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While summer 2020 was a nervous time, summer 2021 offers a bit more flexibility and fun. To prepare your home and family for more entertaining and enjoyment, start early and make some space.
Do a Pantry Challenge
Before you grocery shop, pay special attention to what you have in the refrigerator, pantry and especially your freezer. Spending a spring month cleaning out your freezer can actually save on groceries, add some cash to your vacation budget, and leave some room for popsicles and other treats. When the refrigerator and freezer have been mostly emptied, go ahead and clean the shelves and bins thoroughly, then hit the store and get what you need for the hot weather.
Block Out Time for Decluttering
It may be tempting to do your spring cleaning and decluttering at the same time, but avoid this if at all possible. Cleaning is mostly about labor and can be done in short bursts of time, but decluttering is about decisions. Don’t try to declutter when you’re tired or feeling stressed. If you have closets that need serious attention, consider hiring a sitter or sending your children to a friend’s house for the day. Older children can certainly help clean their closets, but a playroom re-do will be a nightmare if everyone is home and helping out.
Update Your Outdoor Space
Carefully check out your outdoor furniture for wear, rust and rot. It may be time to paint, recover, or re-glue the joints of some of these items before you try to eat outdoors or have guests over. Once your furniture is in good shape, check out the lighting. Look for solar lights that you can use to better illuminate paths, or for string solar lights to brighten your patio space. Before mosquito season hits, consider adding plants or a zapper to make it easier to enjoy your patio with fewer pests. Finally, consider getting some outdoor dinnerware. Simple reusable plastic plates and glasses can often be found for very little money and will make eating outside much easier.
In addition to changing your HVAC filter inside the house, now is the time to service your air conditioner in Ottawa or your particular locale. No matter where you live, dust, grit and plant materials can clog up AC vents and make it hard for your AC to control the heat and humidity in your home. Get your AC serviced before you need it and you can enjoy a cool, worry-free summer. It is best to do this before it starts to get too hot in your area so if there is a problem, your home won’t be too hot and uncomfortable for everyone.
Schedule Your Spring Cleaning
Once you’ve gotten to do some decluttering in areas of critical need, you can start to spring clean. You’ll need
- microfiber dusting cloths
- a way to get to your ceiling fans
- basic spray cleaners
- glass cleaner
- cleaning rags
- an old flannel sheet
- a clothes basket
- a trash bag
The first step is to tidy, so work your way around the room with the clothes basket and the trash bag. If you find items that belong in the house but not in that room, they go in the basket. Garbage goes in the bag. Once you’ve been around the room tidying, set the clothes basket outside the room and encourage family members to put away their things. If this is a constant battle, let them know that anything left in the basket after the room is clean will go in the trash bag.
Now clean from the top down, starting with the ceiling fan. Lay down the flannel sheet under the fan while you clean the blades. Flannel fabric has a lot of grab and can keep dust from flying all over the room; you can bundle it up and shake it off outside when you’re done. Work your way around the space clockwise, picking up dust and cleaning, either with the spray or the glass cleaner. Finally, wipe down baseboards and doors with an appropriate product.
Summer is about relaxing. If you can go into the summer season with a tidy home that is free of clutter, you can relax more fully. Make sure that your outdoor area doesn’t need a lot of work before guests arrive. Finally, get your AC serviced before the heat hits.