Keep Snow, Ice and Mud Outside

It’s the season of snow, ice and mud in most of the country, and that means it’s more difficult to keep the home #clean. To keep the outside out, use two doormats with every exterior door — a bristly one for the outside and a more absorbent one inside. To keep floors completely clean of dirt and salt residues, establish a station just inside the door where family members and guests can take off their shoes and leave them off until they exit again. No matter how strict you make the rule, however, some dirt will find its way in, so put a deep cleaning of carpets and furniture on the agenda for the end of the season. #WinterCleaning

A Shoes-Off Policy Helps Keep the Home Clean

It’s a challenge to keep a home #clean when winter storms hits and people start to track in snow, ice, dirt and salt. To keep your floors pristine, institute a shoes-off policy inside the home an designate a basket to hold them when not in use, Real Simple suggests. Throw rugs, doormats and runners can help keep wetness and dirt confined to specific locations. If all else fails, create a makeshift mudroom by your home’s garage or backdoor entrance and equip it with hooks, bins, shelves and lockers for temporary clothing storage. The idea is to keep the #mess confined to an easily cleaned space.

Prepare for Six More Weeks of Winter

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 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!

Leave it at the door.

March and April have brought snow and rain to different parts of the country. Whether you’re coming in from a hike or your child had baseball practice and is bringing dirty cleats into the house, make sure to leave shoes at the door. This will keep you from spending time cleaning mud and wet shoe prints in your home later!