Tips for Spring Cleaning



These are strange times with the coronavirus but spring cleaning is an annual American tradition. Besides cleaning the windows to let the spring sunshine in, think about cleaning out unused furniture, appliances, and old clothing to make more space in your home.

Another Person’s Treasure

As people say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. In normal times, it would be suggested that you hold a yard sale. But given the need for social distancing, that’s not appropriate this year. Instead, you can still separate items that you no longer use to be stored out of the way. Time will tell but possibly, you can have that yard sale late this summer or in the fall. For now, this stuff can be stored in a corner of the garage or an outside storage building. Not only will it clear out your normal living area (more living space would be good if you’re spending a lot of time at home right now) but you’ll have things organized when you can hold that yard sale.

Why not turn that old refrigerator in the garage that’s not being used into a future month’s worth of Starbuck’s coffee money. Get those 1990s clothes that you no longer wear out of the closet. If you don’t want to hold on to them for a future your yard sale, you might be able to donate them to a nonprofit supporting the less fortunate. Either way, you win by giving yourself more living and storage space. In many cities, large items that nonprofits don’t want will be picked up for free by the city. Often this offer only comes around once a year during the spring.

When you can hold that yard sale, there are many reasons to. Besides putting a few dollars in your pocket, it’s good for the environment when you recycle your trash into someone else’s treasure. Not only does your old stuff find a new home, but it also cuts down on all the excess packaging that goes in the trash when something is bought new from the mall.

Time to Tackle Once a Year Chores

If April showers bring May flowers, now is probably the time to clean the winter leafs out of your rain gutters. It’s also time to get out in the yard and clean up the downed branches and other debris the winter left behind.

However, don’t forget about cleaning up inside your home. With this virus, deep house cleaning is more important than ever. Now is a good time to clean out the dryer vent (the hose running from the dryer to outside). Do you remember the last time you cleaned out under the bed? Now’s a good time to tackle that annual chore. It’s also a good time to pull the furniture away from the walls to vacuum behind. While you have the furniture pulled out, take the opportunity to wash those hard to get at windows. While you’re at the windows, curtains are dust collectors, clean those also. Clean blinds with a microfiber cloth, blade by blade.

If you go about your spring cleaning with enthusiasm you’ll probably work up a small sweat. That makes it a great time to throw open the windows to let some fresh air in. It’s been a cold winter for many of us. Now’s a great time to shrug off the cold to let the sunshine in. You should be ready to put your winter clothing in storage and bring out your spring and summer clothing.

While you’re in the mood for the season change, go at it with vigor by cleaning the ceiling light fixtures, the doorknobs, and light switch plates (very important in these times). You’ve been wiping mud and snow off your feet on the front doormat all winter long. The doormat probably needs a good cleaning to make your front door appealing to visitors.

While you’re at it, has your junk drawer turned into three junk drawers? It might be a good time to clean out the junk. Might as well tackle the bathroom also. Take everything out of the medicine cabinet, wipe it down, and properly dispose of expired medicines. And don’t forget about the refrigerator. You need to be throwing out that old food more than once a year. But for your spring cleaning, why not pull the fridge away from the wall to give the floor a cleaning as well as the condenser coils? Do the same with the stove.

Be Careful with Chemicals

You may only use harsh cleaning chemicals a couple of times a year but that doesn’t mean you should ignore how toxic these can be. Hopefully, you already know not to mix bleach and ammonia. But here’s a reminder that when bleach is mixed with ammonia it produces toxic gases that can be very harmful and potentially fatal. Read cleaning product labels carefully because many contain either bleach or ammonia. These should never be mixed or used together.

Besides household bleach, bleach is commonly found in disinfectants. Ammonia is common in glass and window cleaners, interior and exterior paints, and in urine (use caution when cleaning litter boxes, diaper pails, or toilet bowls).

Bleach also should not be mixed with acids. Products containing acids include vinegar and some glass and window cleaners, dishwasher detergents and rinses, toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaners, rust removal products, and brick and concrete cleaners.  

Don’t forget to open the windows and doors. Not only will it air out your home, but the fresh air increases your energy and improves your mood.

What suggestions do you have for changes needed during spring cleaning this year? Please leave your comments. Also, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all experience levels with residential real estate. Please email your questions, inquiries, or article ideas to askbrian@realtybiznews.com.

Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for 12 years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, near a national and the Pacific Ocean.