Maybe you feel the coming of spring each evening when the light lasts a bit longer. As you anticipate longer days and flowers soon coming into bloom, keep in mind that spring cleaning is an annual American tradition to refresh your home. Besides cleaning the windows to let the spring sunshine in, think about cleaning out unused furniture, appliances, and old clothing to open more living space.
Another Person’s Treasure
As people say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. It might be a tad early for a garage sale, but you can still separate items that you no longer use in preparation for a sunny Saturday morning yard sale. For now, the old stuff can be stored in a corner of the garage or an outside storage building. Not only will it clear out your living area, but you’ll have things organized when it’s time to hold that yard sale.
Why not turn that old refrigerator in the garage that’s not being used into a month’s worth of Starbucks coffee money? Get those outdated clothes that you no longer wear out of the closet. If you don’t want to hold on to them for a future yard sale, you might be able to donate clothes to a nonprofit supporting the less fortunate. Either way, you win by giving yourself more living and storage space. In many cities, bulky items that nonprofits don’t want will be picked up for free by the city. Often this offer only comes around once a year at about springtime.
Yard sales serve several useful purposes. Besides putting a few dollars in your pocket, it’s good for the environment when you recycle your trash into someone else’s treasure. Not only does your old stuff find a new home, but it also cuts down on all the excess packaging that goes in the trash when something is bought new.
Time to Tackle Once a Year Chores
If spring showers bring May flowers, it will soon be time to clean the winter rubble out of your rain gutters. It’s also time to get out in the yard and clean up the downed branches and other debris from recent winter storms.
If it’s still a little early for outdoor chores, now is a suitable time to tackle indoor cleaning. An often-overlooked task is cleaning out the dryer vent (the hose running from the dryer to the outside). Do you remember the last time you cleaned out under the bed? Now’s the right time to tackle that annual chore. It’s also a good time to pull the furniture away from the walls to vacuum behind. While you have the furniture pulled out, take the opportunity to wash those hard to get at windows. While you’re at the windows, curtains are dust collectors, clean those also. Clean blinds with a microfiber cloth, blade by blade.
If you go about your spring cleaning with enthusiasm, you’ll probably work up a small sweat. That makes it a wonderful time to throw open the windows to let in some fresh air. It’s been a cold winter for many of us. Now’s a fun time to shrug off the cold to let the sunshine in. As temperatures rise, you should be ready to put your heavy winter clothing in storage and bring out your spring and summer clothing.
While you’re in the mood for the change of season, go at it with vigor by cleaning the ceiling light fixtures, the doorknobs, and light switch plates. You’ve been wiping mud and muck off your feet on the front doormat all winter long. The doormat probably needs a good cleaning to make your front door appealing to visitors.
While you’re at it, has your junk drawer turned into three junk drawers? Time to clean out the junk. Might as well tackle the bathroom also. Take everything out of the medicine cabinet, wipe it down, and properly dispose of expired medicines. And don’t forget about the refrigerator. You need to be throwing out that old food more than once a year. But for your spring cleaning, why not pull the fridge away from the wall to give the floor a cleaning as well as the condenser coils? Do the same with the stove.
Be Careful with Chemicals
You may only use harsh cleaning chemicals a couple of times a year but that doesn’t mean you should ignore how toxic these can be. Hopefully, you already know not to mix bleach and ammonia. But here’s a reminder that when bleach is mixed with ammonia it produces toxic gases that can be very harmful and potentially fatal. Read cleaning product labels carefully because many contain either bleach or ammonia. These should never be mixed or used together.
Besides laundry bleach, bleach is commonly found in disinfectants. Ammonia is common in glass and window cleaners, interior and exterior paints, and in urine (use caution when cleaning litter boxes, diaper pails, or toilet bowls).
Bleach also should not be mixed with acids. Products containing acids include vinegar and some glass and window cleaners, dishwasher detergents and rinses, toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaners, rust removal products, and brick and concrete cleaners.
Don’t forget to open the windows and doors. Not only will it air out your home, but the fresh air increases your energy and improves your mood.
What suggestions do you have for spring cleaning this year? Please leave your comments.
Also, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all experience levels with residential real estate. Please email your questions, inquiries, or article ideas to [email protected].