Category Archives: cleaning

Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

Outdoors FallThank you!

On behalf of Buddy’s Blog, Brackfield Properties and Volunteer Moving and Storage, we would like to thank all our customers for a great 2018. We wish everyone “Happy New Year 2019!”

How to winterize your home

Now that Winter is coming, it is time to prepare your house for the colder weather. There are several major systems in your house that needs to be checked including heating systems, plumbing and gutters. This is not an exhaustive list but should help you get started on your preparation.

Heating Systems

  • HVAC: Schedule a tune-up with an HVAC profession. The safety of your family and energy savings are worth the cost. Check air filters and change on a regular schedule.
  • Fireplaces: Make sure the chimney is clear of debris. Check the flue and be sure it opens and closes fully. Check for drafts. Consider having your fireplace chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Ceiling fans: Reverse your ceiling fans during the winter to clockwise. This will push warm air down and circulate air in the room. Be sure to switch it back in the spring when the weather starts to warm up.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless and can leak from furnaces, boilers, water heaters and fireplaces as well as portable heat sources.
  • Block air leaks: Fix draft under doors and around windows. Caulk windows and add weather stripping if needed. If windows are leaky use kits of shrink wrap plastic. Keep window blinds closed and use heavy curtains to keep cold air out.
  • Storm doors and windows: When the weather turns colder, replace window screens with storm windows. They increase energy efficiency by as much as 45%.

Plumbing

Plumbing can be a problem in cold weather. Pipes freeze and burst. Some tips: Insulate exposed pipes. Wrap them in heating tape then insulate them. Turn off outside water supply and drain water. Disconnect and drain hoses. You should also consider putting an insulated cover over the exterior faucet.

Gutters

Clean gutters and remove debris such as leaves. This will help keep water out and avoid freezing and damage to your home. Keeping gutters clear also helps protect your foundation from overflows and too much water exposure.

Emergency Kits

In the event your house loses power and conditions are too dangerous to drive, you need an emergency kit. The kit should have enough food, water and other supplies to last several days for as many people as are in your household. You can buy emergency kits at many camping and supply stores or make your own.

Outdoors

Grills: Disconnect propane tanks and leave the tank outside. Optionally, you may want to move grills and smokers indoors where there is extreme cold weather.

Outdoor furniture: Remove cushions and store them indoors.

Lawn mowers:
• Empty the gas tank
• Drain the oil
• Disconnect the spark plug
• Remove the blade

If you need storage for grills, lawn mowers and lawn furniture, contact any of the Volunteer Storage locations.

Spring Cleaning and De-Clutter

spring clean-green cleanSpring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is an annual ritual for most of us.  Cleaning is beneficial, but can also be hazardous to your health depending on what you use to clean.  There are products that are eco-friendly and more natural than the harsh products that many of us regularly use.  As you prepare for spring cleaning, look for ways to include green methods into the process.  For example, vinegar or vinegar and water can be used for cleaning windows and many other surfaces.  Baking soda added to water can also be used for cleaning and is not abrasive and will not harm your surfaces.

If you want your cleaner scented, add lemon or other oils.  Spring is the time to check your smoke detectors and change the batteries if needed, rotate the mattresses, wash windows, blinds, and curtains, and get to parts of the house you rarely clean.  Clean and refresh the air in your home naturally by filling it with houseplants such as English ivy or lilies.  You can make your own air freshener by cutting up lemon peels, mixing them with a little baking soda, and putting the mixture into a plastic container with a lid. 

You can find green products in your local store or you can make your own.  There is a lot of good information on the web about how to make eco-friendly products such as window cleaner, furniture polish, all-purpose cleaner, even toilet bowl cleaner.  You just need a few basic products for creating your own cleaners.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Distilled white vinegar:

  • Vinegar fights grease, kills bacteria, and leaves a nice clean finish for your surface.  Vinegar makes a great all-purpose cleaner.  Use vinegar mixed with water on your windows and glass surfaces.
  • For floors, mix vinegar and water and a few drops of peppermint or lemon oil and damp mop your hard surface floors.
  • Straight vinegar can be used to clean mold and mildew.

Baking soda:

  • Mix one part baking soda, two parts vinegar and four parts water, apply with a sponge and safely clean countertops and bathroom tile
  • Add baking soda to a toilet brush and scrub.  Clean the outside of the toilet with straight vinegar.

Borax

  • Disinfectant:  You can create your own disinfectant by mixing two (2) teaspoons borax, four (4) tablespoons of vinegar, and three (3) cups hot water.  Apply with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle and wipe clean.

Essential oils:

  • Add to floor cleaner mix of vinegar and water (see recipe above)
  • Put on cloth and toss in your dryer instead of dryer sheet

Newspaper

Microfiber cleaning cloths

Spring De-clutter

Spring is a great time to clean as well as de-clutter your house.  Start with the kitchen and toss anything that is broken or not used.  Go through your closets, donate clothes that are in good shape but that you no longer wear, throw out torn or stained items or use them for cleaning rags.  If you have a lot of good used items you no longer need, consider having a yard sale.  Recycle as much as possible and keep items out of the landfill.

If you need moving or storage services after your spring cleaning, contact Volunteer Moving and Storage.  We have eight convenient locations to serve you.