People love to talk about spring cleaning, but there are tons of unsung cleaning and maintenance chores that are perfect for winter. During the springtime, the weather gets warmer and it’s more alluring to take care of outdoor tasks. This winter, take the opportunity to stay indoors, where the fire is roaring and the cookies are baking, and get some household chores done. You’ll make spring cleaning less of a hassle by taking care of some of these pesky tasks this winter.
1. Check your hot water heater.
Dealing with anything close to heat in the hotter months seems like a miserable idea. Instead, service your hot water heater in the colder months when you’ll want to snuggle right up against it. While you’re curled up there, inspect your tank for leaks or rust—if sighted, it might be time for a replacement.
You want to make sure that the pilot light is lit and that the water heater is set to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most factory settings will suggest 140 or 150 degrees, but these higher temperatures have the ability to spike your heating bill, especially when you’re battling colder weather. Just be aware: If you have small children, the higher temperature settings could leave them at risk of third-degree burns as a result of scalding water coming straight from the tap.
2. Clean your closets.
Leave the outdoor shed for the springtime, and deal with closets and indoor storage areas where it is nice and warm. Declutter your home by creating donation piles of items that you no longer use or have outgrown. Stick by the rule of “if you haven’t used it or worn it in a year, then toss it in the donation pile so it can help serve others.” You might find some arts and crafts supplies, old family photographs or unopened items that could be rehomed as holiday gifts that year. While you have everything pulled out, make sure to dust and clean all surfaces before putting everything (well, hopefully not everything) back where it was.
3. Seal your windows and doors.
You likely won’t notice a draft in your windows, walls, or doors until the weather gets cold. Spend an afternoon checking the nooks and crannies around the house that may be letting heat out and cold in. Weather sealing these areas can help to reduce the amount of money that you pay to heat your home. Places that are commonly overlooked include wood burning stoves and the attic, so be sure to include those in your resealing party. You can hire someone to come and do an energy audit on your home which can be very helpful in assessing heat loss, especially if you’ve never had one done before. If the drafts are considerably bad, it may be time to update your windows or doors.
4. Tend to your laundry room.
The laundry room is an easy place to overlook in your routine household chores. You likely only spend a few minutes in there to start or remove a load of clothes—but dirt, grime, and soap scum can build up on the interior of your washing machine. Set yourself up for success this winter by cleaning out your dryer hose and running a wash cycle on your washer. Purchase a cleaner that’s specific to the brand of your washer and run it through a wash cycle to make sure you’re getting the cleanest clothes possible. The hose on your dryer can still be full of lint that somehow bypasses the lint trap. This can make for a very dangerous fire hazard. Simply remove the hose, vacuum out the excess lint, and replace it.
5. Restock emergency supplies.
If you have an emergency supply kit, the winter is a great time to update it. If you don’t have one, get one started on your next trip to the grocery store. A simple kit should contain the following:
- Batteries (multiple types and backups)
- Space blanket
- First aid kit
- Drinking water
You never know when a big winter storm will come through, and you may find yourself snowed in or without power. Making sure that you have a few items on hand until the storm passes will give you some peace of mind. Throw out any expired items and check the batteries in the flashlight before you tuck it away again.
If you find yourself needing an extra hand while doing winter home maintenance, enlist the help of others. Try to make it fun by offering them a reward of hot chocolate afterwards! Whichever way you choose, getting ahead of your household chores this winter will allow you to enjoy spring (and spring cleaning) that much more.
AUTHOR BIO: FRANKIE WALLACE
Frankie Wallace contributes to a wide variety of blogs and writes about many different topics, including politics and environmental protection. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate of the University of Montana.