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McCreary Realty News and Blog

Bringing you news and tips you can use if you are a homeowner, home renter or property investor.

Fun and Educational Getaways in Atlanta and North Georgia

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, May 18, 2017


Summertime is right around the corner and many people are planning to take vacations during the next few months. If you’re a parent of school-aged children, you are probably also seeking out ways to keep the kids entertained during the hot summer days.

In Georgia, we’re fortunate to have plenty of fantastic, family-friendly vacation options that are all within driving distance. Whether you’re interested in taking a day trip or a long weekend, there is something for everyone.

Here are five fun and educational destinations the entire family will enjoy:

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Who doesn’t love a train ride? The three-hour round trip from Blue Ridge to McCaysville on the Georgia/Tennessee line is the perfect day trip for kids of all ages. The full journey is 26 miles and the train reaches a top speed of ten miles per hour following the course of the Toccoa River along the way. There is even an open air car for the best views of the beautiful scenery, and the conductors keep you entertained and informed along the way with in-car speakers.

Click here to learn more.

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

This popular attraction in Atlanta features the history of the famed civil rights leader, including his boyhood home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The King Center displays information and artifacts from and about Dr. King’s life.

Click here to learn more. 

Georgia Aquarium

With over 10 million gallons of fresh and saltwater exhibits, Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere and features over 10 thousand aquatic animals from about 500 species. Georgia Aquarium offers several special exhibits including Ocean Voyager, Georgia Explorer, River Scout, Cold Water Quest, Dolphin Tales, and Tropical Diver, along with special events like Military Salute on Memorial Day and Sleep Under the Sea.

Click here to learn more.

Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia is a large amusement park with something for every adventurous spirit, from thrilling roller coasters to family and kids rides and the Hurricane Harbor waterpark (a great way to beat the summer heat, right?). The park sponsors many special events and offers various visit packages. One cool feature is the Flash Pass that allows you to hold your place in line at popular rides so you can enjoy other attractions and get an alert when it’s your turn to ride!

Click here to learn more.   

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain is a fascinating geologic formation – a large dome of rock (the largest granite outcropping in the world) with an elevation of 1686 above sea level and over 800 feet above its surrounding area. It is also a place of cultural and historic interest. The mountain summit is reachable by a walking trail and aerial tram. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of downtown Atlanta to the west and, on clear days, Kennesaw Mountain and the Appalachian Mountains.

On the north face of the mountain is the largest bas-relief carving in the world, depicting three figures of the Confederacy – Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, on their trusty steeds. Around Stone Mountain you’ll find Confederate Hall, offering educational presentations about the geology and history of the Stone Mountain and The Antebellum Plantation and Farmyard, which is a museum depicting plantation life in pre-Civil War Georgia.

Click here to learn more.


Of course, there are many other attractions in the area that are great for day trips or vacations. Where are your favorite places to travel in the North Georgia area?

Finding the Right Rental Home for Your Family

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, May 11, 2017


Many of us rent our first homes before taking the plunge into homeownership. Renting offers unique benefits over purchasing a home, especially when you are first getting starting on your own. Some of the benefits include not having to worry about intimidating mortgage payments or issues with maintenance and repairs.

However, some people choose to continue renting throughout their lives for a variety of reasons. Many people think they must buy a house once they marry and/or start a family. Homeownership may not be realistic for you though, due to financial or other reasons. A rental home can be a perfect solution for you either temporarily or permanently.

Of course, your rental goals will be considerably different when you have children, or if you’re planning to start (or increase) a family. You’ll want to make sure your rental home meets everyone’s needs.

Here are some helpful tips to consider for finding the best rental home for your family

 

Access to School and Community Amenities

For parents, a location near schools is desirable. You can research the school district online, ask about schools in forums and groups, and even arrange to visit schools to assess how they meet your family’s needs. If you’re close enough for your children to walk to school, make sure there are sidewalks and safe street crossings. This applies to local amenities, too. Being within walking distance to the store or parks, for example, can be a nice perk.

Location, Location, Location

Be honest about your priorities for location, both in the area in which you’d like to live and in the community you choose. If a community has a playground, it might be nice to be close enough to keep an eye on the kiddos while they play. Also consider whether you would like easy access to community amenities such as a swimming pool, in-unit storage and laundry, and covered parking.

