The start of a new year is a great time to take stock of your personal health and well-being, and also a great time to get your house and home in order for the months to come. An organized home is a happy home, and a happy home is a breath of fresh air.
Un-Deck The Halls
The holidays are over now, and although you may still be in the giving spirit, it’s time to take down those festive and creative decorations – yes, even those you spent hours and days DIYing just right.
Take down and store all of those precious baubles and ornaments, making sure to examine them for any damages. Double check the lights are working and replace any burned out bulbs before carefully wrapping them and storing them for next season.
Light Storage Tips: The best way to store your lights and ensure they’re ready for next season is to wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
Get In The Cracks
Floors, back splashes, walls – tile means grout and grout can get pretty grody over time. The winter months are a great time to get down on your hands and knees and apply a little elbow grease to get it sparkling and like new again in no time.
Use natural cleansers with unglazed tile. Try a homemade solution of baking soda and water – make a thick paste and apply with a toothbrush, working in small areas to keep the baking soda from dissolving and losing its abrasiveness. Rinse clean with clear water when done. For stubborn stains, start with a diluted bleach solution before employing a chemical stripper.
Once grout is clean and dry, apply a grout sealer, epoxy or acrylic to help keep grout from absorbing any more dirt and stains.
Get Your Files In Order
Since you’ll be spending so much time indoors, now is a great time to sort through that stack of home improvement paperwork and tax information you’ve been meaning to get to. Review your product warranties, check manuals and keep up-to-date on your maintenance schedules for major appliances like the furnace, air conditioner, dishwasher, et al.
Clear The Closets
The most organized home owners know, “out with the old, in with the new.” The giving season finds your home full of fun new toys and gadgets, which means there will be a host of other trinkets and tid-bits taking up space in your closets and garages and basements. Spend a few weekends clearing out and donating the things you no longer need or use to make room for all the new.
Clean The Fridge
This is such a boring task, but well worth the time and effort. A homemade solution of ammonia (1 cup), white vinegar (1/2 cup) and baking soda (1/4 cup) in a gallon of hot water makes an excellent and safe mildew remover and degreaser. Wipe down the interior and rinse clean if necessary. Remove the grill to get dust bunnies, dirt and anything else that’s made its way under the fridge, and check and drain the pan underneath if its full.
Smart Fridge Tip: If you don’t keep your fridge full, fill a large bottle, at least a gallon, with water and leave it in the fridge to help keep it cool and running efficiently.