Prepare for Six More Weeks of Winter

Groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his Pennsylvania burrow last week and saw his shadow, indicating — however unscientifically — that there will be six more weeks of winter. So far, the weather has been relatively mild in the areas of the country that get snow, but if the groundhog is correct, homeowners can look forward to more sloppy, slushy weather.

As noted in previous Quick Tips, snow and salt mean more dirt inside the home. People track through with wet, snowy shoes and boots, releasing a muddy mess onto the floors. Whether you have wood, tile or carpeted floors, a little meltwater can make them look dingy fast; if left unchecked, those stains can ruin them.

To protect your floors, first clean them completely, then place a tray or throw rug at each entrance to your home. Direct your friends and family members (politely but unflinchingly), to leave their snow-caked shoes and boots in that designated area, and your home will stay cleaner throughout the season.

Dust buildup is another problem in a closed-up, heated home. Wipe down ceiling fans, picture frames, electronics and other flat surfaces, and vacuum thoroughly. You’ll probably be spending much of the next six weeks indoors, and you don’t want to spend it sneezing.

When those tasks are done, you can take advantage of your indoor downtime by starting on a few of Style Guide’s 12 Winter Cleaning Ideas. First up? Going through your clothes and deciding what to keep. “If you haven’t worn it in two years and/or it makes you feel guilty, it’s a giveaway,” the story says. Bag those items up and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup.

Other areas that could use some “cleaning” before spring include your budget, the site suggests. Tax time is coming up, and there’s no better time to plan out expenditures for the year ahead. Speaking of taxes, now is the time to gather up all of your receipts from last year so that you or your accountant can crunch the numbers. (Remember, that clothing donation is deductible!)

At the same time, organize paperwork and digital files so that you can continue to find the information you need when you need it. If you decide you don’t need some of those papers, so much the better: Toss them in the recycling bin.

If the weather is still miserable when you’re done with these tasks, you can get a head start on your spring cleaning by attacking some of the more detailed household chores such as cleaning windows, grout and upholstery. By the time you emerge from your burrow next month, you’ll be able to enjoy the warmer weather with a clean, organized home!

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