Using these fun tips, you can even get the kids to help
With the rain flowing and the flowers growing, now’s the time for spring cleaning, and the task doesn’t have to terrify you. The season for fresh starts, spring is the perfect time to reduce clutter and get more organized. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your house in check—inside and out.
Cleaning the Gutter
Many people think this chore is extremely difficult, but it‘s actually quite simple. The height of your home will determine how high you’ll need to climb on a ladder. On opposite sides of your ladder, there should be two hooks across from each other. The hooks will hold two buckets: one for your tools and one for dumping the debris from the gutter. Put on work gloves and remove excess leaves before attempting to clean the gutter. Once that’s completed, begin scooping out debris from the gutter with a trowel. Then, use a hose to wash out any remaining material from the gutter.
Inspecting the Roof
During the winter, your roof takes a terrible beating, so it is important to check for any damage from severe storms. Caution: Don’t feel obligated to go up there yourself and don’t be embarrassed to hire a professional if this job gives you even the slightest jitters. But if going up on the roof is something you’re comfortable with, then go right ahead. Before climbing up, tell someone where you’re going in case of an emergency.
Avoid inspecting the roof on rainy, muggy days. To make this job more enjoyable, go on a warm, sunny spring day. Start by looking for buckling or missing shingles, clumped moss and lichen. If you spot moss and lichen, that may be an indication that your roof is decaying. Call a professional to fix any problems you discover. Often, people who attempt to repair their roof themselves wind up creating more costly damage in the long run.
Giving your backyard deck a nice shine involves more than just purchasing a sealer. Todd Kirschner, co-owner of Trio Hardware in Plainview, explains that the type of deck material will determine how someone should go about cleaning it first. “There is an array of different types of cleaners for each different kind of surface,” says Kirschner.
And if someone is looking to wash their deck with a pressure washer, he advises they keep in mind what the deck is made of. “For pressure washers, if it is a softer substrate then you want to go with a lighter nozzle, whereas if it is more dense you can go heavier without causing damage,” says the Trio Hardware co-owner. To give the deck a nice shine, you can then use a sealer, also available for a variety of surfaces.
Clearing Out the Garage
People often use their garage for storage, but storage can quickly turn into messy piles of stuff. Incorporating these simple tricks will free up space. With a bike rack, bicycles don’t have to monopolize valuable real estate—they can hang from the ceiling and wall, taking up zero floor space. As the spring sports season begins, the flexible and easy-to-mount Rubbermaid FastTrack Ball Rack can hold basketballs, soccer balls and footballs. Suspended shelves are also helpful for storing sports bags and outdoor toys.
Organizing Kitchen Cabinets
The time has come to throw out the open bags of chips that have been sitting in your cabinet since the year 2000. If you can’t remember purchasing some of the food in your pantry and it’s just sitting there taking up space, discard it. Donate unopened cans and snacks that you don’t plan to eat to a local food bank. To make finding things easier, group similar items together and place each category, such as canned vegetables, cereal and spices, on its own shelf.
If your children have toys they no longer play with, get rid of them. Either donate them to local charities, sell them or your child can use the new KidsTrade app, to swap their toys with friends. The app is safe, because kids can only trade with kids from their own school under parental supervision.
Make It Fun
To finish faster, enlist the help of your children. It will teach them responsibility; and by inventing entertaining games and activities, you can turn this cringe-inspiring chore into fun family time.
Cranking up the volume on your kids’ favorite songs will energize everyone, speed up the chore and lighten the mood.
Turn cleaning into a game by encouraging your kids to race each other. Start by labeling three bins “Donate,” “Sell” and “Organize.” With a pile of toys in front of them, they’ll have to quickly figure out which toys they want to keep and which ones they want to give away. Start the clock and the first one to separate the toys wins.
Plan a Garage Sale
After removing all unwanted items from around your house, hosting a garage sale is a terrific way to get rid of your stuff. It’s a great family event, too, and can teach kids the value of money as well as the idea of recycling, reducing and reusing. Help kids hone their math skills by allowing them to price items and count the change. Use the profits for a special family day and teach the joys of giving by donating unsold items to a charity that the children select.
Now, take a breath and enjoy your clean space and the kids who helped you get it that way.