For many of us March 20th sure doesn’t feel like the first day of Spring, but that is no reason not to act on our Spring fever!
Spring Cleaning Tips
As a rule of thumb, discard anything you haven’t used in 12 months, especially clothing you don’t wear or items your children have outgrown.
Throw away broken-down, worn-out items. Get rid of old magazines by offering them to a hospital, school, nursing home or daycare center. Recycle newspapers or use them for lighting fires or covering things while painting or cleaning. Dispose of all expired medications by pouring them down the toilet.
Call a local recycling center if you have paints, chemicals or other toxic materials to dispose. Items that are in good, clean condition – clothing, furniture, accessories, and appliances – can be sold at a garage sale or donated to a charity. Some agencies will even pick up donated materials.
Cleaning Blinds and Shades
Purchasing window treatments can be a major investment. You can protect this investment by engaging in proper maintenance for your blinds and shades. Blinds and shades will stay in shape if you dust them monthly with a soft cloth or vacuum’s brush attachment. For heavier dust on mini-blinds, use a finger-like brush designed to clean five slats at a time.
Clean stained-wood blinds with furniture polish.
When metal or plastic mini-blinds need a more thorough cleaning, take them outside and wash the slats with a sponge and soapy water. Then, hang the slats from a clothesline and rinse with a hose. Shake off excess water, drain rails and towel dry to avoid water marks and rusting.
If you can’t take your blinds down, fill one bucket with a solution of grease-cutting household detergent and another bucket with water. Working from the top down, wash both sides of each slat, then rinse using a second sponge dipped in plain water. Dry slats with a towel.
Fabric roller shades should also be taken down for a good cleaning. Place the unrolled shade on a flat surface and sponge with lukewarm water and mild soap, trying not to soak the fabric. Work in sections, removing excess moisture with a dry cloth.
Hang the shade at the window, pull it down to full length and let it dry. Then, roll the shade to the top and leave it for a few hours to give a crisp, ironed look. Some non-washable shades can be cleaned with wallpaper cleaner, others need dry cleaning.
Conquer Closet Clutter
When you’re trying to sell a home it’s not the skeletons in the closet that will hurt you – it’s all the other stuff you have jammed into them.
Adequate storage space is one of the first things prospective buyers look for when they inspect a home. You can be sure they’ll open all of your doors and drawers – checking to see if your home has room for their belongings. There are many tricks to making your storage space seem more adequate:
- The easiest one is to simply move some of your possessions out.
- Remove out-of-season clothing, sports equipment and other miscellaneous items from your front entry closet. Try to take out half the items in your bedroom closets to make them appear roomier. Prospective buyers want to see how much space is in your closets, not how much you’ve been able to cram into them.
- Keep in mind that the more things you give away, throw out, sell or store now, the easier your move will be later.
- To increase the storage capacity of your closets, add an extra pole, shoe racks, wire baskets or shelves.
You can also make closets appear bigger by applying a fresh coat of white paint and putting in the highest-wattage bulbs allowed. Other important storage areas to reorganize include kitchen cabinets, garage and attic. The use of dividers and hanging racks in these areas will make things easier for you to find, and make your home more appealing to buyers.
Housecleaning in Record Time
Regular “as needed” cleaning is the best method because it’s the most efficient. Saving jobs for one big binge in the spring or fall takes more time in the long run. Following these daily and weekly clean-up guides will help keep your home in tip-top shape year round.
Clean up clutter as you go and wipe up spills as they happen. Encourage family members to pick up, hang up, put away and clean up after themselves. Wipe sinks after every use and clean the shower or tub.
Load the dishwasher as soon as possible, or put dishes in the sink to soak until you can wash them.
Get rid of rubbish. Place a trash compactor in the kitchen near recycling bins or in the garage to save on trips to the curb and reduce the volume in landfills.
Clean your own way, but do it regularly. Your schedule should include dusting and vacuuming of walls and woodwork. Wipe door jambs with a detergent solution, dust windowsills and remove fingerprints with a spray cleaner.
While vacuuming, clean up any spots and stains you may see on the carpet. Use a disinfectant in the kitchen and bathroom.
Try to clean one large appliance and one out-of-sight storage area once a month.