Spring cleaning is about more than just sweeping the floor. Along with spring comes a chance at a whole new start in life. In your garden the flowers are budding and blooming. In the trees the birds are busily building nests. It’s a season of growth and life, filled with excitement, expectation and energy.
It’s time to wake up and use that energy to give your home a new lease on life too. It needn’t break your budget. You can cut the costs right now, and save by avoiding high costs in the future.
Save on cleaning materials
Buying attractively-packed cleaning products can waste a good deal of money when most cleaning jobs can be done with home-made cleaners. You probably have most of the ingredients lying around the house, and they’ll save you a lot of cash.
- Use baking soda and water to clean around the house: Try using baking soda and water as a primary cleaner. Add a little vinegar for tougher jobs. The two combined into a thin paste will clean surfaces, take the build-up of old furniture polish from wooden furniture, lift stubborn grease from the hob and even take stains out of the laundry. Mix with more water for larger jobs like cleaning floors or tiles.
- Use black tea for furniture: Replace the polish on cleaned woodwork by rubbing it with a cloth dipped in cool black tea.
- Oil and lemon juice mix for pavement: Brighten hardwood floors with a mix of two parts vegetable oil to one part lemon juice.
- Make your cutlery bright again: Shine silver with toothpaste and copper with ketchup.
A half-hearted job won’t last long. Now’s the time to go the whole hog: Take down drapes, remove cushion covers and clean everything. Check the washing instructions before rushing to the cleaners. Many can be safely popped in the washer or cleaned in the bathtub. Your home will smell fresh and the clean bright fabric will reduce, the temptation to replace them at extra cost.
Clean your appliances
Cleaning your appliances make will make them operate more efficiently. It will also save energy consumption and prolong the life of the appliance. It might even give you long enough to save enough to pay cash for a replacement when it’s needed, and so avoid finance costs.
- Refrigerator: Vacuum the dirt off the coils on the back of your refrigerator, so that it runs more efficiently and uses less power. It will also extend the life of the fridge.
- Dishwasher: Vinegar and water solution does a good job on the inside of the dishwasher as well as its racks and doors. You can use an old toothbrush on spinning arms and vents.
- Vacum: Give your vacuum cleaner a thorough cleaning and see how much better it works. Wipe down the inside canister and gently brush filters to get rid of dust and dirt blocking them. Check for old string and debris stuck on the filters, rollers or in the pipes, and repair any holes in the tube with duct tape.
It doesn’t make sense to park your expensive car outside to rust while the junk stays happy in your garage. It’s also not good if that jumble is there because you managed to fill up any spare space left in your storage closet with more unwanted stuff.
Clearing the closets can break the chain: remove the stuff from the spare room, and take some of the strain off the garage.
Certainly by making better use of your current storage areas you should be able to avoid hiring commercial storage and paying for it every month.
Cut back on clutter
- Clothing: While changing your winter wardrobe for summer clothes, don’t just pack everything away to worry about next winter, or unpack all the summer stuff blindly. Sort it out now while you’re busy packing or unpacking.
Keep only what you like and wear and set aside duplicates. Knowing what you have will also cut back the amount you need to buy at the start of each season.
- Dust-collectors: While cleaning the house get rid of chipped ornaments, lamps and other items and discard them immediately. Do the same with anything that doesn’t fit with your current lifestyle or décor.
- Books, CDs, toys and technology: Our tastes and interests change and things get out of date. Hanging on to old books and CDs you are never plan to read or listen to again wastes valuable space. The same applies to toys the kids have outgrown and to TVs, computers and DVD players you have already replaced or upgraded.
Sell what you can, donate the rest
Say good-bye to most of the things you haven’t used since last time you did a spring cleaning – and all the stuff you have been storing for any particular event that never came. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but overall it’s a good one.
Some can be sold online on sites like craigslist.com. You could also plan a yard sale to sell off items you are unable to sell through thrift shops or resale stores.
Remember your aim is to get rid of the stuff cluttering your home. Be realistic in your pricing. Don’t hang onto something in the hope you’ll get a bit more for it later. The item will have lost value and so will any extra little bit of money you might finally get.
If you can’t sell it, donate it to a worthy cause. It could make a big difference in someone else’s life and might get you relief on your taxes in addition to a tidy house.
Organize paperwork so that you don’t lose bills and pay penalties for being late. There’s nothing worse than wasting money just because you couldn’t find the bill.
Save on future maintenance costs
As you work, be on the lookout for the first signs of trouble. It’ll save money if you deal with maintenance problems before they become major jobs. Don’t ignore even little signs, like window latches and locks that are starting to stick. Also, look out for leaks and rusty pipes under sinks and basins and any signs of wood rot or cracks in masonry.
Appliance maintenance and serving
Leave necessary tasks like repairing the furnace to professionals. Instead, save by doing the small things yourself. These include replacing filters in the furnace, air conditioner, and clothes dryer. You can also:
- Drain the water heater to remove sediment that collects in it, shortening its life;
- Turn off the gas or power and cold water supply;
- Attach a hose to the drain valve near the bottom of the tank;
- Open the valve and channel the water into the nearby drain to empty the heater;
- Turn the cold water back on for a short while to flush out any sediment left in the tank then close the valve, switch on the water supply to fill the tank;
- Finally, light the gas or turn on the power.
Birds, mice, and rats will be looking for places to nest. Sealing up all the vents in your house during spring can save you a good deal of money you could be forced to pay for pest removal services. It also helps make your home more energy efficient, cutting down on cold or heat loss.
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