Spring is finally here! That means it's time to throw open your windows, let the sun shine in, and get to work cleaning your home. Whether you intend to do a really deep clean of your space or want to do a surface clean, it helps to have a plan.
Tracking red clay soil into your North Texas home can have you running around in circles looking for a solution, both figuratively and literally. Luckily, the prevalence of the soil in this area has resulted in locals knowing just what to do, when the clay threatens to mold their homes into grimy paradises. By keeping the following spring cleaning tips in mind, you can ensure that red clay soil won’t present a muddy problem down the road and in your home.
Banish Red Clay Soil Stains
To remove these tenacious, russet stains from your floors, first make an important and counter-intuitive decision: let the soil dry. This allows it to harden and makes it easier to loosen up and remove with a hard brush, which should be your preliminary clean-up step. Once you’ve cracked the clay and manually dislodged bits and pieces, create a hardy and inexpensive naturally abrasive solution by combining water and borax. Mix about 2 tablespoons of borax with a gallon of water and use this solution to scrub away streaks, smears, and tracks. In many cases, this process will rid your floors of clay mark eyesores easily and thoroughly. For particularly stubborn stains, apply stronger products, like commercial cleaning agents or ammonia and consider a pretreatment or overnight soaking.
Change Your Habits
While there are a number of commercial cleaning products that can oust red clay soil from your floors and home surfaces, longtime residents of Dallas will tell you that some of the best spring cleaning tips to win the battle against this notorious soil involve basic prevention techniques. Living in an area with red clay soil can require that you modify your habits in order to keep it as far away from the interior of your home as possible. Accustom yourself to taking off shoes before walking into your home. This simple act can spare you numerous hours of elbow grease and save you money on industrial-grade cleaning supplies. If you must enter your home wearing shoes, consider investing in a shoe or boot scraper for you and your guests to use before setting foot into your abode.
Give Your Topsoil a Facelift
If red clay soil surrounds your property and you find it impossible to avoid dragging it into your home, consider laying sod over the soil for a shot at green grass and happy relief. Be aware that you’ll have to invest time and energy into modifying your property’s terrain: Preparations such as choosing the right grass, regular watering, and fertilization may be necessary, but can lead to a completely new and improved stomping ground. While a lush lawn won’t happen overnight, the eventual emergence of soft and forgiving grass can cultivate your appreciation. Your cleaning efforts will reduce considerably and, as an added benefit, your yard’s aesthetic will improve, potentially increasing your home’s value.
Image Source: Flickr/Eric Huybrechts
Guest Post by Andrea Davis
To prepare your home for the warm months ahead, you’ll need to remove all of the dust, debris and other leftovers from the winter. As you clear the landscape and start washing the interior and exterior of your home, it’s important to get a checklist together. Here are some tips for spring cleaning your home inside and out so you don’t miss a speck of dust:
#1 Deep clean carpets.
Carpets and furniture accumulate a lot of dust and debris, so it’s time to deep clean them. Look at having your carpets cleaned by local services — either steam cleaned or shampooed. Some brands of vacuums are steam cleaners, so you can deep clean your carpets yourself. If you do invest in a steam cleaner, you’ll need to put down towels where family members can walk until the carpet dries.
Clean your upholstery according to its material. You’ll need to separate carpet cleaning from upholstery cleaning, unless professionals offer both as a package. Make sure you keep children and pets off the upholstery and carpets until they dry to avoid getting stains on clothing and chemicals on paws and hands.
If you choose not to have your carpets deep cleaned, then you need to get the vacuum out. Be sure to get every inch of your carpet with the vacuum cleaner. You may need to use the extension to reach the nooks and corners where the vacuum brush cannot go. You will also need to move furniture to clean where dust, debris, food particles and grime may have built up.
Be sure to dust before you vacuum, so any remaining particles will be removed by the vacuum and its extension. Even lightweight dust can end up on the floor following the use of a cloth or a duster, so it’s better to get the last of it with your vacuum post-dust.
#3 Dust fans, ducts and vents.
