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Ask Angi: Spring into action and clean like a pro

Whether you’ve been looking forward to it, or dreading it, there’s no getting around it — spring cleaning time has arrived. However, spring cleaning involves more than just a mop, a bucket and some elbow grease (though those are important!) How you plan your time is as important as how you spend it, so you'll get the best results by thinking ahead and making the most of your spring cleaning efforts.

Get excited — and organized

The most effective housecleaning is the cleaning you do every day. Create a daily checklist to keep smaller tasks from piling up. Separate tasks by daily, weekly and monthly needs that have to be handled around the home, and stick to the list. Let the image of a sparkling kitchen floor or clear, sunny windows motivate you to stay focused on your cleaning goals.

Give these forgotten nooks and crannies a cleaning.

Think about more than just the obvious when planning a DIY deep clean. Focus on the hard-to-reach areas and nooks and crannies that you tend to always put off. Here are some of the areas that are easily overlooked or ignored over the long term and tend to gather dirt and debris:

— Under your oven and other appliances: Pull them out and sweep and mop underneath.

— The tops of door jambs and cabinets: Dust and debris can build up over the long term.

— Garbage disposals and drains: You can get gunk out of these by adding baking soda and vinegar, then flushing with hot water.

— Door handles and water faucets: These are easily overlooked, so scrub and disinfect them during a deep clean.

— Inside waste receptacles: Trash cans and other waste bins collect dirt over time. Scrub them down.

— Fans and light bulbs: Dust buildup can create a fire hazard over time.

— Air vents: You don't necessarily need to get into the vents, but the covers themselves are havens for dirt and grime.

Don’t burn yourself out.

When you plan your cleaning activities, be honest with yourself. Your schedule should be realistic and something you can devote yourself to so you set yourself up for spring-cleaning success. Get your tools and whatever backup team you've got (time for the kids to earn their allowance) organized and ready to go, then get to it.

When engaging in any kind of cleaning, consider the housecleaner's mantra: "Front to back, top to bottom." Start at the back of your house and work your way to the front. Then, within each room, start with cleaning at the ceiling and work down. This helps on an organizational front; you're less likely to miss a step if you do everything in the same order. But it also serves a practical purpose. You avoid backtracking over areas you've already cleaned by working back to front. And working top-to-bottom is most vital of all. Every phase of cleaning stirs up dust and debris and tends to push it downward. By starting with the ceiling and ending with the sweep, mopping or vacuuming of the floor, you'll catch everything — even the pollen from those beautiful spring blooms outside.

Tweet your home care questions with #AskAngi and we’ll try to answer them in a future column.