March 20th marked the official start of spring.
For many of us, a new season is the perfect time for a fresh start.
Here are a few ways you can kick-start spring and summer with a clean foot.
01. Clear Clutter
If you haven’t used something in more than a year, chances are you might not need it. Take a peek around and do an honest evaluation of what you can get rid of. That one sweater that’s been collecting dust in the back of the closet, will you ever wear it? Not sure of the last time you wore something? Hang clothes with the hook facing you, and when you wear something, put it away with the hanger facing the opposite way. After a year, all of the backwards hooks are clothes you haven’t worn and could get rid of. Magazines that you’ve read several times and know you aren’t going to open again? One person’s “partially used things” is another person’s treasure. So, consider donating the items or having a garage sale. Cleaning the rest of your home will feel (and be) much easier when the clutter is gone.
02. Check the Medicine Cabinet
Spring is a great time to take a closer look at the medications you’ve stored in your cabinets. Pull everything out and separate by medications that have expired or haven’t been used. Also set aside anything that is missing a label or with broken seals and damaged containers. The FDA provides tips on safe and proper disposal, along with information on medicine take-back programs that may be appropriate in your geography.
03. Fridge + Freezer
Take a peek at the expiration dates on items in your refrigerator and freezer. Food kept for too long or at improper temperatures can be contaminated and potentially cause illness.
Here are popular terms used by grocers and what they mean, from Today Health:
· Pack date simply means when the food was packaged and does not indicate freshness or shelf life.
· Sell-by date is the last day a grocery store, or any retailer, can have the food on shelves for sale. If stored properly, some foods are safe to eat for up to several days or months after this date.
· Use-by or best if used by date means a food is safe to eat, with optimal taste, flavor, and freshness until this date when properly stored. It refers only to quality, not safety, and is not an index of spoilage.
· Guaranteed fresh by date usually refers to baked goods, and indicates optimal freshness. The products are still safe and edible beyond the date.
All that said, as recommended by the FDA – when it doubt, throw it out.
04. Check Batteries + Light Bulbs
To reduce safety hazards, replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. As necessary, replace light bulbs and ensure that all rooms, bathrooms and hallways are properly lit to potentially avoid accidents or falls. It may also be a good time to reevaluate placement of throw rugs or any other tripping hazards.
If you’re interested, Martha Stewart published a printable checklist that covers all areas of your home: http://bit.ly/1yoDipX
Once the initial cleaning is complete, it might be a good idea to revisit some of these areas on a monthly basis to keep your home feeling fresh and clutter-free year-round.
Do you have any spring cleaning tips to share?