By Jason Robie
Don't look now, but the start of next week is forecast to have temperatures stretching up into the upper 60s and low 70s. Turns out old Punxsutawney Phil was a bit off this year. Even if it took us right weeks to get to spring, we'll take it when we can get it. And now that we're well on our way to warmer days, open windows and bare legs in shorts, it's also time to hunker down in the house and do a little spring cleaning.
By now, you know I'm a bit of a neat freak (at least on paper) so you can imagine that I don't mind this time of year. I, of course, take this time to cull out closets and storage areas of those un-needed items. But I also love the ability to open the windows, let the fresh air in and flush out the whole house of that stale winter "ick." I'm not saying our home is filthy but you all know the feeling I'm talking about. It is the ability to move furniture, scrub bathrooms, clean floors and dust every flat surface in the home. The after of these projects is so worth the during.
Let's review a few focus areas that will make a difference in the freshness of your home.
A neat little trick I learned (by asking a friendly woman at the grocery store) for reviving rock-solid brown sugar is to put it in the microwave with a small glass of water. This allows the moisture to wriggle its way back into the sugar and make it useful again for scooping out to make yummy cookies. Another great water trick is to dilute some vinegar in it and put that in the microwave for three to four minutes. When the bell rings resist your popcorn-induced, Pavlovian instinct to open the door and let it just sit there for a few minutes. The insides will be nice and steamy and ready for you to wipe it clean with little to no effort. Give this a try.
I mentioned dusting above and it is one of my least favorite things to do. Typically, this falls in the list of things my honey handles while I don't mind cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming. Growing up, we always had some sort of aerosol spray of dusting "stuff." I think the major effect it had was dampening the cloth which made the dust stick. Today, we prefer to use either a damp cloth (water works wonders) or even a fabric softener sheet from the laundry room. Those things spread their yummy smell throughout the house and tend to do a great job of getting the dust to stick. They are also inexpensive so using them to clean the baseboards and window blinds gives them extra function and usefulness.
Although seemingly obvious, we tend to leave the dusting until after all the ruckus has died down. There's no point in dusting before you vacuum or clean the floors. This will most certainly kick up additional debris and you'll have to do it all over again.
When it comes to the floors, you may have slacked a bit (like me) during the winter and just did enough to make it presentable. Now that you've got the cleaning bug, take the extra time to clear out rooms, move furniture and get everything possible out of the way. Not only does this make cleaning the floor (or vacuuming) much easier and faster, it allows you to clean up all those little piles you kicked under the couch during the winter. Or is that just me?
"While you are in the mood of cleaning the floors, I encourage folks to truly clean the carpets this time of year," Badger Realty agent Brendan Battenfelder said. "Whether you rent a machine yourself of hire a pro, you'll be amazed (and slightly horrified) at the difference it makes."
One thing to keep in mind, especially when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens, is to allow the product you are using to do its job. When I clean our bathrooms, I work my way through them initially and just spray all the surfaces with the cleaner. This means that by the time I get back to the first one, the solution has had a couple minutes to work its magic. This helps loosen the icky-ness and makes my job a thousand times easier. There's even products like Borax that you can toss in the toilet and let it sit for a couple hours. This helps get rid of those lime scale rings from the water and will make your potty pristine.
Spring cleaning, as I'm sure you've heard me say before, is one of my favorite cleaning times of the year. OK, let's be honest, its my only favorite cleaning time of the year. I love the sense of renewal and I love the feeling (and smell) the first time we walk back into the house after being gone for a few hours. You will enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that you can spend the rest of the weekend enjoying the beauty of a New Hampshire spring day.
- Category: Real Estate