Clean as a Whistle

By April 2, 2021 Food for thought, Life

I’ve never been a big believer in spring cleaning. Isn’t cleaning something you’re doing anyways? Or is this just meant to be the deep clean you don’t have time to do otherwise?  Somehow the idea that with winter gone you’re supposed to suddenly go on this massive cleaning spree has always felt a bit contrived.

However, after working from home for over a year and being a little more confined with the pandemic, I feel myself starting to understand that a little better. Lately I’ve found myself fighting this urge to take everything out of the house, give it all a good scrub, and then put it all back until next spring. If nothing else, just to get rid of the dog hair that magically appears within minutes after we’ve swept. At this point, I’m not sure how Boo still has any left.

And resisting that urge is a bit of a fight. However, if you are one of the many who look at this time of year to really refresh you house, be sure to look not just at what is happening inside, but what might be needing attention on the outside. Take some time to walk around the perimeter of the house and see what might require at bit of a “spring clean.”

Start by looking at your gutters. Keeping these clean can be a real challenge, and something everyone should be doing year-round. If enough trees are around, leaves can pile up pretty quick over the fall and winter months. For us, we’ve also been inundated with acorns at one end of our house. We didn’t realize how many until a storm blew through and washed a large number out of one of our downspouts. And with some of the rainstorms that we get, even cleaned gutters can be overwhelmed.

via GIPHY

Speaking of storms, be sure to look for any potential storm damage. Generally, we don’t think about that unless we’ve experienced heavy hail, high winds, or worse. But with the right conditions and in the right combinations, it doesn’t take much to do damage. We had a storm blow through recently that produced fairly small hail. Nothing to normally be concerned about. However, with the accompanying winds, that small hail peeled paint off of a metal gate, chipped a couple of bricks that will now need painting, and pockmarked our wood fence.

If you have a wood fence, start by looking for loose or damaged boards. Then check to see if your gates are still opening and latching correctly. Perhaps now is the time to also clean and re-stain. As I look at ours, you can see we’re pretty close to that time. While most of what we can see if simple weathering – including the pockmarks – there are a couple of areas where you can tell water from the sprinkler has been hitting the fence.

So, check your sprinklers if you have them. If you’re like us, you’ve already turned yours back on. Are they leaking? Do heads need adjusting? We had ours checked recently and discovered one broken line and two damaged heads. Had that not been done as part of a recent tree removal, we probably wouldn’t have noticed. Also check your controller. At least once a year we hear sprinklers going off at a random time, then realize we haven’t reset the clock after a power outage.

Finally, look for the smaller things, like cobwebs and wasp nests. More than once we’ve had to remove the start of a nest right by our front door. A bit alarming that first time you walk out and realize a wasp has been staring at you while you locked the door. Also check around your windows and doors for caulk that may have come loose. While air infiltration isn’t great, having a spot for the smaller creatures to wander through can be worse.

And should you decide to focus more on what’s happening inside, don’t forget the simple things like changing your air filter. Or checking under your sinks for small leaks. It’s easy to overlook those things in the dash to get shelves dusted, closets cleared, and baseboards cleaned.

As for me, we’ll see at what point I finally give in and where. I have noticed lately when I pull into our garage, that things could use a bit of tidying up. But maybe I’ll just save that for the fall.

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