The glazed, pasty look of mid-winter.

Agnieszka Pastuszak-Maksim/iStockphoto

­Winter brings a myriad of lovely things: the holiday season with all of its feasts and glad tidings, quiet stor­ms and the opportunity to build a snowman, the chance to catch up on all of the shows that have accumulated on the DVR.

But TV shows aren't the only things that accumulate indoors during winter. In no particular order of importance or measure, so too does pet dander, dust, grime, dirt, odors and generalized funk. Humans, like other mammals, tend to be more sedentary when days are short and cold than we are during warmer months. Essentially, we become a little too lazy to do any real heavy lifting when it comes to maintaining a truly clean house during winter. This may very well explain why, when the icicles have melted into the soil below and buds appear on trees, we get a crazy look in our eyes that indicates we're bent on returning our surroundings to a pristine state. Most people know it by the common term "spring cleaning."

­In Eastern cultures -- specifically Chinese, Jewish and Persian -- spring cleaning is codified. Here in the West, it's a bit more free-for-all. There aren't any set guidelines and any slob who opts out of spring cleaning altogether won't have to be viewed as an outcast. Anyone who does choose to clean out the house come spring may do it piecemeal or tackle it headlong. Spring cleaning ca­n be as light or as deep as one pleases. It's casual.

For those who can't stand the thought of living another week with a season's worth of scum and grime, we at HowStuffWorks.com present some tips and techniques for clearing out the winter to let in the spring.

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