Safety and Security

Some older communities may have been built before occupant safety was a big consideration. If the home you’re interested in looks like it was built before the 1970s, ask the landlord or management about lead inspections and lead-free certification. Also, consider factors such as climbing stairs, how windows are situated in common areas, and what type of building security is provided. With very young children, you may want to check with your landlord before undertaking any child-proofing which requires drilling holes to ensure such modifications are okay.

Pets

Many young families have pets. If you have or want to include 4-legged family members in your rental decision, make sure you choose a community with a liberal pet policy and with pet-friendly features like nearby dog parks. Consider meeting the pets of any nearby neighbors, too. Fido or Kitty may (or may not) like their new neighbors!

Space

One thing at a premium in any home is space, and even more so in a rental situation. While there are many creative ways to create storage space, the overall size of your rental must meet your needs. For small families, a small bedroom or den works for the kid(s), but as the family grows, you’re going to want more space. Kid’s stuff is forever multiplying! Some communities will allow you to move to a larger apartment if you need it.

The Hassle of Looking (and Finding)

For many of us, finding a rental home may not be our most preferred way to spend a day. Remember, this is your families’ home you’re looking for! Although it’s not like buying, it’s still a serious process involving many considerations. Be wary of shortcuts and online “deals.” Always work directly with a property owner or a reputable management company and never sign any papers or make any payments without seeing a home for yourself. We love shopping online, right? But there’s nothing like finding a new home in person.


Keeping these considerations in mind while you search for a family rental will assure your safety, comfort, and happiness in your new rental home!


Related Resource

Zillow 6 Factors to Consider When Seeking a Family-Friendly Rental

Tips to Prepare Your Lawn for Summer

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, May 04, 2017


Spring is a time of rejuvenation and your lawn is probably proof of that. For many of us in the south, it's about the only time of year where our lawns look their best. Summer heat and less rain may soon start taking their toll.

However, with careful analysis and planning, you can enjoy a lush, healthy lawn all summer long.

Here are some helpful tips to take now to prepare your lawn for summer:

1. Test the soil. Home testing kits are available at various hardware and home improvement stores. Testing tells you several things about the health of your lawn, such as its pH level. Knowing this will help you determine the extent to which fertilization or other treatments are necessary.

2. Aerate if the lawn wasn’t aerated in the fall. Experts may differ on when aeration is recommended, but the intent is clear: to penetrate the ‘thatch’ over the soil and allow for proper levels of oxygen and water to reach the roots.

3. Be mindful and practice fertilization and weed control carefully. Weed control chemicals are very narrow in their application spectrum. It's important to remember they are poisons that you’ll want to keep to a minimum. For fertilizing, you want to make sure you add just enough to properly nourish your lawn without allowing runoff.

4. Seed bare patches. Do this as soon as growth has started. The best time is while the soil is moist and soft, but not saturated. Hardware and home stores usually carry a wide variety of seed types. It's also a good idea to choose the seeds best suited for your specific environment. This includes factors such as full sun vs. shade, and moisture level, etc. Ask for help from an expert to get the right seed for your specific needs.

5. Tune-up your mower and sharpen the blade. A dull mower blade rips the tops off the grass rather than cutting it cleanly, which causes unnecessary damage to your lawn. A well-tuned and maintained mower performs its job efficiently and lasts longer too!

6. Be careful to time the first mowing of the season by testing the height of the grass. You don’t want the mowing deck so low you end up “scalping” the grass down to the soil. Set the mowing height low to remove dead tops from the grass. Also, make sure you avoid seeded areas to allow them to become more established before cutting.


Following these easy tips give your lawn a great chance to emerge, grow and thrive in the in hot, dry months ahead. There's nothing much better than a lush carpet of grass for fun in the sun and family activities in the yard during the summer months!


Related Resource

Better Lawn-Care.com Spring Lawn Care

Ten Things You’ll Want to Know About Subletting

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, April 27, 2017


Are you in a situation where you’ve signed a lease for a home or apartment, but won’t be able to live there the entire time? You don’t want to break the lease, especially if you’re planning to return. However, you also don’t want to waste money on an empty home and electricity you’re responsible for but not living in. One solution is to temporarily sublet your rental.

There are various circumstances where you may want to sublet your rental home or apartment. Examples include a job relocation, an extended vacation, or being a college student who wishes to visit relatives and/or friends during summer break.

Is subletting your rental home or apartment the right option for you?


Here are ten things you’ll want to know:

1. Make sure your lease allows for subletting. Many do not. Even if they don’t (or don’t specify one way or another), talk to your landlord about your special circumstances.

