How to Save on Spring Cleaning, Organization and Home Maintenance
Spring has sprung and this is the time of year where most people feel the urge to clean and organize. Longer daytime hours bring with them more energy for housework and home maintenance routines. Here is our spring savings guide to help you get the most for your time/money.
Now that the winter months have passed and taken the expensive holidays with them, many find they have a bit more financial breathing room. Now is an ideal time to invest in your home and wellbeing by attending to maintenance tasks that will save you money and potential headaches during the coming summer months.
Spring, of course, is the season of the yard sale. If you haven’t read our guide on how to organize and hold a great sale, be sure to check it out. As you do your spring cleaning, start pulling items you no longer need to sell or donate. Eliminating clutter not only saves you money, it reduces stress and makes your living space more functional and comfortable throughout the year.
Cleaning For Less
Most commercial products are loaded with harsh chemicals and toxins. Several of the most popular household cleaners are proven to contain hormone disruptors and carcinogens. Save your health and your wallet by using these homemade options instead.
Vinegar and baking soda are cheap and do a great job for general everyday cleaning tasks. Use baking soda to clean and deodorize drains. Pour 1/2 cup into your drain, follow with a cup of white vinegar and boiling water to release buildup and deodorize.
Baking soda and vinegar can also be used to clean sinks and tubs and to lightly scour countertops and other stain prone areas. Vinegar and water alone also make excellent glass cleaner.
Spray air fresheners are some of the worst offenders when it comes to chemical toxicity in the home. Instead, replace these pricey products with alcohol, water and essential oil. Fill a spray bottle with water, 1/4 cup of alcohol (rubbing or vodka) and several drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake well and spray wherever freshness is needed.
You can also invest in an oil burner and add essential oils to provide a long-lasting pleasing scent and replace those potentially hazardous plug-in products.
Invest in a bottle of grapefruit seed extract drops (GSE). You can find them online and in many health stores. A small bottle lasts for ages and it can be used to disinfect surfaces in the kitchen without worrying about contaminating food.
Add 20 drops to a small spray bottle of water, shake well and spray all hard surfaces. Allow it to sit for several minutes and wipe it away. GSE is a safe, natural disinfectant that can also be used to clean cutting boards and many other items.
- Invest in a steam mop to quickly disinfect and clean all your floors and eliminate the expense of mops and floor cleaners.
- Use old, worn out clothing and towels for cleaning rags instead of paper towels.
- Toss a tennis ball with some essential oil into the dryer to fluff and freshen clothing instead of dryer sheets.
Did you know?
April is a great time to find a good deal on a new vacuum cleaner. The newer models will debut in a couple of months, so last years models tend to be marked down. The same applies for carpet cleaners.
Also, no one wants to think about winter anymore, but if you are needing new coats for next year, this is the ideal time to find them at a great price. If you’re handy and like to knit or crochet your own hats and gloves, this is also a great time to purchase the heavier weight yarns on sale.
Organize, Downsize & Declutter
Spring is an excellent time to not only downsize and declutter, but organize. When we reorganized our pantry a few years ago, I found plastic bins with lids on sale at our local discount store. Once the holidays are over, many discount chains mark storage bins down considerably.
We store our foods in these and label them. This maintains freshness, keeps potential pests like pantry moths at bay and is a great way to quickly see what you have on hand if you opt for clear bins.
If you live in a humid area it also helps reduce moisture if you keep a sachet of rice in the bottom of each bin. No one wants moldy or mildew tainted breads, pasta and cereal and this is a great way to prevent it and stretch your food dollars further.
Bins with tight lids and “space bags” are also great for storing winter clothing and linens to keep them fresh and free from pests.
Plastic bins too boring? Fortunately, there are many ways to create fun storage and better organize your space. The more creative you are the more you can save. Many businesses give away wood pallets or sell them for very little. These can be repurposed to create custom crates, boxes and shelves that are stylish and fun for closets, kids rooms and even living areas. “Pretty up” your storage without breaking the bank.
Another question to ask yourself as you make your way through your home is how much is too much? The meteoric rise in popularity of shows like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo are a testament to the fact that we live better with less. Everywhere you look, you’ll find books, blogs and more dedicated to the art of organization and simplifying.
If you feel overwhelmed at first, start with one room or even a closet. If you have something you haven’t used for six months, it’s time to let it go. Many of us who are frugal tend to live with a mistaken mindset that we “might need that” someday. This leads to hoarding unnecessary items and make it more difficult to find the things we actually do use.
In short, make the most of your space, have only what you need or truly love, know what you have and where it is located. These simple things will save you time and money.
Spring Home Maintenance Tasks
Spring definitely has a “cleaning” theme and for good reason. Many Spring home maintenance tasks also involve cleaning tasks that prevent costly damage while increasing the efficiency and lifespan of your household fixtures and appliances. Here are some home maintenance tasks to be sure to attend to as you do your cleaning.
- Clean the coils at the back of your refrigerator
- Clean dryer vents that lead outside
- Change HVAC filters
- Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Clear the gutters and check downspouts
- Clean the oven
- Clean and seal decks, driveways and other outdoor surfaces
- Clean and repair screens to enjoy fresh air over air conditioning when possible
- Drain your water heater to clear sediment build up
Automobile Spring Maintenance
While your at it, don’t forget to give your car a Spring overhaul as well. Regular routine maintenance improves gas mileage and extends the life of your vehicle. Here are some spring tasks to keep your car in great shape.
- If your vehicle is running a little rough or is hard to start you want to address that now before the hot days of summer kick in.
- Flush your coolant system.
- Inspect all your filters and replace them if necessary.
- Replace wiper blades if they are worn.
- Vacuum and wipe down all interior surfaces of your car and shampoo the upholstery if necessary while you can leave windows open to let it dry/air out fully.
- Check your spare tire to ensure it’s in good condition.
- Check belts, clamps and hoses to ensure they are in good condition and properly tightened.
Use these tips to get your house in order now so that you can enjoy a more carefree summer.