Six tips for a clean house this spring

Now that it’s spring, it’s time to clear out all the excess junk and material you accumulated over the winter in an annual spring cleaning.

There are many benefits to keeping a clean home: properly stored items are easier to access when you want to use them, saving you time in the long run; a clean home is healthier to live in, and there could be insurance implications for pack rats who keep too much stuff, says Ottawa west Allstate Insurance agency assistant manager John Kealey.

Mould, which can grow in damp, dark storage places, “is not something that is covered in a typical insurance policy,” Kealey says.

He also warns of the risk of having things piled up around furnaces, which poses a fire hazard. (A fire, though, would still be covered under your policy.)

“With it being around tax time, if people are getting rid of valuable personal documents, we recommend they shred them and dispose of them properly,” Kealey adds.

And for those who can’t part with their extra stuff and must therefore rent out storage space, after 30 days a typical insurance policy only covers theft, leaving risks like fire or water damage uncovered.

In the spirit of spring, here are some tips on how to clean and maintain a tidy house this season:

1. Set a goal. Know what you would like to accomplish by the end of the day, whether it be cleaning out a drawer, closet or room.

2. Get rid of unused items. If you haven’t used something in over a year, there is a good chance you wouldn’t miss it if it was gone. Take the time to go through items such as clothing, shoes, electronics, movies and books and purge items you no longer need or use.

3. Recycle. Take the opportunity to donate usable items to local charities. Some charities may even come to your house to pick up your donation. Consider holding a garage sale with the unwanted items and donate the money earned to a charity of your choice.

4. Go through items on a regular basis. To keep your newly organized space clean, donate items regularly. When you acquire something new, get rid of an item that you no longer use.

5. Protect your items and your home. Batteries in your smoke detectors should be changed twice a year. It is good practice to pick two memorable dates six months apart that you will remember, such as daylight time. If you haven’t already changed the batteries, take the time to change them now.

6. Communicate with family. Make sure everyone in the family is aware of the cleaning efforts. Using those around you will help you to not be overwhelmed by cleaning chores. Also, tell family members of new organizing methods or storage spaces, for example, where shoes now go, or where art supplies are placed. This will help you maintain a clean home everyone can take credit for.

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