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
Safely Storing Your Holiday Décor
In this issue of Home Update we will discuss holiday decorations and how they are some of the most difficult things to store. Fragile, easily damaged, oddly shaped and typically stored for most of their life, they pose a considerable challenge to even the best organizer. However, once you know the secrets for safely tucking these joyful items away, the frustration of packing and unpacking them will disappear, and you can be confident your home will looks its best when it comes to put them on display again.
The trick to keeping holiday lights from tangling is to wrap them around something . For shorter strings, try wrapping them around a clothes hanger, an empty shipping tube, even a flat piece of cardboard. Then secure the ends so things don’t come unwound. For longer strings and bigger bulbs, use one of the many extension cord holders available at hardware and home-improvement stores.
FRAGILE TREE ORNAMENTS
By far the best way to store your Christmas tree ornaments is in a large plastic storage bin with two or three layers of divided spaces. There are a variety of these “ornament storage bins” available at retail. Or, you can make your own: Fill the bottom of a storage bin with plastic drinking cups, place an ornament or two in each cup, lay a sheet of cardboard on top of that layer, and add a new layer of cups and ornaments.
Many of us display nativity scenes, chimes, candle holders and more on our mantles at the holidays. Some of these items are even heirlooms. To keep them safe throughout the rest of the year, fill a storage bin one-quarter full of foam packing pellets and gently lay your maple displays to bed there. Then fill the bin halfway full, and lay down another layer of these fragile decorations. Leave that layer exposed (and add no more foam pellets), and you’ll find it far easier later to unearth all the different pieces without making a mess.
Store your candles in the refrigerator and you’ll find they last longer, maintain their color and scent, and even burn more slowly. A good alternative to refrigeration is to wrap each candle in cellophane (not plastic wrap) and store them in a cool, dry place.
If your wreath is shipped to you, save the box as a storage container. Otherwise, a hat box can be used safely to hold and protect two, if not three, wreaths. Another option, place the wreath in a plastic bag to keep it from getting dusty, then hang it in the attic, the basement, or the back of a closet.
THE NEED FOR MORE STORAGE SPACE
Many homeowners say they don’t have enough room to store their holiday decorations and other belongings. If that’s true for you, let’s talk. Maybe it’s time to consider a bigger home.
Source: Windermere Real Estate Home Update.
Garage Door Maintenance
If just one part of your garage door fails, the consequences can be significant. If it won’t open all the way, your car could be stuck inside until a repair crew arrives. If it won’t close completely, everything stored in your garage – as well as your home – could be vulnerable to burglars. And should it override the built-in safety features, anyone standing in its way could be badly hurt. The key to avoiding problems with your garage door is regular maintenance. Once a year, take an hour to perform the following checks and services.
Warning: Garage doors are heavy and dangerous. Always unplug the opener before performing any garage door inspection or maintenance. And do not attempt any significant repairs on your own.
LOOK & LISTEN – Stand inside your garage and watch the garage door go up and down a few times. Listen for any grinding or scraping noises. Look to make sure the door operates smoothly and makes a tight seal with the ground.
CHECK THE “OBSTRUCTION SENSORS” & “AUTO-REVERSE” – To ensure no one gets trapped under a closing garage door, all automatic garage door openers manufactured after 1992 are equipped with “obstruction sensors” and an “automatic-reverse” feature. Make sure both are working correctly.
- Place a bucket directly under the open garage door, and push the “close” button. The obstruction sensor beam should recognize that an obstruction is present and not allow the door to close.
- Next, place an old chair under the open door (positioning the legs so they’re out of the way of the sensor beam). Then push the button to close the door. When the bottom of the door meets the chair, the door should immediately reverse and open again.
INSPECT THE ROLLERS & CLEAN THE TRACKS – The little wheels attached to the sides of the door should roll freely and not wobble. Spray them with silicone lubricant spray (not WD-40) occasionally to keep them well lubricated. The tracks that the rollers rest on should be clean and free of debris.
LUBRICATE THE SPRINGS & CHAIN/BOLT – Spread some white lithium grease on the chain or long metal bolt that connects the opener motor and the door (if it’s a rubber belt, do not lubricate it). Spray the springs mounted above the door with silicone lubricant.
REPLACE THE WEATHER STRIP – If it’s brittle or cracked, the thick rubber strip on the bottom of the garage door should be replace.
TASKS BEST LEFT TO THE PROS – The following maintenance and repair tasks are dangerous and require an experienced hand. In other words, they should always be handled by a professional garage door electrician.
- Professional inspection & adjustment (every 3-5 years)
- Replacement of worn or broken springs
- Replacement of worn or bent tracks
- Replacement of worn or broken rollers
- Repair of frayed cables
FINAL NOTE – Many homeowners (and most renters) don’t have enough storage space, which has led to a dramatic increase in off-site storage rentals. If it’s time you had more on-site space for cars or storage, allow me to show you some homes in your area that might be a better fit.
Source: Windermere Real Estate Home Update October 2017