Spring cleaning is a ritual for most of us, but what about sprucing up your home and taking care of some maintenance items as the cooler weather approaches? In preparation for spending more time indoors, keep your home in tip top shape by being sure to:
1. Make sure your gutters stay clean and clog free. It’s best to do this before leaves get wet from rain or snow.
2. Check caulking and weather strips around doors and windows.
3. Trim back trees that are too close to your house or other building structures.
4. Check for peeling paint and scrub any mildewed areas you find on your siding.
5. Check for cracks in your foundation, brick or stucco.
6. Repair or clean your furnace filter.
7. Examine your chimney. Clean flue; repair any cracks in flue or any loose or crumbling mortar.
8. Get a roof inspection. Make any repairs as per the inspectors’ recommendation (contact me for a roof inspector referral in your area).
Protecting and preserving the environment starts right in your own home. Here are some items that will not only save you money but are also safer for you, those you care about, and for the environment.
Soap biodegrades safely and completely, and is non-toxic. Make sure that you use soap without synthetic scents, colors, or other additives. Even phosphate-free laundry detergent contributes to water pollution.
Vinegar (Five percent Acetic Acid)
Vinegar is a mild disinfectant which cuts grease, cleans glass, and deodorizes. It can also remove calcium deposits, stains, and wax build-up. The most commonly used vinegar in cleaning is is distilled white vinegar.
Eucalyptus oil is a good disinfectant and deodorizer. It gets rid of some stains like ink and grease, kills and repels some insects, and even attacks rust.
Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate)
A key ingredient for washing clothes, washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, disinfects, and softens water. Washing soda should not be used on aluminum.
Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of soda)
Baking soda works as well as an abrasive in alternate recipes. Baking soda polishes, removes stains, and softens fabrics. Baking soda is also great as a deodorizer. Place a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors. In fact, put it anywhere you need deodorizing action: trash cans, laundry, and even smelly sneakers.
Lemon, like vinegar, is a terrific cleaning agent. The acid in lemons is antibacterial and antiseptic, and it acts as a natural bleach. The citrus smell of a lemon is refreshing and invigorating. Oils in the rinds can also help to clean and shine.
- Drains: Lemon rinds can be ground in the garbage disposal to freshen the drain. Hot water with a little lemon poured down a drain will also freshen the drain.
- Bleaching: Lemon juice acts as a natural bleaching agent. Put lemon juice onto white linens and clothing and allow them to dry in the sun. Stains will be bleached away.
- Degreasing: The acid in lemon juice cuts through grease and does a good job removing grease from the stove and countertops.
- Add the mixture to vinegar: Vinegar can be a great cleaning ingredient, but many people dislike the vinegar smell. Adding lemon juice to vinegar when cleaning can help neutralize the vinegar smell.
ZZ Plant – one of the lowest maintenance options on the market. It only needs to be watered three times a month, doesn’t require a lot of light, and will not attract bugs or other pests.
Air Plants – these natural wonders sustain themselves on moisture from the air, and require no soil to grow. They usually are displayed in stylish air plant holders, adding an extra flair to your space
Ficus Danielle – if you are looking for a statement maker and have space for a 3-foot tree, this is the plant for you. It has a twisted trunk and waxy leaves, and requires medium to bright sunlight
Bird’s Nest Fern – these plants do well in bathrooms and confined spaces, can thrive in low light, and can be either hung or potted
Pothos – these truly do your indoor space a favor by purifying the air and can strip your home of toxins known to form in carpets and rugs. These plants look beautiful hanging from a basket with their leaves draping down
Iron Plant – The iron plant can survive in low light, poor soil, and with minimal water, making it one of the most durable indoor plants. The deep green leaves also make for a stunning pop of color in your home.
Peace Lily – with some medium to bright indirect sunlight, these plants will flower delicate, white lilies. They only require watering once a week so are great for an office
Snake Plant – with mighty durable leaves, these treasures can survive almost any environment. They only require occasional watering, letting the soil dry between between waterings.
Aloe Vera – a household staple for those looking for a plant that also serves as an instant medication for any topical skin ailments like scrapes and burns
Fiddle Leaf Fig – this plant offers a unique shape – tall but not wide, so it is great if you have minimal floor space. It requires medium light but only needs to be watered when the soil is dry to the touch
Change your throw pillows – create some dimension by getting pillows with varying textures and sizes, and make sure they reflect your personality! Switching up throw pillows for the changing seasons is a great way to refresh
Get a new rug – this can really change the look and feel of a room, almost as much as a new paint color can. Finding the right size rug that works well with the rest of your furniture is key – don’t settle until you find the right one!
Rearrange your furniture – what is especially great about this idea is that you don’t have to work anything new into your space. Pay attention to the visual weight balance of the room If you have something large on one side, balance it out with something equally large or a cluster of small items on the other side
Change your coffee table vignette – adding things like fresh flowers, candles, decorative coasters, or an art book are great pieces to add to your coffee table. Because most of these items are small and inexpensive, you can interchange them as often as you’d like!
Update your walls – you don’t always have to change your paint color to breathe new life into your walls. Adding art, hanging tapestries, shelves, or even draping lights can make a big impact
Mount some shelving – this is a game changer! There are so many variations of wall shelves; different sizes and colors, different ways to stagger them, and of course an endless amount of what you can actually showcase on them
Add some greenery – a stellar way to literally breathe life into your space! Add them to your coffee table, your wall shelves, hang them from the ceiling, place them on the ground in pots or on a pedestal. Opportunities are endless!