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Spring Clean Like A Pro

Here on the Cape, we typically see crocuses start to pop up in early March, but the warm weather doesn’t always immediately follow. Still, us New Englanders tend to jump into spring mode despite the nip in the air. If the temperature hits 45, it isn’t unusual to see hearty locals sporting shorts and driving around with the convertible down (albeit with the heat blasting). So, while the weather hasn’t quite caught up with my spring mindset, I find myself tackling the grueling annual task of spring cleaning in hopes that warm weather will ensue. In my quest for decluttering and deep cleaning, I have come across several helpful tips over the years:

1. Combine 2 cups water, 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent in a spray bottle and use to clean windows. Believe it or not, newspaper works better than paper towels or rags when drying.
2. Spruce up your jewelry so it sparkles when the sun finally starts shining! Drop two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse jewelry for two minutes. Buff with a clean rag.
3. To remove candle wax from carpet, place a paper bag over the spilled wax and lightly iron over the bag.
4. Be proactive and prevent messy Tupperware by spraying with cooking spray before filling with tomato based sauces. This will save your storage containers from stains and you from endless scrubbing.
5. Put a piece of waxed paper under your dust mop. Dirt will stick to the mop and the wax will shine your floors.
6. Bounce dryer sheets eliminate static electricity from your television screen. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.

To be honest, when it comes to cleaning and organizing, there aren’t too many short cuts. In fact, there are some “tips” I’ve come across over the years which, to be honest, are more time consuming and frankly, stupid. Take, for example the following:

1. To open sealed envelopes, place in the freezer for a few hours, then slide a knife under the flap. (Or, invest in an inexpensive letter opener and save yourself an afternoon!)
2. Don’t throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces. (Leftover wine?)
3. A few drops of vanilla extract on a piece of cotton placed in the refrigerator will eliminate odors. (Sure, but opening the door and finding a furry brown science experiment will kill your appetite for the day.)
4. Candles will last a lot longer if placed in the freezer for at least three hours prior to burning. (Yes, but with all the envelopes and cotton balls, is there really room for all those candles?)

So, when reading articles like, “Save Time, Money and Stress with These Ten Life Changing Tips”, take them with a grain of salt. Save the futile tricks for the amateurs and tackle spring cleaning like a pro – attack projects one at a time and complete one task before taking on another. Don’t try to accomplish an entire years worth of clutter in an afternoon – set aside a few hours a day for a few weeks and stick to a schedule to avoid becoming overwhelmed. And most importantly, remember, unlike me, you don’t have to bring your home up to four diamond standards – a little dust under the couch or a streaky window never hurt anyone.

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