One of the advantages of being disorderly
is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
Generally speaking I’m not much of a cleaner. I don’t need to be, as my husband turns more into Felix Unger with every passing day. But I do like spring cleaning.
Generally speaking, I’m not much of a sleeper either. (For the record, Jeff’s earlybird tendencies has a lot to do with that too.) You’d think I’d resent “springing forward” as it’s another hour of sleep I’ve been cheated out of.
As much as it bites to lose that precious hour of Sunday morning— hurtling us unfairly closer to dreaded Monday— I love Daylight Savings just because it means that spring is just around the corner.
Oh, it’s coming. It’s practically here!
Spring with its warming sun with cool winds, with the smell of mud and sound of peepers, with flowers at first sneaking up underfoot in unexpected places and then exploding violently everywhere you look. Spring with its sunkissed cheeks that have been inside all too much all winter, with its raised hemlines and bare arms and toe-baring shoes. Spring with its windows thrown open, curtains fluttering; its rugs and comforters hanging out on the line to dry. Spring with its spring cleaning: birds excitedly dismantling last year’s nests before constructing anew; a scrubbing out of homes and hearts in preparation for summer fun in all its glory.
Now, today is a lovely day here in southeastern PA, so I think everybody should be outside deservedly basking after a long, difficult winter. So we’ll put off a discussion of proper spring cleaning until it’s consistently warm enough to open doors and windows during the day. Frankly, I won’t even entertain the thought until all the snow has melted off.
BUT, take the time to cross some of these maintenance items off your list; I estimate it should only take about a half hour. (You don’t have to be in heels to do them, but it’s more fun that way.)
Some of these are things you should be doing regularly anyway, but if you aren’t a twice-yearly commitment on timechange day is better than nothing. You’ll be glad you did.
Change batteries in smoke alarms.
Yeah, that old chestnut. Get yer 9Vs and swap the batteries out, then make sure to test each alarm. This is important, folks.
Flip your mattress.
More diligent folks are pretty good about flipping from left to right on a regular basis; today also flip from head to bottom. Flipping makes for more even wear and a longer mattress life.
Give your first aid kit some first aid.
Make sure you have all those emergency items you might need: bandaids of varying sizes, gauze, tweezers, antiseptic, hydrocortisone, thermometer. We also keep anti-itch cream on hand since we’re prone to rashing, and a box of alcohol-soaked pads for easily sterilizing things (these run like 2 bucks a box at the drugstore). Here’s the Red Cross recommended list.
Make or restock a small first aid kit for your car. Start a list of what you need to buy next time you’re out.
Check and chuck.
Get rid of all the expired things! Again, keep a running a list of what you need to pick up for replacements.
- Medicine cabinets: collect expired prescriptions, meds and vitamins- but don’t toss them! Meds in the water have been pointed to as a factor in the rise of hyper-resistant superbugs. Check for a local collection.
- Kitchen: look at all those not-oft-used pickles, condiments, salad dressings etc. Poke around the back of your freezer and check your canned goods.
- Cosmetics and creams: in general, powders can keep for two years. Mascara has a high turnover rate, you should be chucking those with each new season. If anything looks or smells off, let it go.
Clean your vacuum filter.
This is for those with bagless vacuums (do people still buy bag vacuums? I’m honestly not sure). Take out your filter, give it a good tapping out and rinse, and leave to dry in the sunshine. It’ll extend the life of your vacuum and just make it work better.
Clean the dishwasher drain.
In our house, we call this “de-munging.” At the bottom of your dishwasher there’s a trap where all kinds of yuck accumulates and keeps being reintroduced as you run dish cycles. Clean it out and then run an empty cycle on hot with a healthy dose of vinegar or lemon juice, whichever you have on hand. Again, maintenance makes for better performance and longer life.
Take a walk.
Start another list: this one of all the things that you want to do around the house this year, big and small. Just take a quick walk through all your rooms and outside and take note of whatall needs fixing, painting, replacing, organizing, refreshing. If you’re feeling industrious, sort by priority and use that list to make a shopping list, broken out into locations (hardware store, craft store, drugstore).
Then whenever your spouse is feeling restless, the kids are in need of a bit of pocket cash, or you find yourself with an unexpected free afternoon, you can easily tackle or delegate some things on the list. (If you have kids, I suggest leaving the list in a prominent place and assigning dollar values. You’d be shocked at how enterprising a teen who needs something can be…)
What other household tasks could we simplify by assigning them to being done twice-yearly on timechange day?