Spring and summer are the most welcome of allseasons in New Hampshire – the snow has (finally!) melted, and it’s time to open those windows and let the fresh air back in. Something about tidying up at this time of year can make you feel refreshed, energized, lighter and happier all over.
Here are seven tips to freshen up your home:
Downsize your household inventory
The start of the new season is a great time of year to go through your closets, toyboxes, garage, and other places where you store “stuff” and make decisions on donating clothing, small appliances, furniture, and linens that are in good shape but you no longer need. In New Hampshire, Families in Transition will accept many items such as furniture, kitchenware, clothes, accessories, shoes, and books. There also are specific organizations that accept things such as toys, baby equipment and furniture.
If you haven’t used it on a year or don’t love it, get rid of it. Items that can’t be donated — anything broken, worn out, or recalled — should be tossed. Organization experts will tell you that a sweep of your possessions is the first step toward cleaning and feeling better about the task at hand.
Multi-purpose cleaning supplies
Microfiber cloths, white vinegar, baking soda, non-abrasive cleaner, scrub brushes, a vacuum, and a mop will help you tackle deep cleaning in just about every room. Using and reusing these items will help you be more efficient moving between areas of the house and keep you from looking for supplies that you only need once or twice.
Work from top to bottom, back to front
The direction and order of dusting and vacuuming will make faster work of those tasks. Swipe ceiling fans and woodwork first. Dust the end tables. Then vacuum or mop the floors so that all the dust that may have landed there gets picked up and you haven’t dirtied an already clean carpet or floor. When you mop and vacuum, start at the end of the room away from the door and work your way out. That way, you don’t have to walk back over the clean surface.
Use the clothes dryer and vacuum for dusting
Curtains and drapes are likely very dusty after a long winter. Don’t worry about washing them, though. Save some time and energy by tossing them in the dryer. Let the dust tumble off the fabric for about 15 minutes on the cool setting. You can use that time to clean the windows and dust around the trim. If your vacuum has a brush attachment, let the machine do the work to get dusty film off blinds and lampshades. It’s good for baseboards, too.
Magic carpet trick
Carpeted stairs can look dingy, and they’re especially tough to vacuum with much success. A rubber glove — the thick kind you might use for washing dishes — can make the task much easier. Run your gloved fingers along the edge of each step, and the static electricity you generate will bring out dirt caught deep between the fibers. With a handheld vacuum or vacuum attachment, suck it up as you go step by step.
The secret of steam cleaners
Consider the power of steam on hard surface floors and in the bathroom. A steam floor cleaner works fast and thoroughly on all kinds of floors, including hardwood, tile, laminate or vinyl. On bathroom surfaces, aim a steam cleaner nozzle at tiles with grimy grout and those hard-to-reach yucky stains around toilets and faucets. As the dirt gets flushed out, wipe the areas clean and dry with a cloth.
Attacking mold & mildew
Don’t throw away your shower curtain liner and spend money on a new one. Instead, toss it in the washing machine with a few towels to help scrub it clean. If you have glass shower doors, you can prevent water spots and mildew by rubbing a teaspoon of lemon oil on the doors. That’ll help water bead up and roll off. You can buff a stainless-steel kitchen sink with mineral oil for the same effect and prevent mold build-up.
Need more motivation to clean? Start with an easy, low traffic room or chore. Success will keep you moving toward an entire home free of dust and dirt. Get up-to-date tips, resources, and information on NH living delivered to your inbox each month! Subscribe to our email newsletter today.