Spring cleaning. Something about it sounds refreshing. Something about it also sounds exhausting. The idea of going through your entire home, cleaning and reorganizing it from top to bottom can be a long weekend project — maybe even two weekends worth of work. You may not want to commit to it considering the weather is clearing up but with a few more rainy weekends in sight, it might be worth your while. Instead of just costing you a weekend of work, spring cleaning could actually save you money by extending the life of a few household items.
Cash in on Clutter
If you haven’t used something since the last time you cleaned, it might be time to get rid of it. Spring is a great time for yard sales, and you could actually make a little extra cash off of some of the items collecting dust on your shelves. Join with your neighbors to share in the advertising expenses and the work, plus you’ll draw a bigger crowd if you’ve got more stuff — and that means more money! If you prefer to forgo the cash and donate your spare items, there are a multitude of charities ready and willing to accept donations. Not only will you be helping others, but you will also get a tax deduction for your donation.
Here is a list of items you might have lying around the house that could be useful to someone else:
Musical Instruments – Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation takes donated instruments and gives them to underfunded school music programs.
Running Shoes – Recycled Runners.com gives shoes to those less fortunate and if they are too worn out, they are recycled into building materials.
Children’s Books – Project Night Night provides books to homeless children.
Business Clothing – Career Gear distributes business clothing to disadvantaged men who are trying to re-enter the work force.
Sports Equipment – SportsGift.org uses donated equipment to create community-based sports programs for underprivileged kids around the world.
Blankets & Towels – Pets 911 finds animal shelters near you that need items like towels and blankets for animal crates.
Mattress – Most retailers now accept old mattresses because they can be recycled and used for clothing, wood chips, foam products and scrap metal.
Taking a moment to clean appliances such as the refrigerator, dishwasher and vacuum cleaner can actually extend the life of these items — saving you money in unnecessary repair bills in the long run.
Refrigerator – Remove all the shelves and drawers. Place them in the bathtub, spray with a sanitizing solution and scrub with a brush/sponge. With a baking soda and water solution, wipe down the interior of the fridge including the rubber gasket around the door. Rinse and dry everything thoroughly. This simple task will benefit your health by removing any mildew or mold that has accumulated under drawers or in hard to reach areas. Vacuum the dust off the coils to maintain the energy efficiency of the fridge. This will keep more money in your pocket and out of the hands of the electric company.
Dishwasher – Using a small sponge or brush dipped in hot soapy water, scrub the sides, top and bottom of your dishwasher. Remove the bottom rack and take a look at the area around the drain and the corners by the door. It’s likely there are food particles, broken glass and even hairs clogged in the tray that catches debris. Remove debris and any dishes from the dishwasher. Place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack and run a cycle with the hottest water possible. The vinegar will help wash away the loose grime as well as sanitize and remove the musty odor. Sprinkling a cup of baking soda around the bottom of the rack and running it through a cycle will also help remove any stains. Regular cleaning will ensure a bacteria free dishwasher and guarantees fewer issues with the drain and pump.
Vacuum Cleaner – Wipe down the canister inside and out and replace the filter. Remove the hairs and debris stuck in the rollers so it doesn’t wear out your belts and make sure the belts are still in place and not cracked. You should also check the suction tubes for holes and cover them with duct tape. This could keep your vacuum cleaner cleaning for years to come.
Help keep your wallet plump by dusting the cob webs off the outdoor furniture and cleaning the smears off the windows because summer is coming and it’s ready to shine through.
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