While it’s challenging to be socially disconnected during COVID-19 times, it’s a great opportunity to get a head start on spring cleaning. This time of year usually brings out the “nesting” instinct in all of us, and there’s no excuse not to declutter, clean and get ready for warmer temperatures.
Did you know the first day of spring this year is Friday, March 19th? It’s the earliest start of spring in over a century. The last time spring arrived on this date was back in 1896, and for most of us, it can’t happen quickly enough! As we enjoy more daylight, it’s a perfect time to get going on those projects you’ve been putting off.
To make the chores a little easier, here at Usaj Realty we have a cleaning checklist that will help you get your house and property in tip-top shape as we head into warmer weather. It helps having a list to guide you through the process.
- Hose Bibs. Check to see that everything is in proper working order. While you’re at it, take a look at your hoses to see if they will easily and properly attach to the bib. Make sure there aren’t any leaks. Consider buying a new rubber seal for the hose nozzle.
- Air Conditioning Condenser. After our snowy February, examine your air conditioning condenser and clean out any debris that may have collected in and around the unit. Check your owner’s manual or instructions online to scrub the unit and improve the cooling efficiency of your air conditioning system. Don’t forget to clean/replace the furnace filter as well! This should be done every three months, more often if you have pets.
- Gutters and downspouts need your attention. If you live in a one story home, this is an easy DIY and should be done at least twice a year, more often if you have numerous trees. Leaves, pine needles, dirt and roofing debris can quickly form blockages and cause water to overflow and drain into the foundation and basement. Use a leaf blower to blast out the gutters. Also, trim any branches that are near your house. If the downspouts are clogged, force a water hose through the opening to dislodge the stoppage. Make sure all the downspouts are directing the water at least six feet from the foundation and that any pooling is well away from the house. Many downspout exits aren’t angled adequately to effectively divert water. Especially with older homes, you may want to consider some minor upgrades to your gutter system. If you have a two-story home, it’s recommended that you call a home service professional who has the proper equipment and insurance to clean out the gutters.
- Repair Driveway. Changing seasons, rising and falling temperatures, and precipitation can impact your driveway. Don’t ignore the signs of unhappy pavement. Linear cracks, spider cracks and crumbling edges are all signs of wear and tear. Fillers are a short term solution but many cracks will require a total surface evaluation. Make sure you get several estimates on any repair work and do your research to make sure you are ultimately getting a permanent fix.
- Rake. As I filled up my eight lawn and leaf bags over the weekend, I was thinking. “Has fall extended in March?” Despite your best efforts to keep up with the leaves last fall, there are inevitably pesky remnants of 2019. Grab a rake and your leaf blower and clean up the yard. It’s a great workout and perfect for clearing your head. Have the kids help, too.
- Garden. If you didn’t have time to get to it last fall, clean out the garden. Pull out the dead weeds, add some mulch/fertilizer and overturn the soil. Also, take some time and check your supplies. Do you need potting soil? New containers? How’s the shovel holding up? It won’t be long before you can start planting and you’ll want to have the right tools to complete the job.
- Pressure Wash the Deck/Patio. Pick a nice day and fire up the pressure washer (you can easily rent if you don’t own one). Take away the winter grime from railings, flooring and even the concrete and stone pavers. Don’t forget the patio furniture as well. You’ll be amazed at how clean your chairs and loungers will be from a good pressure wash.
- Clean the Grill. This isn’t a particularly fun activity but it’s nice having a sparkling clean grill to start the spring season. Remove the grates and scrub them down, wipe the exterior and interior, and make sure you have an extra propane tank. You don’t want to be halfway through the cooking process only to discover you’ve run out of fuel!
- Wash Windows and Screens. Being able to actually see the grass turning green and the new growth on shrubs and trees from inside your home is huge. Haze, streaks and smudges on your windows prevent you from enjoying the view.
- Dust all the Surfaces. That includes those hard to reach places like ceiling fans, cabinet tops, high window sills and light fixtures.
- Wipe Down Frequently used Surfaces. Kitchen counters, light switches, door handles and work surfaces near computers can be breeding grounds for germs and viruses. Be diligent about keeping them clean.
- Vacuum and Wash all the Floors. You should obviously be doing this on a regular basis but get the corners and wipe down the baseboards that may have been neglected. Speaking of neglected areas, remember to move the furniture and vacuum. You’ll probably find plenty of dust and maybe even some pine needles from your Christmas tree!
- Oven, Refrigerator and Freezer. If you have a self-cleaning oven, turn it on. If not, grab your latex (or non-latex) gloves and get to work. Same with the refrigerator and freezer. Turn the appliance off, remove all the food and the shelves, wash the shelving in soapy water, wipe down the interior and your refrigerated food will love you for your efforts.
- Pantry. It’s time to do a sell-by check and toss out food that has expired. Don’t forget to examine your spices as well. Consider contributing some of your unexpired food items to a food bank.
- Scrub Showers and Tubs. Clean the grout with a toothbrush. If it doesn’t come clean, consider hiring a professional to clean the bathroom tile and your tile floors.
- Wash Pillows, Comforters, Mattress Covers, Throw Blankets and Area Rugs. Nothing says spring like fresh smelling bedding and sinking your toes into freshly laundered area rugs.
- Vacuum and Rotate/Flip your Mattress. Your mattress and bed frame can collect a lot of dust over the winter. You’ll sleep better with clean surroundings.
- Carpet Cleaning. Depending on the scope of the work, this can be a great DIY project or work for a professional.
- Wall smudges. Whether you’re looking at kid fingerprints, dirty walls from pets or scuff marks, take the time to get rid of the grit and grime.
- Fireplace. If you have a wood burning fireplace, remove the soot and leftover burned wood. Consider using a shop-vac to eliminate the remaining dust and dirt.
- Washer/Dryer. Don’t forget these hard working machines. There are wonderful products on the market to clean the inside of your washing machine. Likewise, your dryer should be examined. The lint trap should be cleaned with each use and dryer vents checked out every year or two.