It’s also time to look at your ceiling fans and air ducts. Over time, your ducts, vents and fans will get dusty. So tackle these projects now before you turn on the A/C or the ceiling fans. You have two approaches:
- Get on a ladder to reach your ceiling fans and ducts or vents with a duster.
- Hire a professional to clean your ducts and ceiling fans.
If you go the DIY route, be aware of the safety precautions associated with cleaning ducts, vents and ceiling fans on ladders. You don’t want to break bones during this process. If you hire a professional, note the cost to clean ducts and vents is usually between $250 to $450.
#4 Examine your coils.
The refrigerator condenser coil builds up dust over time. If there’s too much debris, the coil can overheat and cause the fridge to stop working. You don’t want spoiled food, so address this problem now. You can use a brush or vacuum extension to get rid of the easy-to-reach dust and grime. For anything that’s hard to reach, you can slowly pull the fridge away from the wall and vacuum or sweep the rest of the dust. You might also find food and trinkets that have fallen behind the fridge since the last time you cleaned the coils.
#5 Organize everything.
Organization is the key to springing into the season and cleaning rooms. The best place to start is the closet. Look at everything you have and decide what really matters. Throw away or donate items like:
- Rarely worn clothing
- Too-small or worn away shoes
- Broken jewelry
- Old ties
- Worn down hats
Once everything you don’t need is in garbage bags, look at what’s left. How do you want to organize it? By color? By season? Find the most efficient way for you and then apply this to other rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, basement and garage.
#5 Wash your siding.
Your siding took a beating this winter from snow, hail and wind. In the worst cases, it might have formed cracks and ended up with missing pieces that need repair. In other cases, it might just look worn down. To renew and revitalize your siding for the spring, consider having it cleaned by a power washing professional. They use a machine with a nozzle that sprays hot, steamy water onto your siding, getting rid of all that nasty grime. This process prevents potential mold growth and keeps your siding from cracking or chipping from dirt buildup.
You can also rent a pressure washer and do this as as DIY project but be aware that it’s a dangerous job. You can hurt yourself, not to mention your doors and windows, if you aim the pressure washer incorrectly. You can also strip the paint right off the siding if you’re not careful and aim too close. In short, it’s best to leave this to the pros.
#6 Gutter Maintenance
Over the winter, snow and wind blew leaves and branches off your trees onto your roof and into your gutters. Without mesh, your gutters and downspouts may have a lot of built-up debris. To prevent moisture from improperly draining, you need to clean out the gutters now. You can get on a ladder and use hand rakes. You can also have your gutters professionally cleaned for $100 to $200. Gutter cleaners can also point out damage to your gutters and downspouts that you can address and repair.
The post 6 Must Add Items to Add To Your Spring Cleaning List appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.
Even though today is National No Housework Day (no, that’s not a belated April Fool’s Joke), spring cleaning season is in full swing. So, while you have permission to put off your honey do list until tomorrow, here’s a list of to do’s for your home this month.
1. April Showers Bring May Flowers – But, only if you prep the garden today! Lay mulch around shrubs and flower beds before the weeds take over next month. However, resist the urge to plant warm season annuals and vegetables until the last frost date has passed in your area.
2. Fresh Air, Fresh Paint – Planning to paint the exterior of your home, deck or front door? Start preparing exterior surfaces now by scraping and sanding so that when the warmer weather arrives, you’ll be ready to apply the first coat (without a coat on!)
3. Dust Off the Chaise Lounges – The days of lounging in the backyard are almost here! Take some time to clean and repair any outdoor furniture.
4. Get Rid of House Guests – While we all love having family and friends visit over the holidays, other unwelcome house guests can often make themselves at home in our roofs and walls during the winter. Follow this guide to inspect and repair damage from animals who took shelter in your home this winter season.
5. Organize the Garage or Shed – For most of the country, it’s finally time to stash the snow shovels and bust out the lawn mower. While you’re at it, consider these 5 things husbands need for spring cleaning at home.
6. Spring Clean That Closet – Kick off your spring cleaning project by tackling one of the most cluttered spots of the home. Follow these three steps to a spring miracle: an organized closet.
