Spring is almost here and for most that means two words (and here’s a hint, we’re not talking spring break…yet). Those two [hyphenated] words are: spring-cleaning.
According to a 2011 survey by The American Cleaning Institute, about 82 percent of people plan to participate in the long-time tradition of spring-cleaning. So for the motivated 80 percent of you, throw open those windows, breathe in some fresh air, and get ready to make your home clean, happy, and efficient.
Here’s a checklist for those tough areas of your home.
The perimeter of your home probably needs a facelift, especially if you live in an area that has felt the effects of the winter’s snow and ice. Now that the snow and ice have melted (hopefully!), parts of your home such as windows, siding, outdoor furniture, gardens, the lawn, and any outdoor equipment may need your tender love and attention.
Exterior cleaning also allows you to see what can be done to further protect your home this season. Here is a breakdown.
- Windows: Cleaning the windows gives you a clearer view of spring’s outdoor beauty.
- Siding: Pressure wash the siding of your house to give it that spring clean look and to eliminate the grime and dirt accumulated by the winter weather.
- Outdoor Furniture: This could include patio furniture, grills, or other fixtures outside of your home (such as Fido’s doghouse). Inspect the grill to makes sure it’s operating safely and correctly. You can also add burglar alarms to your expensive outdoor items to keep them safe.
- Garden: Remove any debris and weeds to allow new growth to emerge.
- Lawn: Pick up broken limbs, remove any protruding rocks, and rake the last bit of leaves that may been missed before the first winter snowfall before they reach dangerous levels.
- Equipment: Make sure any outdoor equipment is cleaned, oil changed (if applicable), blades sharpened, and is working properly to ensure safe outdoor spring-cleaning. You can also attach detector alarms for added security.
The kitchen is probably the most used room in the home (it is the heart!), especially with Thanksgiving dinner, all those holiday cookies and entertaining, and those good home-cooked meals spanning over the winter months. While leftovers are great (including those cookies) it’s time to clean out the refrigerator, cabinets, appliances, pantry, and other places you might be hiding those golden goodies. You also want to be sure the fir alarm si working in case you need to contact emergency services.
- Refrigerator: Take everything out of the refrigerator, clean the drawers, wipe down shelves, and give the inside a good scrub. Make sure nothing is turning green as you put food back into your newly cleaned refrigerator.
- Cabinets: With those Thanksgiving and holiday dinners comes rooting through the cabinets to find the “use once a year” kitchen items. It also means shoving them back where they might not fit or belong. Clean out cabinets and reorganize to start spring off the right, organized way and reduce clutter.
- Appliances: Cookies, holiday dinners, and the clean up after all those events can take a toll on your appliances. Check the dishwasher, oven, stove, microwave, and any other appliances to make sure they are clean and working properly. Take note and replace any non-working or broken parts.
- Pantry: Review expiration dates on food items and clean off shelves for an organized and food safe pantry. You’re stomach will thank you for not consuming those stale or outdated crackers.
- Secret Stash/Counter: We know you have one. You can keep your stash a secret, but throw out any expired or stale goodies you might have been saving for a midnight craving. For those goodies that are out on the counter, remove, wipe down countertops, and toss anything that looks suspicious.
- Overall: Once all the nooks and crannies are cleaned, it’s time to do an overall sweep to add that last touch to your clean kitchen. Clean the sink, wipe down the table and chairs, and make that floor sparkle.
Not the most appealing part of cleaning house, it is a necessary evil to help clear the clutter and start fresh. Leftover home improvement items, appliances, broken items, tools, animal residue, fake security signs, and other such cleaning nightmares may be lurking in these places.
- Home Improvement: If you still have that wall paint from 15 years ago, it may be time to find a place to dispose of old paint (don’t throw it out with your weekly garbage collection as it can release harmful chemicals into the ground and water supply). Only keep things you need for future home improvement projects and make sure they are clean and organized.
- Appliances: Your washers and dryers may be a part of your garage. Make sure to clean out the lint trap (it’s recommended you did this every time the laundry is done) and clean out the dryer hose. These can be fire hazards if not cleaned properly. Get family members to help you.
- Broken Items: A self-explanatory clean up item, but make sure broken decorations, tools, furniture, or other broken items sitting in the garage or storage area find their way to the correct place.
- Tools: Clean out toolboxes, clean up any tools that might have been used heavily (or those collecting dust), and organize them in a safe and appropriate environment (we recommend away from children).
- Animal Residue: Your family isn’t the only ones cuddled up in your house during the winter months. Make sure to clean up any animal residue left behind to prevent bacteria or other hazards from infecting your home.
Spring-cleaning can sometimes be a daunting task, but it promotes overall health and lets you start in a fresh environment. With fresh air and a fresh home, you can have a fresh start to the warm and blossoming season we call, spring.