Billie and Robert Nicholson

As the weather warms, and threats of winter storms end, we begin to review the conditions of our home and property. How did they fare through the winter? Let’s take a look.

Inside – Time to get rid of the dirt and dust brought in on wood for the fire and muddy boots. While you vacuum and mop, gently move large furniture pieces and capture all the lint bunnies procreated behind them. As you wipe the dust (I believe it is a protective covering) don’t forget to clean the ceiling fan blades. This requires a stepladder that will elevate you so you can see all sides, top and bottom as well as the leading edges of each blade. A cloth dampened with mild detergent will help get the dust into the cloth. Remember to turn blades slowly and to duck to avoid getting hit in the head.

After beginning at the highest point in a room, like the fan, move on to furniture. Dusting furniture requires moving all the items located on the flat surface to get to the piece. Now, while you have the surface bare, review the items that were piled on it. Do they have historical value, need to be filed for tax purposes, or what? Why not take the time to do this now? Did that mean opening a drawer? Great! That’s the next place to go. Start at the top and review each drawer’s contents. Is it wadded with under garments or un-matched socks? Take a few minutes to organize the contents. We found folding garments and matching socks (I pin socks together with safety pins on their way to the laundry basket) makes the drawer look neater and saves time searching for matches. How about tops and sweaters? Fold each item in half and roll it into a tube. You will be surprised how much space you save. Now starting from the left, arrange them by color – another time saver when deciding what to wear.

Are your drawers over-flowing? Why not get some under-bed storage containers for the excess? We store items by season. Sweatshirts and bulky sweaters can be organized this way. Before you slide those containers under the bed. Be sure to clean out the breeding area for your dust bunnies.

Now move to the closet. Starting at the top shelf, review all the items stashed there. Do they need mending, are they too small or large? Sort accordingly. If you haven’t worn them in a year, consider giving them as a donation. Hang clothes by color. How about shoes? Look at the heels. Are they showing uneven wear? Do they hurt your feet? Bag them up for discard or repair.

Next stop is the bathroom. Review the items stored on each shelf and drawer. Have they expired? Going through these items will refresh your memory. Did you find the dental floss? Items that are almost empty, or past their “best if used by date,” need to get added to the next shopping list.

This technique can be applied to every room in your house, including the kitchen. For food items, list the contents of each shelf on a 3” x 5” card and tape that card to the inside of cabinet door. This way you can find that jar of dried mushrooms when you’re ready to make soup. Review expiration dates on canned items and move the oldest items to the front so they can be used first.

Outside – Sweep off debris from entrances. Wash the front door and change the door decoration to one that welcomes spring. Make a list of items outside that need repair. How about the windows? Do the panes need re-glazing or just washing? Look at the foundation of your house. Do you see any holes that may have been made by animals looking for winter shelter that need to be sealed? Do this during the day, when they are out foraging. Walk your property. Do you have tree limbs that have fallen or need to be shaped up? What about fences? Nails and screws can rust through leaving loose boards that need attention. Check any out buildings to see how they made it through the winter. Did you find rotten boards that need replacing? Check your irrigation system. Do you have leaky tubing?

This review may reveal so many things that they cannot all be done in one day. Make a To Do List and prioritize the items that need attention the soonest. These should keep you busy until time to start work in your garden.

Billie and Robert welcome your questions or comments. You can reach them at