Completing a spring cleaning checklist gets your house in order before the rush of warm-weather activities. All homes have a short list of must-complete projects that can make your home a little more comfortable, but sometimes important tasks don’t make the list. These five projects are forgotten more often than not, but you’d be leaving money on the table if you left them out.
1. Clean Behind Your Appliances
The dark spaces behind your refrigerator, freezer, washer, and dryer can get neglected for years, but they’re just as important as any other nook in your home. All large appliances provide a safe haven for dust, pests, and hidden leaks, and you can’t be sure your kitchen or washroom is truly clean until you pull out your appliances for a look.
Always pull your appliances straight back instead of rocking them side to side to prevent damaging your floors. Once you have the unit pulled away from the wall, check for any indication of water damage or leaks from the condenser or water lines. Be careful not to roll over the power cord or the water lines when you move an appliance back into place.
2. Clean Your Windows and Windowsills
When was the last time you cleaned your windowsills? Window tracks and sills might collect grime for a few decades before anyone thinks to clean them out. Depending on the age of your house, any number of bug exoskeletons and cobwebs could be hiding in these spaces.
Make your life easier and start with your vacuum cleaner. Once you’ve sucked up most of the grime, spray a thin mist of white vinegar on the sill to loosen the caked-in grime. Give it a good scrub with a damp cloth and your window should look a lot cleaner.
Also, use this time to check for air leaks around your window. Any cracks or spaces can affect the heating and cooling in your house—and hurt your wallet. If you find any problems, you can make both short- and long-term fixes as needed, like new weather stripping or caulking.
3. Audit Your Utility Bills
Your monthly bills might also need a little home improvement this spring. A careful audit of your bills can tell you a lot about your home; many people throw money away every month paying for things they don’t need.
Check your utility bills and look for any unusual spikes in electricity or heating costs compared to the past few years. A spike in your energy bill might indicate a clogged air filter, a broken thermostat, or a leak in your refrigerator’s door gasket. Next, see if your internet speed matches your plan, and talk to your provider if necessary. Finally, take a look at your cable TV or streaming plans, and spend a little time shopping around to see if a different service plan can save you money.
4. Fix Your Deck’s Weak Spots
Nothing spoils a garden party like a guest tripping on a loose section of your deck. Before you start grilling, check your deck for weak spots. First, check your ledger (the board that connects your deck to your house), and make sure you’re up to code with the correct number of 1/2 in. x 3 in. lag screws with washers.
Next, check for rotting deck posts. You may need to jack up your deck to replace the posts and anchors. Check for any rotting wood in the floorboard or railings, and replace anything that looks soft. Finally, give your deck a fresh coat of paint or varnish to keep rot at bay. A good coat of primer and paint can keep your deck looking new for years.
5. Change Out Your Showerhead
A new showerhead is one of the simplest ways to spruce up a bathroom. Showerheads build up thick mineral deposits over time, depending on the quality of your tap water, and a dated fixture can put a big strain on your water bill. Most people would never think to replace a showerhead, but it can make a world of difference.
Replacement is simple: use an adjustable wrench to remove the old showerhead, wrap the pipe threads with Teflon tape, and carefully hand-tighten the new showerhead. Choose a low-flow showerhead to save money on your water bill. A showerhead with a built-in filter is a great choice if your tap water is chlorinated since it’ll prevent orange stains from building up in your shower or tub over time, which saves you some cleaning.
Spring Project Roundup
All these projects can be tackled in a weekend, and most of them will pay for themselves over time in energy, water savings, and avoided maintenance. Don’t let your spring cleaning energy go to waste—tackle these neglected projects now, and you’ll thank yourself for months (or years) to come.