2. Even when subletting is allowed by your lease, be sure to follow the provisions in regards to informing the landlord you’ll be subletting. It’s never a good idea to sublet without the landlord’s knowledge and approval.

Note: You’ll also want to let your neighbors know you’re subletting. That way they’re aware of the change and can let you know if there is anything out of the ordinary happening.

3. There are several ways you can find potential subletters. Most common are internet boards like Craigslist, but you may also consider apartment location services, social media sources (like Facebook), and college or university exchange sites.

4. A lease is a contract between you and your landlord. In many cases, subletting adds another layer of accountability and responsibility. Foremost, subletting (in most cases) does not absolve you, the primary tenant, of responsibility for rent payment, damages, and conduct on the landlord’s property.

5. A sublease is also a contract, between you, the sublessee and, in most cases, the landlord. The sublessee must go through all of the usual steps to occupy the property, including credit and background checks. He or she may also be required to provide a security and damage deposit prior to being approved to sublease.

6. The sublease contract does not have to be complicated, but it must be thorough. Make sure the landlord provides you with any contract specifications (or even the contract itself) to be sure you’re in compliance with their requirements. There are many examples of sample contracts available from a simple Google search, too. If there are any special conditions negotiated in the process, be sure to get them in writing.

7. Perform move-in and move out inspections so there are no surprises on either end. Taking photos will help to document the condition of the property at the beginning and end of the sublease.

8. Secure any personal belongings. In cases like a student sublet you may be leaving furniture and furnishings for your return, but make sure to take personal belongings with you or put them in secure storage.

9. If you have roommates who plan to stay in the property during your absence, it’s a good idea to involve them in selecting their temporary roomie(s).

10. Understand the payment arrangements and make sure payment is received on time. If the contract requires payment from the original tenant, allow adequate time for payment to be received from the sublessee.

Note: Remember that in most cases, you, the original lessee, remain responsible for the lease payment. In many cases, a sublet probably will not cover your lease obligation fully. Most estimates are that subleasing covers 70-80% of your rent.

Subletting is very common and convenient in situations where keeping a lease makes sense. Following these simple suggestions will make it a much easier and smoother process for everyone involved. 

Easy Ways to Make Your Rental Property a Smart Home

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, April 20, 2017



More people are becoming interested in outfitting their homes with "smart home" and home automation systems. The main reasons for investing in this type of technology include comfort, convenience, and security.   

Although smart home technology may be considered by some as a luxury found only in expensive custom homes, it turns out that you can also afford to have a "smart home" when you live in a rental property. 

Creating an intelligent, conveniently connected home space in your apartment or rental home is easy and affordable. The key is to start smart and small. Begin by purchasing the products and features that add value, convenience, and security without killing your budget. 

Always remember to check your lease agreement or your property owner to make sure any changes you make are allowed. Keep in mind that as a renter, you may want to take your smart devices with you to your next rental home.

Check out these smart home technology ideas for your rental property:

The environment: Probably first on the list of connected home devices we think of is a simple device that controls the comfort of the environment in your home -- the smart thermostat. Why use energy to heat/cool your home when you’re not there? 

Some of these devices learn your setting preferences and will remember your habits. The smart technology allows the thermostat to conform to your daily routine and keep your place comfortable at the times you are there. You can also access devices remotely via a smartphone app to make specific setting changes before you arrive at home. Popular smart thermostats start at about $250. That may seem a bit expensive, but remember the savings (up to 20%) in your energy bills that help pay off the investment (and then some!).

Automated lighting: This popular smart home feature is both a convenience and a safety upgrade. Connected LED technology gives you the flexibility to change the lighting in your home remotely at any time. Who hasn’t forgotten to turn off the lights when you leave? And let’s not get started with roommates who forget to. 

LED bulbs use up to 80% less energy and last about 25% longer than conventional light bulbs. Smart LED systems work in existing light sockets for seamless installation and are relatively inexpensive, starting at $35.

Smart TV: Are television networks and cable (except for WiFi) obsolete? They might be for some of us, considering the innovations in connected television technology. A smart TV is internet connected, providing access to websites, apps and streaming services that give you the choice and flexibility to watch what you like -- when you like. 

Even with a "not-so-smart" TV, USB connect-able "sticks" will allow you access to the internet and streaming services, so you can match your existing TV technology to your needs on your chosen budget.

