Cleaning. We've all got to do it, but very few of us like it. Of course, we like the results of not doing it even less. So on a daily basis, we exchange a little of our precious time in exchange for feeling comfortable and proud of our homes.
The daily maintenance of keeping a house can mean we often let the little things slip. We're so busy washing dishes, wiping down sticky surfaces and going through our kids rooms that everything else is forgotten. We clean on the surface, glance around, decide it's good enough and go on with our lives.
Then the occasion hits. Let's dip into fantasy and look at the kind of scenario that brings about The Horror. You've got a new TV. You're excited; the kids are already arguing about what to watch; your husband is talking longingly of sport. You free the new product from its box, remove the old one, and pull out the TV cabinet to get everything set up.
You're greeted by a cable monster. Accompanying the mass of cables is enough dust and lint to viably consider an entire Hallowe'en costume made of the stuff. While from a distance the TV and its stand looked fine, behind is another story.
To prevent such a catastrophe, occasionally, you need to dig deeper and clean the areas out of sight. To keep things simple, designate a task to a specific time of year, as some things suit a specific season. Not only are there some suggestions below, but also a few tips to make things go quickly.
Ah, such a wonderful season, and famed for its association with cleaning as well.
In winter, the angle of sunlight means that many dust traps are hidden from us. So pull out every item of furniture and begin to wipe everything away. If you have a particular collection of dust, then dampening it beforehand can make it easier to control. That way the dust collects where you want it, rather than spraying around the house and creating more mess.
Tidy up the garden.
Your outdoor space has probably taken a neglected battering over winter. In anticipation of the warmer days to come, spend a little time cleaning up outside. Move everything, including things like climbing frames, so you're starting the outdoor season fresh.
Clean Your Windows.
You're going to want sunlight to pour through the windows, so spend some time getting them spotless. White vinegar is well known as a glass cleaner, and can also have a mild antibacterial impact. There are plenty of other items that can be used for multiple purposes, so save money for your holiday by investing.
- Baking soda is perfect as an abrasive and for getting grease off of the stove.
- Hydrogen peroxide has many uses, as we learn from The Alternative Daily. It's particularly adept at tackling the grout in the bathroom, bringing it back to its pristine whiteness.
- Activated charcoal is inexpensive and can be used as a stain remover.
- Citric acid works in a similar way to vinegar and can dissolve grease, but smells much better and is safe if kids get their hands on it.
Door and Window Frames
As you're already going to be in the area, get the door and window frames cleaned out. You'd be surprised how much debris can accrue, particularly as seeds like dandelions begin to spread. A jet washer is perfect for the job, though a damp cloth can have the same impact so long as you're diligent.
Clear out the attic and basement.
With the hotter weather out of the way, it's time to tackle the main storage areas. This can double with clearing away summer-related items for their winter hibernation - a two-for-one! Who doesn't love that?
Sweep cobwebs away and inspect for signs of any termite or damp infestations. Pests are more likely to be breeding during the summer months, so fall is a perfect time to check for any issues that might be springing up.
Drains and gutters.
It's not the most attractive of things to contemplate, but you're not going to want to have drainage problems through the winter. Burst pipes are a big enough problem by themselves, before making things worse with preventable blockages.
Run drain unblockers down every sink - even if they are clearing smoothly. For outside, do the same with a specific cleaner. Any autumn leaves that begin to build up in outdoor drains are going to need to be cleared manually. It's not an attractive job, but a good pair of elbow length gloves should do it. Oh, and learning to breathe through your nose might be handy as well!
If you're part of anything like the average American family, then you're going to buy a lot of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So it's a perfect time to go through your food supplies and see what can be kept, and what should be thrown out. Pull everything out of cupboards and check sell-by-dates, checking online to see if things are safe to eat if they're borderline.
With everything out of the cupboards, you can go in and clean them. Keep an eye out for mice droppings; these often cute rodents love to make their home in the kitchen. Also check any paper storage that you have, to see if it has any nibbled holes in it. If you do see signs of mice, then take action with humane traps. It's also worth transferring items into glass or plastic, which is more rodent-proof.
You then have the choice of even replacing items or making things more streamlined. Rather than throwing out any food you decide not to keep, consider donating it. If you're trying to keep clutter to a minimum, then anything you have not used for the last six months might be worth parting with.
By splitting these tasks across the year, you can ensure they are always taken care of - but without getting bogged down in them. You can rest easy the rest of the time, focusing on the surface areas, knowing the time will come for the rest of it.