Although Philadelphia escaped the brunt of the terrible winter storms and weather this year, this past winter hasn’t been a picnic for most people. Now that spring is finally on its way, it’s time to say goodbye to all the bad memories of winter and hello to a fresh start. One way to banish winter is to start spring cleaning your house. Even if it’s still a bit chilly outdoors, you might find that giving your Philadelphia home a good scrubbing helps you feel better about the seasons to come.
Dust tends to collect over the winter, especially in homes that have forced air heat. No matter the type of heating system your Philly home has, spring is the perfect time to deep clean areas you don’t really think about. Hire a professional carpet cleaner, such as Zakian Rugs, to remove any dirt that gets lodged in your carpets and can’t be picked up by a vacuum. Wax or reseal other types of flooring, such as hardwood and linoleum. When dusting, reach the areas you usually neglect, such as the high corners of the walls, the top of your kitchen cabinets, and the tops of door frames. Give your windows a good cleaning, both inside the house and outdoors, if possible.
Swap Out Your Linens
One of the quickest ways to refresh your home while spring cleaning is to change your linens. If you hung up heavy, thermal curtains to keep out winter’s chill, switch to lighter weight curtains that will let more sun shine in. Toss your winter curtains in the wash or bring them to the local cleaners before storing them away for the spring and summer.
Spruce up your bedroom by trading in your heavier comforter or quilt for a duvet or bedspread that really screams spring. You can find bedding in spring colors and patterns all over the city, including bargain priced options at Ikea in South Philadelphia, and a selection of duvets and sheets at West Elm. Spring is also a great time to remember to flip or rotate your mattress and to toss your pillows in the wash.
Get a New Scent
If your home has been cooped up all winter, so that the air has begun to smell a bit stale, spice things up a bit by finding a new scent to introduce to your space. Duross & Langel soap makers, located in Midtown Village, produces a number of Philly themed candles, with scents named for certain neighborhoods. Brighten up your home with Lemon Hill, which smells like lemon, or welcome in the first signs of spring with Fairmount Park, which smells like the great outdoors.
Out with the Old
Part of spring cleaning for many people is putting away their winter wear and bringing out their spring and summer clothing. As you swap out your closet, take the time to sort through and weed out any items you don’t like anymore or that you didn’t really wear last spring or summer. The start of the season is the perfect time to sort through your clothes for either donating or consigning. Most consignment stores will only buy in-season items, meaning they want your spring clothing now.
Once your home is clean, you can start thinking about ways to refresh your home. A new coat of paint on the front door might pep things up after the long winter, for example. With a clean and revitalized living space, you’ll be more than ready for spring.
Image Source: Flickr/storebukkebruse
By Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm
The official start of spring is just around the corner! Most of hope, that spring will bring us warmer temperatures but it also brings us the task of spring-cleaning. Each year we dream of starting the new season off with a cleaner, brighter and more organized home. Sound like a miracle? Well, it can all come true with one simple “miracle” closet.
You may already think your closet is a miracle because it holds everything you ever bought. But, can you find that hot little black dress for a last minute date night dinner for two? Do you really need to keep your wedding dress right in the prime real estate of the center of your closet? With one weekend and these simple step-by-step tips on how to create a true “miracle closet” you will be more organized. Life will just be that much better for you in 2015. Think of all the time you’ll save this year by not having to dig through your stuff. You’ll no longer be the “person who is always 10 to 30 minutes late.” Instead, you’ll have more time to focus on the important things in life like spending treasured time with your loved ones. Follow these three steps to create your very own miracle closet, the launching pad for a clutter free spring 2015!
Step One: Empty and Sort
- Empty everything out of the closet onto the floor. I mean everything!
- Create four piles: keep, give away, recycle and store.
- Having trouble letting go of nostalgic items? Ask yourself: When was the last time I wore or used this? If you can’t remember, get rid of it.
- If the item is just too difficult to part with, put it in a clear plastic box or bag with today’s date and place it in your store pile. If you go back to use it in the next few months then you earned the right to keep it. If not, it’s time to give it away and let someone less fortunate enjoy it!
