Right now we are in winter and depending on where you live, you are in the middle of winter storm after winter storm. Winter can be a time of relaxation, slowing down and just catching your breath for a moment. I especially love the cold snowy days that allow me to curl up on my comfy sofa with a delicious bowl of chili. There aren’t any meetings to conduct, no deadlines to meet and no errands to run. This time of year has less sunlight and if you are anything like me eventually all the dark and cold days can bring on the winter blues.
How do you deal with the winter blues? For me the answer is to look ahead and start getting ready for spring! Although winter has its comforting moments its still great to know spring is coming. The days start to get longer, the temperatures start to rise and everything starts to come back to life. But before you pull out the floral patterns and begin to spruce up that curb appeal it all starts with a clean and fresh home. Let’s take a look at some quick and easy cleaning tips that will get you ready for spring.
In my house we clean every Saturday morning. I work Monday through Friday so sometimes, well oftentimes I do not feel like getting up early on Saturday. But as duty calls we must clean. How do I get myself motivated to clean or better yet, get my family motivated to clean? Music! I get up and turn on the music. I don’t know why but hearing some of my favorite songs get me ready to clean. If music doesn’t do it for you then turn on the television, pull up the blinds or open the windows and let the light and fresh air in. This is sure to give you the motivation you need to get started. But if you turn on the television make sure it is not a favorite program or it may pull you in and then nothing gets done.
Clean Filters Produce Clean Air
The purpose of a filter in short is to trap dirt, dust and particles that are in the air to prevent you from breathing it in. A dirty filter can also cause a furnace to work harder and it will lose its ability to be energy efficient. HVAC failure is a direct result of clogged air filters. Too many of these particles in the air can negatively impact allergies and cause congestion issues also. Changing them regularly not only allows a furnace to perform better but it will last longer and will protect you and your family from breathing in potentially harmful debris. How often should you change a filter? The answer to that question depends on a few factors. Let’s explore a few of them.
Do you own any pets and if so, how many? Pets in the home can definitely affect how often your furnace filter will need to be changed. Obviously when there are multiple pets in the home, you would need to change the filter more often than you would if there were only one or no pets in the home. The basic filter should be changed once every month for the 1″-3″ sizes. You will need to change 4″ filters every two months and 5″ filters will need changed every three months.
As spring approaches you will begin to open up the doors and windows and this will definitely affect how often you need to change a furnace air filter. Although the smell of fresh air can brighten up your home it can also be a gateway to more dirt and debris getting inside. Be sure to change the filter every month if the doors and windows are open a lot and that can be reduced to every 2-3 months if they are only open sometimes.
Do you Smoke?
Smoking in the home will also affect how often you change a filter. If there is only one person who smokes then you can change the filter every 30 days but if there are multiple smokers the filter will need changed once every 20-45 days. Carpets can be a breeding ground for cigarette smoke, dirt and debris because it can trap those things in the fibers so be sure to change the filter every 30 days. Clean carpets are a must in freshening up a home so wash the carpet every 12-18 months. However, check the carpet manufacturer’s cleaning timelines to be sure.
Let The Baking Begin!
With spring approaching, you may want to bring more of those delicious cake recipes to life. A clean oven is a must. My go to is always vinegar and baking soda. Not only are those items more common around the house but they are inexpensive and are perfect if you want to avoid any harsh chemicals.
You want to first take the oven racks out and once its been emptied mix a half cup of baking soda and some water to form a spreadable paste. Next you will coat the surface of the oven with the paste. I use an old toothbrush to get in those hard to reach grooves. As you rub the baking soda in it will begin to turn brown as it absorbs the dirt. After the oven is covered let that sit overnight. You can clean the oven racks the same way.
The next morning the baking soda will be dry so you will want to take a damp cloth and wipe it out. Then spray some vinegar from a spray bottle to cause the baking soda to foam when it reacts with the vinegar. Once it foams take a damp cloth and wipe it completely out. And Voila! It’s sparkly clean!
Organization Is Key!
There are many ways and many things to organize, but let’s talk about the mail. Mail plagues me and has been plaguing me since I’ve lived on my own. What to do with the mail so that your kitchen counters don’t become a heaping pile of papers? First decide which mail is not necessary to keep. For those item you will be throwing them directly from the mailbox into the garbage.
Next its important to install a filing system. You can do this by purchasing a wicker box or plastic container and place all mail such as bills, notices, or anything that has an expiration date on it in this container. After the bill has been paid or once the action for the notice has been completed, you can throw this away. For anything that you need to keep longer, such as payment records, or important tax documents, you will need an accordion filing folder. Each slot should be labeled to keep all the records neat and easily retrieved when necessary.
Get Spring Ready
Whether you are looking for a cure for the winter blues, or trying to get ready for spring, a clean and well organized home is always essential for the overall look and feel of a home. Download my cleaning schedule to get started. Clean first then decorate. So go grab a broom and get to cleaning. Happy Decorating!