Security: Keeping our possessions safe and secure is a major priority in home automation. Smart locks fit the bill as the first line of defense in home security. An automated dead bolt lock gives you convenience, safety, and security at the reasonable price of about $200. An automated bolt lock that fits with an existing deadbolt means easy installation without making changes to the entryway door. Smartphone app integration gives you remote access to securing the door as well as the ability to track who goes in and out. Make sure the model you choose also works with a key though, just in case.

Video surveillance: Looking past the security of the door lock, having home video surveillance is real-time security. Home security cameras for the entry door and around the interior of your home give you instant access to your home security status. You can use it to keep an eye on your pets too! Look for a system that installs easily and has high (1080p) resolution so your remote view is like an eagle eye on your home.

Finally, you may consider technology which allows you to tie all of your smart home features together in an easily accessed control point. For example, both Google and Amazon have devices which bring all of your home automation applications together for under $200. 


Keeping your rental home comfortable and safe with smart home technology is easy and affordable! Have you made the switch to home automation or are you considering it?


Related Resource

ForRent.com Apartment Automation: How to Smarten up Your Flat


Ways to Spruce Up Your Home With Your Tax Refund

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hello, spring! It's the season of rejuvenation, regrowth, and (hopefully!) a tax refund.  

An annual tax refund is worthy of excitement because it’s like receiving "free" money, right? Of course, it’s always important to consult a tax professional about which tax decisions are best for you. 

But why not consider using your refund to make your home livelier, more colorful and more livable? There are many ways you can use the money to beautify and add value to your home.

Here are a few ways you can spruce up your home with your tax refund:


With a small-ish refund (up to $500) you might:

  • Touch up your home's interior and exterior paint: On the inside of your home, baseboards take a beating. Wash them with warm soapy water, allow them to dry thoroughly, repair cracks with caulk, and touch them up with fresh paint. Perhaps you can try using a new accent color! Use a strong but flexible straight edge to protect carpet, flooring, and walls when you paint. For exterior painting, scrape, sand and touch up any faded areas in the trim.
  • Add some "curb appeal": Have you looked at the mailbox lately? If it’s faded, leaning, and/or damaged, give the yard an instant upgrade with a new one. Plant some bushes and/or spring flowers around it to add some lively color! Add flower boxes under front windows or around walkways, too. It will refresh the entire look of your home.

With a big refund ($500 -- $1,000+) consider:

  • Upgrades to systems, like replacing the old water heater. A new high-quality water heater will probably cost at least $1,000. But think of how nice it will be to have hot showers for everybody! And a new, more efficient unit can save money on future energy bills.
  • Look up! How do you like the ceilings? In older homes, "popcorn" ceilings were very popular. But they don’t age very well and they're difficult to repair if damaged. So put your refund into renewing your ceilings! It’s best to hire a professional to smooth out the popcorn ceiling, but you can add your own touch with new crown molding and repainting.

With a larger refund ($2,000+) you can think even bigger:

  • Add some style to your interior by installing new lighting. Recessed or flush-mounted fixtures update the look and style of a room. They also tone down the harshness of light emitted by hanging fixtures. New lighting technologies such as LEDs are efficient and provide better lighting as well.
  • Replace wall to wall carpet with hardwood flooring. Wood floors upgrade and enhance the look and feel of a room. Add area rugs to bring back the cozy feel of carpet or for accent.

Use a "huge" refund ($3,000+) to add more value:

  • Put backsplash tile in the kitchen. It adds color, style and rich texture to the room. Smooth tile is easier to clean, but a rougher look like faux brick adds a robust feel.
  • Update floor tile and fixtures in the bathrooms. Styles are tied to the times. Don’t forget that updating the entire look of your home (including bathrooms) keeps it up-to-date.
  • Put in new exterior door walls or French Doors. Upgrading your doorways will add to both the natural light and the interior aesthetics of your home.

A lottery-level refund ($5,000+) allows you to:

  • Add lifestyle upgrades like an outdoor patio, a backyard privacy fence, or stone/brick barbecue/firepit. Add a grape arbor over the patio for protection from the sun and to add some natural plant cover.
  • Build a simple outdoor kitchen with a pre-built barbecue grill, a mini fridge and some stylish tables to match new patio furniture.


How do you plan to use your tax refund? 


Related Resource

Trulia 13 Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund On Home Improvements 

Simple and Delicious Recipes for a Spring or Easter Brunch

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, April 06, 2017


Spring is here and Easter is right around the corner. If you have children, they may be anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Easter Bunny – and, of course, the candy.

