh).
  • Spray walls with non-toxic all purpose cleaner, and immediately dry with a terry-cloth rag (do the wall in sections, so that the wet cleaner doesn’t sit on the porous paint for too long). Do the same to door handles, lamp bases, and electronics.
  • Fire up the vacuum, and go over the entire floor.
  • If you have carpets and hardwood, be sure to lift carpets and vacuum underneath, as dust and dirt can sift through carpet fibers over time. For vinyl backed area rugs, vacuum the top, flip and vacuum the bottom, then vacuum the top again. To revive matted down areas of carpet after moving furniture, let an ice cube melt in the divot where the legs rested. After the water swells the carpet fibers back into place, blot it away with a towel, then vacuum over the spot again.
  • With your vacuum’s tube attachment, clean underneath sofas and chairs. Make sure to give extra attention to corners—even ceiling corners! See you later, dust bunnies!

 Step 4: Everything back in its place…and then some

  • Return cleaned throws, pillows, and drapes to their homes—or, if you prefer, store them away and replace them with brighter, cooler textiles for the spring and sumer months.
  • Replace trays and decorative accessories. Now is a great time to add, subtract, or switch out objects. If it doesn’t make you happy to look at it, put it away for now.
  • Consider changing your perspective by moving the couch, re-organizing art hangings, or adding flowers and plants to the room.
  • Take a deep breath of fresh, clean air, and enjoy your brand new living room!

Top Image Credit: DeForest Architects

In the next Spring Cleaning Bootcamp, we’ll make it easy (really!) to clean the bathroom.

Don’t miss the rest of our Spring Cleaning Bootcamp series!