Around 1:15 this morning, those of us in the northern hemisphere officially started spring. The local weathermen explained to me as I sipped my coffee that because this is a leap year, spring showed up on the calendar a day early. As we did yard work and waved to our neighbors over the weekend, it was obvious — at least in our part of the country — that winter had ended.
If spring sprung up on you and took you by surprise, the following 10 tasks are what I consider to be the most valuable spring cleaning activities. These are the Firsts, the things to get to before the other activities:
- Check fire extinguishers, furnace filters, and batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (if you didn’t do these tasks when you moved your clocks ahead an hour). Remember, safety first.
- Purge all expired food from your refrigerator and pantry. If you’re unsure of an item’s freshness, check StillTasty.com and/or the product’s website (especially good for condiments that take up near-permanent residence in the door of your refrigerator).
- Clean gunk out of your gutters if you have gutters.
- Rake the last batch of dead leaves out of your yard and pick up sticks and debris that fell during the last few months of winter.
- Inspect any lawn maintenance chemicals you had stored for the winter, such as pesticides or fertilizers. Make sure none of these items are leaking or expired.
- Have your law mower serviced so it’s ready and working when your yard is ready to mow.
- Dust. I like to carry a hand vacuum with me as I go to suck the grime off the cloth.
- Move furniture (including your bed and bookshelves) and vacuum or sweep every inch of your floors.
- If you have pets, bring out the Furminator and start the regular task of brushing to get rid of that heavy winter coat.
- Sort through your clothing and coat closets and donate to charity all items you never plan to wear again. Clean heavy sweaters you intend to keep and take steps to properly store them to prevent pest invasions over the summer. Clean and put away heavy winter boots and shoes. Finally, bring out any stored warmer weather clothes and get your wardrobe ready for the next six months.
What must-do items are on your spring cleaning list? If I don’t do the items listed above, I feel like I’m not ready for spring. How about you?
More spring cleaning tips and advice from our archives: