Spring cleaning – there’s something about the phrase that either delights or repulses. Some people loathe the chore of “de-gunking” whatever it is the winter months have done to their home, while others relish the opportunity to create a squeaky clean space (think Danny Tanner or Monica Gellar). I fall into the latter category, which I know is a true minority.
Despite the well-known affair that is spring cleaning, many people forget the equally important steps of preparing your home, car, and family for the winter. By spending some time getting everything ready for the change of season, you can spare yourself a headache when spring comes around, and possibly some money in repairs.
- Examine and update the exterior of your home
This includes gutters, doors, windows, the roof, chimneys, decks, and anything else that could take a beating from heavy rains and wind. Gutters should be clean of leaves after the fall season to ensure the water flows away from your home without creating unnecessary damage. Doors and windows should be inspected for gaps and other weak points (like decay) in your home’s insulation, which can rack up additional energy bills or even result in interior damage. The chimney and decks should also be maintained, along with any other outdoor structures that are exposed to the elements.
- Inspect the interior of your home
It’s likely been a year since you used your heating system, so it’s definitely a great idea to give that a test run before you actually need it. If you have the ability, a programmable thermostat is a smart way to regulate your energy uses to avoid wasting energy and money. On a similar note, make sure your refrigerator is set to optimal temperatures and the rubber door gasket has a tight seal.
- Don’t forget your car
For most people, a car is an extremely necessary tool in their lives to get to work, take care of kids, etc. When vehicle troubles keep you from driving, it’s a quick road to undue hardship. To avoid the hassle, make sure you take care of a few things. First, check the battery – the cold weather can put a significant strain on it, so a battery test is a great idea to make sure it won’t need replacing when you least expect it. Additionally, change your wiper blades and refill the fluid – these are two important safety features during the rainy season that should not be overlooked. Finally, check your anti-freeze mixture for cold mornings, change the oil, and restock your emergency supplies (such as water and blankets).
- Prep additional belongings
If you have any seasonal tools outdoors, now is a great time to bring them in and give them a light coating of oil to prevent rust. Also, be sure to give your lawn mower a break and clean off all the debris from the previous season. You’ll know your own needs best, so take a walk around your property and identify any potential areas where the rain or cold could cause trouble.
They call winter the most wonderful time of the year – some people thrive during the colder season, while others simply look forward to the warmer months. No matter your feelings on the wet and cold, make sure your home, vehicle, and family are set to enjoy the little pleasures like hot cocoa by the fire, instead of worrying about preventable damage that could cost you in the long run.