1. Clean Your Windows: Being able to see the bright sun outside and have little to nothing obstructing your view of the outside world is underrated and undervalued. Even though Spring and Summer seem like better months to tackle this chore, it should be done more often than not to clear finger prints, dust and doggy nose prints for the best outlook on life and the outside world.
2. Change Your Air Filter: The winter months are the time that many of us depend on our HVAC systems to be working their best. Instead of just hoping they are, give them a hand up and replace your furnace filters to make sure the cleanest air possible is being pumped through your house. Never remember what size your system takes? Leave a post-it note in your glove box or other "oh yeah, I wrote that down so I wouldn't forget" spot.
3. Beat Those Rugs Like It Ain't No Thang: Sure you can vacuum, but it's just not the same. The dirt and dust that's under your feet is stirred up every time we walk across it. Plus, it burns calories and gets a little frustration out.
4. Clean Your Light Fixtures: Wipe down chandeliers and shades, vacuum up dust and dump those crusty bugs that get trapped in sconces in the trash. The light we have in each room is one of the most important tools we have in our decorating tool-kit and it's only an asset if it's actually doing it's job.
5. Clean Your Ceiling Fans: Do you run your ceiling fan in the winter months? They can help circulate the hot air that's being pumped out of vents and radiators alike. The downfall? They get just as dusty in the Winter as they do the Summer. It's ok, everyones are icky, just suck it up, get over the fur balls and be thankful you're ditching them now instead of thinking about them falling in your mouth while you sleep. Just like spiders. Do you know how many spiders you swallow a year in your sleep? I dare you to Google it and you can thank me for the nightmares later.
6. Clean Your Oven: No one really has time to clean their oven. Even if it has a self clean setting, not many wake up and remember to actually do it. Winter is a great time to put the extra heat to use as the clean setting takes your oven up to some seriously high temps. Let it help heat the apartment now instead of later when it seems like a pain. Plus, clean ovens encourage more winter baking which makes your house smell great. Cause and effect, people.
7. Wipe Down Fixtures: There's no secret that more people seem to be sick during the winter months than not. Take a few moments and wipe down frequently touched things in your home. This includes the toilet handle, doorknobs, intercom buttons, cell phone keys, and even the handle to your kitchen appliances like the oven and refrigerator. They're the type of thing that never appear dirty until you clean them.
8. Clean Your Washing Machine: Sure there's pretty packaged products in the laundry aisle that are intended to do this for you, but all you need is a few cups of vinegar in a hot water load (without clothes), run all the way through. Wipe down seals, holes, creases and the control panel. When your house is closed it it's easy for this area that does a great deal of work in your home to gather dust and other icky smells.
9. Take 10 Minutes In Your Entryway: Snow-filled months and a chill in the air means scarves, gloves, boots and other winter apparel. Even if you don't see any flakes falling, there's still extra jackets and hats. Take a few moments to straighten things and wipe down floors, walls and threshold to your home. Get rid of salt residue, dust, dirt and even an occasional cootie or two.
10. Give Your Space Heaters A Break: Do you have any space heaters running in your home? They collect dust inside without you even knowing it. Make sure they're unplugged and look for a set of screws that allow the back to be removed. The area around the fan that blows the heat out into the room is usually dirtier than you'd want advertised. No one will of course know, but the idea of dusty air being blown around is a bit on the yuck side of things.
Do you have something that helps keep your home fresh and clean during winter months that doesn't require much commitment? Share your simple household refreshes in the comments below!
(Image: Vanessa Stump for Kelly's Retro Artist Loft in Downtown LA)