9 To-Do’s for a Smooth-Running Home

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1. Clear the kitchen. Completely clear all kitchen surfaces, then scrub the countertops and walls. Now step back and admire how lovely your kitchen looks without all of the usual equipment and random junk cluttering up the counters.

Consider putting back only the things you use daily, and make room for the rest in closed cupboards.

2. Clean out the pantry. If you have a large pantry, you might want to spread out this project over a few days, tackling one shelf or section at a time. Remove everything from each shelf, tossing expired food and weeding out things you know you will never use (if they are still good, donate them to a food pantry). Consolidate packages — pour those last bit of oats or rice into the new container and toss out the empties to make more room. Wipe down the shelves and cover them with fresh paper. When you put everything back in, shelve like with like — baking supplies together, sauces in another area and so on.

3. Beautify your command center. The desk in the kitchen or entryway is often the hub of household activities — and also tends to be swamped with piles of paper and random clutter. Take some time to clear the decks, file papers, log upcoming events in the calendar and put things away.

Now add something beautiful: Pretty cloth-covered boxes to keep your papers neater, a few small framed art prints and a delicate potted plant would be lovely.

4. Launder and mend soft furnishings. Early spring is a good time to clean soft furnishings: slipcovers, pillow covers, curtains, shower curtains, duvet covers and area rugs.

You can launder smaller items at home, but bring larger pieces to a pro. Take a close look at everything before it goes into the wash or out to the cleaners, and attach a colorful pin or clip to any holes or stains that need special attention.

5. Spring clean your wardrobe. Take the time to go through your entire wardrobe, weeding out the ill-fitting and unworn, and setting aside winter clothes that are ready to be cleaned and stored. If you live in a chilly climate, now is a good time to pull out the spring clothes from storage. Note what is missing from your wardrobe.

If clothes that have been stored are a bit stale, fluff them in the dryer before putting them in your drawers.

6. Clear clutter in the mudroom. Winter mittens, hats, and boots tend to get forgotten in the mudroom, even after the weather warms. Go through every shelf, cubby and drawer, and put away the things you are no longer using. Clean and polish boots before putting them away, and find your umbrella so it’s handy for those spring showers.

7. Spiff up the porch. Whether or not it is warm enough to sit on the porch where you live, you can make it look more inviting — and it will be ready to go on that first truly warm day. Inspect the floor and repaint if needed. Sweep away dust and cobwebs, wipe down the mailbox and porch light, get a new doormat and put out a few plants. If your porch furniture or cushions have been in storage, set them out now.

8. Swap out storm windows for screens. If you use storm windows in the winter, remove them after the worst winter weather has passed. Swap out your storm doors for screen doors, and put up screens on all the windows if they were removed for winter.

9. Inspect the exterior. On a clear, sunny day, have a walk around your property and inspect the roof, siding, gutters and yard. Call in a pro roofer to repair flashing around the chimney and other openings and do any other needed repairs. If you notice low spots in your yard near the house, fill them with soil to prevent water pooling and damage.

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