If the thought of spring (ahem, summer) cleaning has you overwhelmed, calm down. It's easy if you have a plan. Follow these simple tips and your place will look shiny and new—no expensive cleaning products or hard labor required.

Simple spruce-ups.

    1. Start at the top. Cut a slit in an old tennis ball, slip it over the end of your broom handle and then secure a used dryer sheet over the ball. This handy extension arm will grab dust and cobwebs from high corners and ceilings.
    2. To shed some light, take the glass globes and hurricanes off of your light fixtures and wash away the dirt and grime. Add vinegar to the rinse water for a streak-free shine!
    3. Wash woodwork. Work from the bottom up to avoid streaking. A simple soap and water mixture will clean away fingerprints and dirt.
    4. Spring is a good time to flip your mattress. This will also force you to take off all bedding and clean it. Vacuum the mattress and box spring. A hint: Slip a couple of dryer sheets into the vacuum bag and it will release that fresh scent into the air as you work.
    5. Move furniture so you can deep clean behind and underneath. If you're working alone, slip the plastic covers from coffee cans under the furniture feet and slide with ease.
    6. Take down curtains and draperies to be cleaned and, while you have them down, go to work on the windows.


Easy tricks.

    1. You may know that denture tablets can clean vases and toilets, but did you know that they can clean your coffee decanter in no time flat? Fill the decanter with warm water and drop in a denture tablet when you start your dishes. By the time you're ready for it, the hard water marks and coffee stains will be history.
    2. Forget to pick up grease-cutting dish soap? No problem. Add a one-fourth cup of white vinegar to the dishwater and it will cut through all the grease.