Before going to bed on Saturday night, March 10, we’re supposed to turn our clocks ahead one hour to begin Daylight Savings Time. Besides turning the clocks ahead this is an ideal time of year to complete other simple maintenance tasks and routine household inspections.
Change smoke-alarm batteries. How many house fires happen each year because someone lapsed on their responsibility to change the smoke alarm batteries? Even one is too many, especially if it is in your home. Buy fresh batteries and go systematically through the house to change all the batteries so your smoke alarms are fresh and ready for action. That’s one less thing to worry about for the next several months!
Check Food Expiration Dates. This is a great time to check expiration dates on food and throw out anything past the “Best By” date. Check packages, jars, boxes, cans and bottles in your cupboards as well as the refrigerator. Don’t forget herbs, spices, and even vitamins, over the counter medicines, salves, ointments, and prescriptions. Make sure to dispose of these safely and out of the reach of children and pets.
Clean the Oven and Fridge. Since you are already disposing of expired food it makes sense to clean the fridge while you’re at it. Add it to your yearly “fall back” to-do list as well. While you are working on the fridge, you may as well set the oven on self-clean and get that done too.
Touch-Up Scuffs and Scrapes
Outlets and switch plates, doorknobs, baseboards, bathroom and kitchen cabinets and walls accumulate drips and splashes and scrapes and scuff marks that make your home look tired and neglected. Look at these areas with a fresh eye and wipe them down with a gentle cleanser. A dab of paint to cover a scratch or chip on the wall will revive the room instantly with minimal effort. A little prevention is key, and time invested twice a year will keep these unsightly blemishes from getting out of control.
Winnow your Wardrobe
As you transition out of your cold weather wardrobe, take stock of what you actually use and retire or donate those garments just taking up space. If you have not worn something in two years, it is probably time to let it go; chances are you won’t be wearing it again. This eases the space in your closet so you can see what you actually have and make good use of those garments. Charitable organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army can put gently used, good clothes back to work for someone else.
While you are in your closet anyway, clear out all the empty hangers that have accumulated since last fall. This may take a little doing if they are all tangled up together but the effort will be well worth it for a couple reasons. It will free up useful space for your clothes and cut down on all that visible and annoying clutter. Moreover, most dry cleaners recycle good, used hangers. You can get more of them in your car at a time if you group them according to the different types and stack them neatly in boxes. Then just drop them off with your next dry cleaning order. Keep a few extras in the closet for the things you are wearing now, and they do come in handy for the kids’ crafty mobile projects. Add this one to your “Fall Back To-Do” List as well. We all know firsthand how hangers multiply like rabbits.
Have the Furnace Checked. Chances are your local heating and air/conditioning companies are offering some great deals on furnace tune-ups and it makes sense because this is the perfect time of year to have a specialist check your air conditioning unit to make sure it is in good working order and won’t leave you sweltering in the heat of summer waiting for someone to come out on the Fourth of July. Prevention is the best approach when it comes to air conditioners and the best time is right now before you really need it.
Tune the Piano. Pianos are delicate instruments that require some extra attention and regular maintenance. Tuning the piano once a year is a must for anyone who uses their piano for more than a place to display family photos. Get on the yearly list of your piano tuner so he or she will automatically call you and set up an appointment to tune your piano now in time for spring recitals.
Check the Generator. In these days of frequent power outages, many of us have stand-alone generators. Make sure it is adequately oiled, fueled, and ready for service. The best generator in the world is of no use if it doesn’t kick into action when you need it. And guaranteed it will break down on the hottest day of the year when everyone has their air conditioning cranked down to arctic if it isn’t in shipshape condition.
While many of these cannot be done exactly on the weekend of March 11, the idea is to plan these regular house maintenance check-ups within a couple weeks of the mark. This way they will get done consistently around the same time each year and when it comes to house maintenance, consistency is the key to worry-free performance of everything in your home.