The History of Spring Cleaning
In many areas of the world, spring is the first opportunity to turn off the heat and open the doors and windows to let some fresh air in after a long winter. In the cold, people tend to keep their homes tightly sealed to retain the heat. Heat sources can create tremendous stuffiness inside the house, so when spring comes – people act like Cinderella –blowing open the doors with a big smile as they let the sun and fresh air invade their space. The term “spring cleaning” can be traced back to the Jewish tradition of performing a thorough cleaning of their homes just before Passover. From Winter to devotion.
It’s A Gas!
Floridians don’t typically have severe cold weather problems – that is why people choose to live here. But Floridians do have another invisible culprit to deal with, Radon. Radon gasses are produced naturally by the breakdown of radium in soils and can enter a structure through small cracks. As the second leading cause of lung cancer, Radon is not something to ignore. There are ways to test for Radon presence in a home. However, an excellent natural, preventative measure is to let the home “air out.” Keeping a house closed in the Winter to retain heat or in the summer to retain cool air gives Radon gasses a chance to engulf a home. What makes this natural gas so dangerous? You cannot smell it, taste it or see it.
Oh, The Yard Looks Tired!
In Florida, the falling leaves stretch all the way to spring. By the time spring arrives, Florida yards can look a bit bleak. Just like us, your yard is longing for a bit of sunshine. It’s a time to rake up the leaves, trim the trees and shrubs and put down some fresh mulch! According to the University of Florida’s Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, homeowners should:
- Check the lawnmower: spark plugs, air filter, and Oil. Do the blades need sharpening? Can you raise the mower deck quickly, or does it need lubricating?
- Check your irrigation system: Do a calibration test to see if any heads are broken or turned the wrong way.
- Do a soil test before fertilizing: Proper fertilizing is a science. A Soil Test will help determine what level of phosphorous and nitrogen your yard needs.
- Scout for weeds and evaluate the yard: The University of Florida’s Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology provides a handy downloadable Weed Management Guide for Florida Lawns.
You Cleaned the Yard. What should you do with the waste?
Check with your county or city’s Solid Waste Department for collection programs for yard waste. The Solid Waste Enhanced Environmental Program (S.W.E.E.P) collects nearly 3000 tons of debris each year in Tampa. Hillsborough County offers curbside pickup for yard and wood waste (must be two cubic yards or less). In Pasco County, residents can visit the East or West Pasco facilities where yard waste is disposed of at a rate of $59.30 per ton ($2.97 per pound for 100 pounds).
Inside & Outside Your Castle Walls
Most maintain a clean home all year round, but spring is a good time to address the areas that don’t get as much attention. Here are a few handy spring-cleaning reminders:
- Wash baseboards.
- Clean the walls and doors (nasty little smudges at the doorknob area).
- Wash the windows (inside and out).
- Clean sliding door tracks.
- Power wash the home exterior, drive, and walkways.
- Seal stucco cracks.
- Clean light fixtures and fans (how did 6-inches of dust get up there?).
- Clean blinds, drapes, and inside window sills (dead bugs – nasty).
- Wash the AC vent covers (please).
- Have Pets? Clean the fridge air intake (trust me).
- Clean your couch – especially under the cushions (you will find some interesting things!).
- Wash cabinet fronts (again, those hand smudges).
- Clean out your pantry of old spices, old flour, sugar, and other antiquities. (Don’t forget inside your fridge – How long has that been there?).
- Clean behind your washer, dryer, and fridge (can be scary but, you GOT THIS!).
That Sense of Accomplishment, It Shall be Yours!
Once you have completed all this hard work, you will certainly feel a sense of accomplishment. You may even sneeze a bit less! And your home will thank you.