While the state of living for the majority of us remains in flux, my husband and I are finding peace in looking to what never changes: the joy on our kids’ faces when we bust out the popsicles, the way our dog eagerly jumps when we squeak her toys and the way our family makes us laugh when we talk.

Not all of the constants are natural joy-bringers, but they are constants nonetheless: laundry will always need to be done, the house is always a mess and the weeds in our yard continue to grow. As we spend more time at home, I am finding some sanity in tackling the never-ending tasks that wait for no one. Even with store shelves virtually depleted of cleaning supplies, you can still tidy up and get to work. You can make your own cleaner using kitchen ingredients, or work on tasks that need nothing more than some time and effort. Now that spring has sprung, here is a list of what I plan to tackle as part of my spring-cleaning regimen:



The other day, I found a can of soup that expired in 2017. Clearing the cupboards now will involve a Marie Kondo-esque strategy of pulling everything out at once and going through items one by one. Placing items back in a U-shape will help to keep them visible and make them more likely to be used.


Even the softest water contains minerals, which can accumulate on the machine as limescale. This can affect the coffee’s temperature and taste as well as the machine’s overall working ability. Consult manufacturer instructions for how to properly do this. Often, you may need either a special cleaning solution or one you can make at home with vinegar.


Take down window treatments and clean them thoroughly. Then, clean the windows themselves, inside and out, using a hose if needed.



We clean our filters weekly, but doing a deep-clean of window units involves uninstalling and tackling them in a much more involved effort. Split units also need deep-cleaning. Consult your manufacturer for recommendations.


Your dryer vent can accumulate lint, dust and dirt that pose a fire hazard. Properly cleaning the vent includes locating the duct and disconnecting the dryer. You may also need a special vent-cleaning kit. Again, consult your manufacturer for specifics.


Empty a junk drawer and toss out, donate or put away unnecessary items. But don’t stop there. Junk drawers are not the only ones that need reorganizing. Make it a goal to tackle one drawer a week, whether it be in the kitchen, bedroom, office or bathroom.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.