A couple spring cleaning their home.

After feeling cooped up all winter, it’s refreshing to finally throw open the windows and spend time outdoors without a snow shovel in your hands. But along with the benefits of extra sunlight comes the harsh reality that your windows are dirty, dust and dirt sure do accumulate, and the yard isn’t looking that great either. No wonder 77 percent of households plunge into spring cleaning every year, according to the American Cleaning Institute.

Americans spend an average of six days spring cleaning each year, according to an ACI survey.

More on Cleaning Around the House

“And in spring we clean things that might not otherwise get cleaned all year long," says Brian Sansoni, ACI’s senior vice president of communications, "Clearing out the clutter, getting rid of dust, and adding some shine.”

If that makes you want to throw in the towel (or trowel) before getting started, we suggest that you plan your attack by dividing your chores into achievable chunks. To help, we pulled together Consumer Reports’ top tips and tricks for getting your home and yard in peak condition.

And be sure to watch our helpful videos, below.

Spring Cleaning Basics

1. Daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning schedules you can stick to
2. Don't toss that toothbrush: off-beat cleaning tools that really work
3. The best dustbusters for spring cleaning
4. Commercial and homemade cleaning supplies that get the job done
5. Microfiber vs. feather dusters: 10 cleaning myths and what to do instead
6. Yes, you can recycle that mattress, lightbulb, or laptop. Here's how.

Indoor Chores and Deep Cleaning

7. Take the pain out of window cleaning and avoid streaks and smudges
8. Counter intelligence: How to clean your small appliances
9. Give these tips a whirl when cleaning the fans in your home
10. A step-by-step guide to cleaning all types of curtains
11. A pro's guide to getting the most from your vacuum attachments
12. Take extra care when cleaning antique and area rugs

Repairs and Quick Fixes

13. Shiny or flat? Choose the perfect paint sheen for every room
14. How to pick the right paint brush for the job
15. Why you should use mildew-resistant paint in the bathroom
16. Troubleshooting: 8 air conditioner problems and how to fix them
17. Keep your cool by choosing the right size window air conditioner
18. Stop flushing money away: How to detect and fix a leaky toilet

Cleaning With Health and Comfort in Mind

19. The 12 filters you should be changing for clean air and water
20. How to banish ants from your home
21. The sounds of silence: Tips for making your home quieter
22. Achoo! How to keep indoor allergens at bay
23. Simple steps to allergy-proofing your home

Lawn Care and Landscaping

24. Going green: Lawn care tips for summer
25. Cut higher; water smarter: Improve your landscape without the work
26. A paint job can boost your home’s curb appeal
27. Tricks that tick-proof your yard without spraying
28. 5 ways to landscape around a central air conditioner

Painting, Staining, and Outdoor Projects

29. Did you know? Oily paint rags can spontaneously combust.
30. Find out: Can you use a pressure washer to clean that?
31. Safety alert: What to know about lead before painting your house
32. 5 expert tips for staining a deck to make it last
33. How to maintain your gas grill for successful barbecues

How to Get Rid of Ants

Ants may be mostly harmless, but that doesn't mean they aren't a nuisance. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports expert Catherine Roberts explains how to get rid of them and make your home less enticing to the pests.