- If the item is something you use or wear only during one season a year, it can go into storage. Think of your closet as prime real estate that needs to be accessed daily and your storage as the summer vacation or winter chalet home for your stuff.
- Look at your give away and recycle piles, ask yourself: Could someone else use this item even if I can’t? If so, donate it to a charity. If it is too worn, add it to this week’s trash or recycle pile.
Step Two: Box and Label
- Take photos of each item in your to store pile. Print out two copies of each photo.
- Next, box up all of your items in the storage category be sure to include cedar balls to keep the moths away. Place one copy of the photo on the outside of each box with today’s date and the second copy either file away or scan and create a file on your computer. On your computer, clearly label the photos of the item and place them in a file labeled “garage storage.” Then use your computer search feature to find “go-go boots” and look which file that photo is in. Presto, you’ll know where to go find it in your storage unit, attic or garage.
- In your keep pile: take photos of shoes and accessories. Don’t forget to tell your shoes to “work it baby” as you snap the photo.
- Place the shoes and accessories in clear plastic containers so you can see everything and tape their photo to the inside of their container with the photo facing out of the box.
- For sheets and blankets: place them in clear containers and label the outside of the container with the size of the sheet and blanket. Or, if you prefer to let your linens “breathe” make labels (p-touch or by hand) and place labels on the shelves or use a tag around the hanger designating the size of sheets, etc.
Step Three: Put Items Back and Organize
- Decide how many categories you want for your clothes. Ask yourself – How do I like to decide what to wear? Then organize your closet accordingly. Remember, always within any category, organize by color.
- Put your boxes of shoes back by use or occasion. For example, sport vs. work, and then break down your dressy shoes by flats to heels and light to dark.
- For your folding clothes: lay them inside your drawers or on the shelf on their side. (NOT stacked on top of each other horizontally, but stacked vertically so you can see everything at once!) You can purchase wooden or plastic planks to use as dividers. Having your clothes and accessories all in view and organized by categories will help you find items quickly and you’ll actually wear more of your clothes!
- Last but not least, step back and take a picture of your new “miracle” closet and place it on the inside of your closet or drawer so you can keep it that way!
Bonus: Now that you can see all your clothes chances are you’ll wear different outfits more often. New wardrobe? Nope, newly organized.
Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com
The post Three Steps to a Spring Miracle: An Organized Closet appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.
Ready for more spring cleaning? Here’s a printable cleaning calendar.
The post Weave The Basket Trick Into Your Spring Cleaning Routine appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.
If you’re like me, you’ve been scavenging around the internet for small but efficient ways to transition your home from the treacherous Winter we’ve had to a (hopefully) beautiful and pleasant Spring. I am relieved to tell you I found a great article from The Home Depot which rolls out some smart and easy tips and tricks for making the most out of your “Spring Cleaning” efforts. Check them out below.
1. Check caulking around all doors and windows. Improper caulking allows for moisture to get inside your walls and cause mold. This is also the perfect time to wash/clean all windows and replace torn or damaged screens as necessary. (The Home Depot)
2. Deep cleaning carpets is a spring-cleaning must. Consider purchasing a steam cleaner for your home – not only will it come in handy during twice-yearly major cleaning sessions, but it will also prove to be a lifesaver if you have pets or children in the home. (The Home Depot)
3. Check for possible damage to the roof. Look for missing, cracked or broken shingles and make note of any needed repairs. For safety reasons, you may want to consider hiring a qualified professional to take care of any repair work that needs to be done. (The Home Depot)
4. Check for and repair cracks in driveway/sidewalk. Spring is the best time to seal cracks in the driveway or any other concrete. (The Home Depot) We repaired our driveway last Spring which was perfect timing considering what a wet and salty Winter it was.
5. Check garden hoses for dry rot and inspect hose faucets for possible freeze damage that may have occurred during the winter months. (The Home Depot) Unless you’ve kept your hose inside the garage or shed over the past few months, giving your hose a check before use will definitely be beneficial.
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I don’t know about you but I am (figuratively) jumping for joy because Spring is finally upon us! If you are like me, you’ve already begun opening the windows at your house to air out all of winter’s remains. Spring is about rejuvenation so adding small details to your environment like a little bright paint, some new furniture, or fresh flowers is really the best way to waken your spirit.