Luckily, the grownups are allowed to have just as much fun as the kids on Easter. As well, it’s a great time of year for entertaining guests before the hot temperatures set in. With any luck, the rain will let up long enough to host an outdoor event!

Here are some crowd-pleasing recipe ideas for a spectacular spring or Easter brunch that everyone will enjoy:


Classic Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are perfect for Easter Brunch or an appetizer. You may even have boiled eggs on hand already from dying them! Although there are many variations on deviled egg recipes, the simple, traditional recipe always tastes fantastic.

Click here for the recipe via Dessert Now Dinner Later


Springtime Pasta Salad

There’s nothing much better than a light, refreshing salad on a warm spring afternoon. Complete with plenty of fresh veggies and a simple vinaigrette dressing, this pasta salad recipe is sure to satisfy.

Click here for the recipe via The Fed Up Foodie


Brown Sugar and Bacon Green Beans

You may not even have to beg the kids to eat their veggies when you’re serving these green beans! A perfect blend of sweet, savory and (kind of) healthy. What’s not to love?

Click here for the recipe via My Recipe Magic


Best-Ever Buttermilk Biscuits

Is any proper southern brunch complete without warm, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits? Of course not! They’re also perfect for making ham sandwiches.

Click here for the recipe via Good Housekeeping


Glazed Easter Ham

For many of us in the south, ham is a staple for Easter brunch. Plus, it’s great to have ham sandwiches for lunch the next day or so – if you happen to have any ham left over, that is.

Click here for a recipe via The Pioneer Woman


Lemon Cheesecake with Strawberry Crust

Even if the Easter Bunny has brought loads of chocolates and jelly beans, you may still like something sweet to wrap up your Easter Brunch menu. This light and creamy cheesecake will make a perfect dessert for the grownups!

Click here for the recipe via Back for Seconds

Tips for Splitting Rent and Expenses with Roommates

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, March 16, 2017



Have you dreamed of renting a great place that seems out of your financial reach? Of course, we all have. 

One way to make your ideal home affordable, especially if you’re renting, is to invite roommates. Having a good experience with roommates depends on several aspects of relationships, but probably none more than the financial arrangements.

So, what is the best way to keep it fair and equitable between roommates? 

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Agree on how to split expenses

Get buy-in from everybody: Have the difficult (i.e., money) conversations up front. That way, everyone knows their responsibility and is accountable because it’s been agreed to in advance.

Share common expenses equally: Utilities, cable, and WiFi are pretty much used equally, so these can be split evenly. Some financial experts suggest putting each roommate on every bill, so not paying a share has personal consequences if that bill is not paid in total and on time. Each roommate being the responsible party for a utility account is a way to spread the financial burden around the household, too.

Getting more costs more: If one occupant has premium accommodations (master suite, private bath, etc.), it is reasonable that they pay a greater proportion of rent.

2. Decide how to collect money

Everyone’s agreed on splitting expenses, so the hard part is done, right? Well, you still have to collect each share to make the main payment. One way to do this is to post each bill where everyone can see the total charges, their share, and the due date.

Some renters are set up on convenient money transfer apps to make the exchanges easy. Most payment apps allow you to send and share messages too, so communicating about payments is at your fingertips.

An obvious way to keep financial arrangements simple is to charge a flat rental rate that includes all expenses. This is especially applicable for situations where a leaseholder or homeowner solicits a ‘renter.’ It’s a simple arrangement where the responsible party establishes the expenses, then charges renters or roommates a flat rent that covers it all. 

Just as a side note: the leaseholder in this situation may wish to ask for references, deposits, and credit background checks.

3. Formalize the arrangements

Even when people come to an agreement they can still sometimes lose track of details. It’s best to be sure that all financial arrangements are in writing, up front, with copies to all parties. That way there is documentation to refer to if questions arise.

Keep complete and clear records of payments, and make sure you keep good records for your own reference. This will help you ensure that all expenses are reported and tracked fairly.


Roommates can make life a lot easier in popular, expensive areas. You get the benefits of great location and amenities and the pleasure of companionship and friends to share it with!


Related Resource

Trulia Pay Up! How Renters With Roommates Should Divvy Up Expenses


Ideas to Make Your Home More Water-Efficient

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, March 09, 2017



Using water wisely is smart, and it saves money! There’s no downside to that. 

There are additional benefits to smart water usage as well. For example, in arid and semi-arid regions, there simply may not be enough water to go around. And everywhere, the cost of producing water for consumption and treating wastewater are a huge part of municipal expenses. So it just makes sense to save water in our everyday lives.

