Open the windows and shake out the sheets—the days are finally warming up and the end of winter is upon us. But with the sun once again streaming into the darker corners of your home, you’re probably starting to notice you’ve gathered quite a bit of dust while you were hunkering down for the winter. A spring cleaning is definitely imminent. But first, here are a few tips to get you ready to hit the ground running and start the season right.

Sweeping Broom

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Replenish your cleaning supplies

A thorough deep clean will be better done if you have the right tools, obviously, so it’s a good idea to look through your supply closet and see what you might need more of to get the job done right. This year, however, we recommend going a little bit green, since chemical-laden sprays can expose you to harmful carcinogens like diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA). White vinegar and water mixed in a 1 to 9 ratio makes for a good all-purpose cleaner, while a combination of baking soda and liquid soap can do the job of most commercial scouring powders.

Ditch the fabric softener

Both liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets pose dangers to your health and the environment. Not only are they made with questionable ingredients, they can also add to landfill waste and threaten our rivers. A little vinegar added to each load or an all-natural fabric softener is a much safer alternative. Or, you can make your own wool dryer balls—a swath of wool wound into a ball and tied with wool yarn can reduce static cling just as well as a laundry sheet.

Purchase a laundry rack or retractable clothesline

There’s something about giving your bedding and rugs a chance to air out in the great outdoors that brings a fresh feel to your living space. While traditional clotheslines can be a nuisance, there are some great retractable options available now that can be clipped onto the side of a house, then taken down when they’re no longer needed. Your sheets will come down smelling of spring—and you’ll save energy and get some fresh air, too!

Do your taxes early

Organization is a vital part of spring cleaning, and a little purge of unnecessary papers and files should be part of that process. After you’ve filed your taxes for the year, take some time to sort and toss extraneous documents. That way, you won’t get hung up sorting important papers while you clean.

Sort through your winter clothes

Before you box up your sweaters and bring out your summer finery, take some time to look through them and see what needs to get tossed, or what can be donated. This will help you gauge whether or not you need to opt for some more storage in your home in order to put them up.

Evaluate your storage options

Went a little overboard on those after-holiday clothing sales? It might be time to invest in some upgraded storage bins. If your closets are really overstuffed, though, think about installing high shelving around your bed and looking for some pretty bins, baskets, or even some vintage suitcases to hide off-season garments in a way that’s both attractive and useful. Armed with a new duster and a storage container or two, you’re all set to see your cleaning goals to the finish.