If you’re looking for an idea on how to renew your space first consider how you can add some color. Even Realtor Mag agrees that in 2014, decor and design is all about eclectic color schemes.”After years of beige and whits grabbing all the attention as a way to appeal to potential buyers, many home owners now opting for more varied colors. Color forecasters agree that gray, especially a warmer hue, is the “it” gal in home design for 2014.” (Realtor Mag)
I understand that having a red or yellow accent wall could be overwhelming for some. If this is the case, as you’ll see referenced in the photos below, implementing small decor pieces like a bright frame or chair is a great start. For more incredible photos and design inspiration visit Coldwell Banker’s Instagram and Pinterest Coldwell Banker pages.
Calming purple lawn furniture.
Photo via Pinterest
Regal violet walls.
Photo via Pinterest
Various hues of pink to brighten this guest bedroom.
Photo via Pinterest
A neon yellow staircase.
Photo via Pinterest
Dandylion yellow furniture and decor.
Photo via Pinterest
Natural lighting and an orange couch.
Photo via Pinterest
This pastel blue definitely makes this work space inspiring.
Photo via Pinterest
An interesting way to spice up ordinary picture frames.
Photo via Pinterest
Interesting bedside lamps with great pops of color.
Photo via Pinterest
Vibrant and inviting furniture.
Photo via Pinterest
A bright and beautiful flower arrangement.
Photo via Pinterest
The most wonderful tulips to brighten up your spirit.
Photo via Pinterest
Deep but rich colors make this bouquet special.
Photo via Pinterest
What color will you be adding this Spring?
I just had the pleasure of reading 5 Things Husbands Need for Spring Cleaning at Home written by David Marine, our Senior Director of Consumer Engagement. All I have to say it…this one is for you ladies, I got your back! :)
A clean home is a happy home and when Spring cleaning rolls around, women around the world begin creating their notorious “honey-do” lists.
Following this list is just one of the many things which govern married men. They aren’t quite sure why they choose to give up watching a big game to complete the seemingly endless list of house chores yet they adhere to them in rigid fashion nonetheless. We’ll say it’s all the in the name of love but we all know a woman’s fury just isn’t worth listening to.
In typical male fashion David created a list of 5 things that men need to survive spring cleaning. In typical female fashion I cut down the necessary list from five things to one. All you both really need is one simple little thing: The Honey Do App. This app, which costs a mere $2.99 is really priceless when you think about the value: your sanity.
Here’s what you need to know about this app:
The HoneyDo App Price: $2.99 Value: Sanity
This is the ultimate task manager for couples with smartphones. Here’s how it works. There are 4 lines to fill out:
Who: Assign your “honey”
Do: What needs to be done. Mow the law, paint the house, put winter clothes in attic, etc.
Due: Tell your honey when they need to complete this task
Payoff: What their reward will be for completing the task. Rewards include:
- Love: You know what they say: “All you need is Love”
- Money: But then again sometimes love can be bought.
- Payback: Make something up! Hint: A massage is always nice.
- Gift: Has he been wanting something special that he won’t spend the money on? Reward him for his hard work!
- Coffee: He will probably need a little caffeine after completing this list.
- Beer: Nothing like a cold one after a hard day’s work.
- Cupcake: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!
- Doghouse: This is where he’ll be sent if the list doesn’t get completed.
Once the task is assigned it will be sent to their phone. Keep in mind they can assign tasks for you as well. They can then accept or reject (guys we don’t suggest this option) their task.Tasks can even be recurring!
This could be the best $2.99 you have spent in a long time! Check out the video above for more details.
Oh and one last tip…
Collect every remote you can find in your house and hide them. I have seen it happen time and time again with my own husband. He will be on a roll with housework and will turn on the TV to check the score of a game. Within seconds he is captured by the TV Gods and lost for the rest of the game. If you want to to have a productive cleaning day TV just isn’t in the plan. Don’t feel guilty about this one, I can guarantee he will still check scores on his phone.
Good luck ladies and happy cleaning!