There’s a reason why there is a season for deep cleaning (Spring Cleaning). A tradition for so many generations: after spending so much time indoors during the winter, there’s more than the usual amount of clutter, mildew, dust, dirt, pet dander and holiday leftovers that need to be addressed.
Cleaning and organizing room-by-room is the most efficient strategy – and will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do. Other suggestions for speeding up the work and staying motivated include:
- Get the other members of your household involved, even if just for a small task. Having the help of another person is not only a good way to reduce the amount of work, it’s also a good motivator.
- To start, give yourself a small goal that will get the process rolling. For example, set aside just 15 minutes to deep-clean one corner of the kitchen. Or, tell yourself all you need to do is organize one drawer in your dresser. When the task is small, you’re far more likely to do it. And once it’s done, you many very well feel like continuing. If not, set another small goal for the next day.
- To avoid becoming distracted, turn off your cell phone and the TV. And when you come across photos, books or periodicals that catch your interest, set them aside for enjoying later.
- Track your progress. Creating to-do lists can be disheartening. But tracking your cleaning accomplishments is motivating.
- Kitchen: Start with the refrigerator (the most used appliance in the house). Take everything out and clean all the nooks and crannies of the interior. When putting things back in, be very selective about what makes the cut.
- Bathroom: Mold and mildew are recurring problems in most bathrooms. There are a number of spray-on/wipe-off products that do a good job of eliminating these tough buildups. However, to keep from returning, consider installing a vent in the bathroom door to make your bathroom fan more effective at exhausting steam and moisture.
- Bedrooms: Most closets have clothes that doesn’t get worn anymore. Spend part of an afternoon trying everything on and bagging up those items that don’t fit, are out of style, or just don’t look good anymore.
- Living Room: Cleaning the living room windows inside and out will make the whole space seem fresher and brighter. However, you need to also focus on a deep clean of the window coverings (or replacing them if they’re sun-bleached, stained or tattered).
- Dining Room: If your dining room table has any water marks, fold a cloth in half and place it over the wood stain, heat your iron to the lowest setting, then place it over the cloth for 5-10 seconds. Repeat until the mark disappears. If that doesn’t work, buff the water right with a clean cloth and denatured alcohol.
- Storage Areas: Give your adult children a firm deadline for removing the things they want from your storage area. Whatever they don’t want – and whatever you haven’t used in years – can be donated, sold online or offered for sale via a consignment store. And instead of storing all those keepsakes and family heirlooms in boxes, select a few small things that are meaningful, display them in a shadow box (lots of sizes and styles are available at craft stores), and offer the rest to collectors.
- Garage: Bicycles can take up so much valuable floor space in a garage, while tools seem to pile up on every work surface. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of smart storage solutions for these and so many more garage staples. You could even consider hiring a professional organizer to help you figure it all out.
Source: Windermere Home Update
Now that spring has sprung, let’s clear the cobwebs and get your home ready! Here is our quick guide to spring home maintenance:
Inspection top to bottom: Now that the weather is temperate you will want to check on how your home weathered the winter. Check the roof for leaks, the gutters for damage, and the siding for cracks. You will also want to inspect your basement or foundation for any shifts. Make repairs now to prevent further damage.
Clean out the gutters: April showers bring May flowers… so clear out the gutters to keep rain from pooling on your roof or near your foundation.
Pest control: Spring is mating season for eight-legged critters, so sweep out cobwebs, clear debris, and check the nooks and crannies. If you live in an area prone to dangerous species like brown recluse or black widows, you may want to contact your local pest control, but otherwise, household spiders do help eliminate other bugs.
HVAC system: If you have an air conditioner now is the time to check to make sure it is ready before summer gets here and everyone else is clamoring for maintenance. Now is a good time to check your home air filters and replace or upgrade to keep allergens at bay.
Clear the clutter: Do a sweep around the house and get rid of junk that you don’t use! Take a little time each week to tackle a room. Closets, playrooms, and basements can be especially daunting, but getting rid of old stuff and refreshing your space will go a long way!
Deep clean: On a nice day open the windows, dust, wipe, scrub, and clean. You will get a nice workout and your home will look and feel so fresh after a winter of being cooped up.
Update your décor: Add a splash of color to your home with small embellishments. Add a colorful vase, a lighter throw for your sofa, pretty pastel pillows, or spring-time candles, to upgrade your living space.
Take it outdoors: Let your throw rugs, curtains, and other tapestries air our outside. Shake off the dust, spot clean what you can and let everything bask in the sun for an afternoon.
Don’t forget the back yard: It may not be time to start up the grill, yet, but you can get started on your outdoor entertaining checklist. Check your lawn, and if you have some spare spots start filling in with seed. Check your outdoor plants, prune, plant bulbs, start to replenish the soil for your garden, and mow, so you are ready to start when the season allows.
Speaking of the grill – if you have a gas grill you will want to pull this out and perform a maintenance check. Clean everything up and check to make sure all the gas lines are clear, as these can get clogged after sitting idle all winter. Make sure the grill is clear of spiders too, as they can build webs in the tubes, causing damage to your grill. You can start to bring out your garden furniture too, or clean it up if you left it covered outside all winter. Because before you know it, it’ll be barbecue season!
Source: Windermere Real Estate Blog
Spring Maintenance Matters
The best way to avoid expensive, disruptive home repairs is to regularly inspect and address the areas prone to major problems. Giving the house a deep cleaning has become a springtime ritual. But if you really want to make a difference – and save yourself big money on future home repairs – take some time over the next couple of weeks to also assess these potential maintenance problems:
WATER LEAKS – Freezing winter weather can cause water pipe fittings to fracture. Turn off all the water on your property, then look at the main water meter (typically located under a metal or concrete lid near the street in front of your house). If the meter dial is moving – even a tiny bit – when all the water is turned off, it may mean a water pipe buried on your property, or hidden inside an interior wall, is leaking.
OLDER TREES – Large trees that have been growing in your yard for 35 years or more should be assessed every spring to ensure they aren’t prone to falling in a windstorm. Those with dead branches, soft spots and other unhealthy attributes should be professionally inspected by an arborist.
RODENTS – During winter, rats and mice look for warm places in and around your home to take shelter. Now is the time to take a close look at the places they like to hide (the attic, closed-off areas of the basement, behind the furnace and other appliances, in storage sheds and garages, etc). If you see any droppings, it’s time to take action.
GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS – Venture out on a rainy day and look at the top and bottom of each downspout (the pipes attached to the side of your house that run vertically from your roof gutters to the ground below). Is rain water overflowing at the top? Is water pooling at the bottom? Are puddles forming next to your foundation? If so, don’t delay making any necessary repairs.
ROOF MOSS – When moss is allowed to grow on your roof, the burrowing roots can damage shingles and cause leaks. To check for these build-ups, keep your feet safely planted on the ground, and use binoculars to scan the room for clumps of green. Also look for signs of problematic wear: chipped or missing roof shingles.
WORN PAINT – If you wait until your house paint is peeling to put on a fresh coat, the labor costs will be far higher. Instead, compare a sunny side of your house to a side in near constant shade. If the difference in paint condition is dramatic, it’s time to get bids from painters.
Use the tips and suggestions above as a checklist, and you’ll be motivated to tackle these tasks before all the distracting sun and fun of summer arrives.
Source: Windermere Real Estate Home Update April 2017.