How To Spring Clean Your Entire House

How To Spring Clean House from HousewifeHowTos.com
Around this time of year, you may find yourself wondering how to spring clean your house when the weather is still so iffy. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here it’s been sunny and 70° F one day, then rainy and 40° F the next. I’ve lived here in Kansas long enough to know that it’s still a bit too early to do any serious Spring Cleaning: something tells me we still have one more cruel blast of winter ahead.

But if the weather’s turned where you live, or if you’re just impatient, here’s a roundup of my Spring Cleaning guides. Most of them have printable checklists, which I recommend slipping into plastic page protectors so you can cross items off with a dry erase marker (or even a Crayon), then wipe them clean to use again next year… or in the autumn, if you’re into that.

Get the right tools

Even if you already have a good set of basic cleaning tools, Spring Cleaning involves more intensive cleaning than the day-to-day stuff. Check out this list of my favorite Spring Cleaning tools — they’ll help you save time and muscle pain!

Printable How To Spring Clean Checklists

Other How To Spring Clean Guides

Don’t forget to check out my recipes for homemade cleaners so you aren’t polluting your home’s air while you’re spring cleaning your home!

30 Frugal Ways To Stay Warm In Winter

Frugal ways how to stay warm for less from HousewifeHowTos.com
If the holiday season sees your bank balance dropping as fast as the outdoor temperatures, you’ll love these frugal ways to stay warm in winter without turning up the heat!