Here are some ideas to make your home more water-efficient:

In the bathrooms:

Some of the biggest water users in most homes are the toilets, especially in families with children! Almost one-third of annual household water use is attributable to toilet use. Do you know that some toilets can use up to six gallons of water per flush?

  • Maximum-performance toilets. These use variable amounts of water for solid and liquid waste. Savings from these toilets amounts to thousands of gallons and water bill reductions of up to $165 per year! If replacing toilets isn’t practical, make sure that your toilets don’t leak through the flapper device in the tank. If the tank takes a long time to refill or periodically refills when it hasn’t been flushed, it may be time to replace the flapper. It’s an easy fix and only costs a few dollars.
  • High-efficiency showerheads. No one likes a weak shower stream, but cranking up the shower means using a lot more water than you have to. Conventional showerheads use up to 2 ½ gallons per minute. And teenagers take long showers! Check your local home store for high-efficiency options that use less water but don’t compromise on water power. A showerhead reduction down to 2.0 gallons per hour will save you up to $70 per year on the water bill, and even more on the electric/gas savings on the water heater.
Future shower technology is in the works that uses a closed-loop concept that captures water and purifies it for re-use, providing savings in both water and the energy required to reheat it.

In the laundry:

  • High-tech washers. A typical washer uses up to 40 gallons per wash load. Advanced-technology washers create water savings of about 40%, not only by using less water but by re-designing tub configurations and adding creative advances like polymer bead technology to scrub clothes clean using a fraction of the water. If a new washer isn’t in your future, remember that cold water works just as well for dark colors. Cold water washing is easier on fabrics too. And choose the correct water setting for the load size.

Outside your home:

  • Connected irrigation technology. You can’t save what you don’t measure, right? Turning on outdoor sprinklers for a few hours at a time is a big waste of water. Try an automated programmable water controller to measure and reduce outdoor water usage. Set them for the best time to water, and make sure to use durations that make sense. We over-estimate the amount of water a lawn needs. Some controllers are even smart enough (via wireless connections) to adjust water timing and settings to current weather conditions! But if high-tech irrigation isn’t your thing, be sure to water wisely according to weather conditions, predictions, and how your lawn looks. And when you water, avoid hitting the driveway and street.


Using water sparingly saves you money and is easy on the environment. It’s a good idea all around!


Related Resource

HouseLogic 7 Smart Ways to Save Water (and Money!)

Simple Spring Cleaning Tips

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, March 02, 2017

Spring is right around the corner! You've stayed warm and snuggly in a buttoned-up house all winter long. However, as the cold weather wanes, we all look forward to opening up the windows to get fresh air…and, of course, spring cleaning!

Don’t dread your annual ritual.

Follow these simple spring cleaning tips to help make the task a little bit easier (and less of a chore!)

  • A cleaning caddy (available at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s or Walmart) stocked up with a few basic cleaning items like scrubber sponges, soft (cotton) cloths and cleaning supplies like cleanser, window cleaner, and furniture polish keeps everything you’ll need right with you where you need it!
  • In the kitchen, clean and freshen the refrigerator with a solution of salt and soda water. Turning the freezer off for 20 minutes before cleaning it will ensure that the solution doesn’t freeze on contact.
  • Loosen up lime buildup around bathroom faucets by draping vinegar-soaked paper towels around them, then rinse with water. An old toothbrush will help more easily scrub those hard-to-reach areas.
  • Dirt and grime on windows are best removed with lots of soapy water and a soft brush or large sponge. Use a squeegee to remove the soap, then use old cotton washcloths or towels to clean up the edges, corners, and sills. By the way, screens are easily cleaned with scraps of carpet or a hand-held brush.
  • Hang throw rugs, comforters, blankets and pillows outside. They’ll be clean and fresh after a few hours in the sun and breeze. Who doesn’t love that unique smell of outside-fresh blankets and pillows?
  • Liven up drab, dusty drapes by putting them in your dryer on the fluff (delicate) setting. Throw a damp bath towel in to draw away dust. Dryer sheets will add a nice fresh scent too!
  • For dusty ceiling fan blades, spray a light coating of furniture polish, wipe away and buff gently with a soft cloth.


No one really looks forward to spring cleaning, but it helps to think about the final result: a clean and fresh house!


Related Resource

HGTV 7 Spring-Cleaning Tips


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