Adios California winter and hello beautiful spring! The spring equinox has finally arrived—wildflowers are blooming, branches are budding and our energy level is bubbling over with rejuvenation. Can you feel it? That’s because this season is all about starting anew; nature makes a fresh start and somehow, that intent seeps into our consciousness, as well. And usually, it manifests through an annual tradition we all call “spring cleaning.” Typically, spring cleaning translates into going through your closet and dumping out-of-date/ill-fitting items into the Goodwill pile. Or maybe organizing the garage. You know, big projects. But what about the little projects? Getting the stain out of the carpet from when the cat knocked over that glass of wine? Finally trying to get the mildew out of that little teeny crevice in the shower? The things that you look at every day and say to yourself: “later.” Well everyone, “later’s” time has arrived. Let’s take a look at a few Unconventional Spring Cleaning projects you can tackle this season. They may be small, but we promise they’ll feel like mighty accomplishments.

1. Defeat the Mildew

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Hopefully everyone cleans their shower on the surface every week, but when the mold/mildew stains don’t wipe off easily from those cracks and crevices, giving up is often the natural reaction. But here’s a little known fact: It’s incredibly easy to get rid of those stains with zero scrubbing. Ready for this? Soak a few cotton balls in bleach and place them on the mildew/mold areas. Leave them there for about four–six hours and when you remove them, voila!—the stains will be gone. If you have a long line of mildew growing along the base of your shower doors, invest in some cotton coil to make the task even easier.

2. Get Rid of Carpet Stains

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You were so tired of looking at that stain on the carpet that you actually covered it with an ottoman. But it’s still there—you know it and I know it. It mocks you when you vacuum and you’ve even considered just getting new carpet because you can’t bear to come face to face with it again. But you have the simpler answer to your problem right in your laundry room. White vinegar, a cotton towel/rag and a hot iron. Yes, it’s that easy. Just mix a quarter cup of white vinegar with three-quarters cup of water and saturate the stain. Immerse your cotton rag/towel into warm water and wring it out so it’s damp, then place it over the stain. Next, iron lightly over the towel until the stain lifts into it. So simple. So planet-friendly. So doable!

3. Change Your Filters

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If only there were a national “Change Your Filters Day” to remind us that this is a must activity. Depending on the filter, it should be done more than once a year, but designating spring-cleaning day as one of those times will be a good start. What filters should you change? The air conditioning filter should be at the top of the list since it keeps dust and other allergens out of your breathing space. Next, think about your vacuum cleaner filter and (if you have pets of the feline persuasion) even your kitty litter cover’s filter.

4. Check Your Smoke Alarms

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No one likes to get woken by those three startling smoke detector shrieks that identify a low battery—but honestly, how often do we check the device for that slow-blinking red light? Investing in some 9-volt batteries and changing them at the same time each year (like on spring-cleaning day, for instance) can save you from those dreaded middle-of-the-night alarm blues.

5. Spring Clean Your PC

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As long as you’re cleaning, you may as well hit that hard drive, too. Defragging or “Optimizing” your PC drive on a regular basis is a good idea—so take this opportunity to check and make sure your computer is running the defrag program on a set schedule. Once the optimization is complete, your machine will likely perform more smoothly and there will be less wear and tear on the drive. If you’re an Apple person, lucky you because Macs with operating systems later than 10.2 have built-in safeguards that prevent files from becoming fragmented at all! While you’re in the trenches of your PC or Mac, also set up a backup plan if you haven’t already. It’s easier than you think.

What’s on your spring-cleaning to-do list? Will you be going the unconventional route this year? Let us know!