  1. Let the sun shine in. Open the curtains on the sunny side of your house during the day and the radiant heat will help warm your house. Close them before sunset to trap the heat indoors and shut out the nighttime chill. You might consider new heat insulation to keep your home warm in the winter.
  2. Let the heat out. After cooking dinner, prop the oven open to release its heat into the kitchen. Do the same with the clothes dryer and dishwasher, too. (Unless you have small children or terribly curious pets.)
  3. Don’t drain the tub right away. After a hot bath, let the water sit in the tub until it reaches room temperature. Not only will the heat from the water warm your bathroom, it will help increase your home’s humidity — something that makes the air feel warmer AND helps prevent painful winter-dry skin. (Skip this if you have small kids.)
  4. Go old school. Fill up a rubber hot water bottle while you’re doing the dinner dishes and seal it tightly. Slip it between your sheets to preheat your bed, or keep it on your lap and you’ll feel warm all evening.
  5. Snuggle (ideally under blankets) with your spouse, kids, pets, UPS delivery person… well, maybe not the latter, but the former are wonderful to snuggle with, and by sharing body heat you’ll both stay warm.
  6. Reflect heat to the room. If you have radiator heating, cover a large piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and slip it behind the radiator, then fasten it to the wall. This will reflect heat back into the room instead of losing it to the outdoors!
  7. Go for comfort over couture. Sure, those leggings are comfortable but you’ll also be cold in them! Looser-fitting clothing traps more of your own body heat, which helps you stay warmer. Go for multiple layers to stay even warmer (or if, like me, you’re going through the occasional hot flash that has you complaining about how hot it is, even if you’re standing knee-deep in snow).
  8. Wear slippers, or at least socks. If your feet are cold, chances are the rest of your body will feel cold, too. So make sure everyone in the family has a pair of slippers to wear inside the house, and teach them to leave them on until right before they get into bed so they’ll be handy when they wake up in the morning. Don’t like slippers? Try these washable slipper socks instead.
  9. Have plenty of throw blankets around, and use them. When you’re watching TV it’s easy to get cold because you’re not moving around. Don’t turn up the heat; wrap up in a blanket instead. Or go a step further and turn the heat down… then wrap up in a heated throw blanket.
  10. Use rugs on bare floors — they’ll not only keep your feet warmer, they act as insulation, too.
  11. Block those breezes! Seal windows and unused exterior doors with plastic insulation kits. They’re not difficult to put on (you just need a blow dryer) but they create a nice barrier that prevents drafts and heat-loss through window panes.
  12. Windows love layers, too. Use insulated curtains, or add thermal liners to the curtains you already have.
  13. Two words: flannel sheets. Seriously, if you’ve never tried them, ask someone who has. They never feel cold when you get into bed, they retain your body heat all night long, and after a couple of washes they’re so soft it feels like you’re sleeping in a (warm, cozy) cloud.
  14. Add extra blankets to your bed, and consider an electric one! It costs around a penny to run an electric blanket all night. It costs a LOT of pennies to run a heater for even one hour. That’s why I’ve programmed our thermostat to 55° F at night when we’re all tucked into our beds with our electric blankets (and flannel sheets). It’s not as tough as it sounds: I’ve also programmed the thermostat to warm the house before anyone’s alarm goes off in the morning, so we really never notice if it feels cold at night.
  15. Listen to your mother: wear a hat. It may seem silly to wear a hat indoors, but if you’re faced with the choice of putting food on the table or heating the house, wearing a hat suddenly makes a lot of cents… er, sense.
  16. Simmer on the stove. There’s a reason we associate soups and stews with chilly weather: these long-simmering meals heat up the kitchen as well as our bellies, so bust out those kitchen scraps and get the soup on.
  17. Drink up… or not. Hot tea or coffee (in moderation), hot cider and broth are all delicious ways to feel warm. But skip the alcohol: you’ll feel warm at first as blood rushes to the surface of your skin (which is why your cheeks look so rosy after a few sips), but then the alcohol prevents your blood vessels from constricting, so you quickly begin losing body heat.
  18. Carb lovers, rejoice! Winter gives you a reason to nosh on your favorite noms. Since our bodies convert carbs to energy more rapidly than we convert protein, a regular dose of carbs can help you keep warm. Just do your body a favor and choose unrefined, complex carbs or you’ll get that whole blood sugar crash that often leaves a person feeling cold and shaky… and sends them back to eat more bad carbs in the hope of warming up again.
  19. Lock it up. Don’t just close windows and doors; lock them. Doing so ensures they’re fully closed and will reduce drafts.
  20. Close it already! Keep closets, cupboards and unused rooms closed so you aren’t paying to heat them.
  21. Don’t heat the outdoors. Leave your garage closed to block heat-stealing drafts from reaching the inner walls of your home.
  22. Use storm windows or -doors if you have them. They add another layer of insulation and can prevent heat-loss.
  23. Find and seal leaks. Use a lit candle or incense to detect drafts around windows and doors, then caulk them or add draft-stoppers at the base of your doors.
  24. No fire burning? Keep your fireplace flue closed when not in use and you’ll shut out drafts that bring cold air down the chimney.
  25. Don’t just sit there: clean something. Not feeling energetic enough to do major cleaning? Then do a few one minute chores throughout the day. You’ll get your blood pumping PLUS your home will look nicer.
  26. Rearrange furniture so your sofas, chairs and dining table aren’t near the walls. This not only ensures your furniture isn’t blocking heating vents, but it also gets you away from the chilly walls and windows. (Got a fireplace? This is the time of year to make it the focal point in your room!)
  27. Move your bookshelves to exterior walls. Books make excellent insulation, keeping the warm air in and the cold air out. Take the opportunity to give your books a good cleaning while you’re at it.
  28. Reverse ceiling fans so they’re spinning clockwise. Since heat rises, reversing your fan will pull the warm air from the ceiling and send it down to where you want it.
  29. Remove and store window air conditioner units. You won’t need them in winter, and leaving them in place means more gaps in your windows for cold wind to blow through.
  30. Use a small space heater, wisely. A small heater can warm the room you’re in so you don’t have to heat the whole house. Take it with you if you change rooms, but NEVER leave it running unattended.

Do you have frugal tips to stay warm in winter without turning up the heat? Share in the comments, or join the discussion on Facebook!


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Fall Cleaning Schedule (Printable)

Fall Cleaning Schedule from HousewifeHowTos.com Now that school is back in session, it’s time to come up with a Fall Cleaning Schedule so you can start the school year off with a clean, organized home. But let’s face it: there’s still plenty of great summer weather going on, and nobody wants to miss out on that! This Printable routine (see the bottom of the entry) breaks down the Fall Cleaning Schedule so you only need spend an hour or so per day to get it all done.

Whether your work is raising kids or you work outside the home, we can all agree there are things more fun than cleaning the house. This Fall Cleaning Schedule was designed to incorporate both deep-cleaning and regular weekly cleaning routines so the whole house gets done by spending six days per week for a month. (I don’t clean on Sundays. Period.)

