The moment we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived, as we bid a fond (or not-so-fond) adieu to winter and say “Welcome home” (and also “Where the heck have you been?”) to spring. And while we wouldn’t trade the sunshine, warming breezes, and first few pops of flowers for anything, we could do without that great scourge of the year’s second quarter: mud season. In preparation for the many walks, hikes, road trips, and tracked-in muddy messes to come, we’ve put together this quick primer to cleaning up the mudroom from seasons past and prepping it for spring.
- Take out anything that isn’t bolted down, and clean all surfaces.
- Start by dusting shelves, trim, and baseboards or heating grates.
- If the walls are looking dingy or have been splashed with dirt and grime from winter boots, dampen a clean cellulose sponge with lukewarm water and give them a gentle wipe. (Note: it’s always best to test this method in a corner or an area that will be behind furniture, as some latex, flat, eggshell, and satin-finish paints may fade if you rub too hard.) To spot-clean stained areas, mix a paste of baking soda and water and rub gently in a circular motion over the stain; then wipe with water and blot very gently with a clean towel. Allow the walls to dry completely.
- Give the floor a good vacuuming, followed by a surface cleaning. There are tons of products on the market for this, but if you’re not sure of your original flooring manufacturer’s recommendations, a safe bet is to steam-clean with a 2:1 mix of distilled water and white vinegar. Allow the floor to dry completely.
- Clean your rugs. If you’re the neat-and-tidy type, the rug might need only a good shake or an extra few passes with the vacuum. Here in the Northeast, our rugs need a full-on scrubbing to revive them after three seasons’ worth of being trudged across by sneaker, boots, and snowy paws. We usually opt for indoor/outdoor rugs http://annieselke.com/Rugs/Rugs-By-Material/Indoor-Outdoor-Rugs/c/FA81 in the mudroom, so cleaning is a breeze: we take them outside, hang them over a railing or fence, spray with a hose, scrub any stains or spots with an enzymatic or eco-friendly detergent and a soft-bristle brush, then rinse till clean, and allow to air-dry. Don’t have a rug in the mudroom yet? Click here http://blog.annieselke.com/01decorating/mud-season-madness-choosing-the-right-rug-for-the-mudroom for an in-depth look at which weaves are right for your mudroom—and which ones you should avoid.
- Replace the rug and any larger items—benches, chairs, freestanding shelving units, coatracks, umbrella stands. If you’ve been considering doing some rearranging, this is the time to experiment.
- Sort through the extras. Now that the temps are rising, do you need to keep multiple hats, gloves, and coats in the room? Pare down to one set per person, in case of an unexpected chilly day, and put the rest—and any other items you don’t need for spring and summer—in storage.
- Speaking of storage, invest in some sturdy bins and hampers. We like canvas storage bins the best, because they’re lightweight, flexible, easy to spot-clean, and come in tons of great colors and patterns. A mix of square and round storage will allow you to corral everything from hats and gloves to boot liners, dog collars and leashes, umbrellas, and more out of sight. Station one bin right beside the door, for family members to drop in (or pick up) their car keys, mail, and other small items as they enter and exit the room.
What are your favorite ways to refresh your mudroom for spring?