How To Use The Fall Cleaning Schedule

You’ll notice I didn’t put dates on the individual bubbles — that’s so you can tailor it to work with your family. Follow the bubbles in order Monday through Saturday if you like, or start your cleaning week on Sunday if that’s your thing. The important thing to note is that if you’re deep-cleaning a room early in the week, there’s no reason to do a weekly cleaning on it that week, too. The schedule, as written, reflects this. Just cross off each bubble as you go and you’re good.

Here’s how it works with my family: my son cleans his own room (both deep- and weekly), so I’ve scheduled bedroom cleanings for Saturdays when we’re all home. Both he and my husband clean the family room, which is essentially a “Man Cave” since I very rarely go in there. They like to do that on Sundays while watching sports. The daily cleaning routine and other tasks are mine, though, and I have other work to do as well. Mondays are my “easy” day with my other commitments, so that’s when I do my deep-cleaning.

What To Clean

Although I’m using my Spring Cleaning Routines as a guideline for this, I’ll be skipping a few steps. I won’t be washing the outside of the windows, for instance, since we do that later in the fall when the weather gets cold and the screens come down. I’m putting off carpet shampooing until then, too. Everything else gets done according to my Printable Spring Cleaning routines:

Don’t forget: you can find the Daily and Weekly Cleaning Routines and many others on my Printable Cleaning Routines page. I’ll be starting my 30 days next Monday (Aug. 19) if you want to join me!

Printable Fall Cleaning Schedule

Fall Cleaning Schedule from HousewifeHowTos.com
Click for the Printable Fall Cleaning Schedule!

Equipment I Use To Do This:
   

How To Store Winter Clothing

How To Store Winter Clothing from HousewifeHowTos.com When the weather finally starts warming up, it’s tempting to simply toss bulky sweaters into bins in favor of lighter-weight clothes, but taking time to think about how to store winter clothing can save you frustration next year when the temperatures plunge. Personally, I make winter clothing storage part of my closet Spring Cleaning routine by sorting winter clothes into their own pile, but it’s just as easily done as a separate task. What’s most important: taking the time to do it properly, which is probably easier than you think.

1. Decide on a few transitional pieces to keep out of storage. Unless you’re waiting until the middle of summer to put your winter clothing away, it’s risky to stash all of your warmer clothing. I’ve learned this the hard way, living in Kansas where it’s not unheard of for the temperatures to reach 80+ during the day, only to plunge back into the low 30’s when the sun sets. After shivering through one particularly wild Spring followed by a strange summer where we had more than a few chilly nights, too, I now keep a lightweight pullover sweater and a heavier cardigan in my closet year-round.

2. Clean everything, even if you don’t think it’s dirty. Left untreated, stains you can’t see now will set in your clothes while they’re in storage, and it’s a sure bet you’ll see them when you pull them out next winter. Cleaning deprives cloth-eating insects (moths, silverfish, etc.) of a reason to burrow into your duds. Take natural fiber clothing to the dry-cleaners, and wash everything else in the hottest setting allowed according to the manufacturer’s label. Skip the starch and fabric softener, too, since the tallow and emulsifiers in fabric softeners attract bugs.

3. Repair damaged items before storage. Many dry-cleaners will be happy to repair zippers and sew buttons back on, so be sure to point out any items that need extra care. Perform minor repairs yourself, or find a local tailor who can fix them at a reasonable cost.

4. Choose the appropriate storage method. Never store clothing in the plastic bags from the dry-cleaner, which don’t allow fabrics to breathe and promote humid environments that contribute to mildew. Bulky coats and jackets should be hung on sturdy clothes hangers, preferably wood but certainly not wire. Sweaters, shirts, pants and delicates should be folded carefully and can be stashed in plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids that will help deter pests. Add a lavender or cedar sachet to keep items smelling fresh; their scent will deter bugs as well. If you live in a humid area, consider adding anti-dessicant packets (the kind you find in shoeboxes at the store) to absorb moisture, too.

5. Pick the right place to store everything. Try to avoid storing clothes in the attic, garage or basement. These places tend to be more humid, and less temperature-controlled, than other areas in the home. As a result, they’re havens for the very cloth-gnawing bugs we’re trying to avoid. Under the bed, in the back of the closet, even behind the sofa are all better locations.

Giving how to store winter clothing a little effort now is a great way to say goodbye to the cold, dreary days of winter. Not only will you make more room in your closet so you can find your favorite Spring and Summer outfits, you’ll also be paying yourself forward by ensuring your favorite cold-weather clothes are in great shape when winter rolls around again.

I use this equipment: