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Hitting the Reset Button in Spring

Sure, you just lost an hour of sleep thanks to daylight saving time.

But for many of us, the extra sun is well worth the tradeoff. Why not put that daylight to good use by decluttering your home and making sure it’s safe? By following these few simple steps, you may be able to rest easier as the days get longer.

A safe home is a happy home

Health and safety agencies often use daylight saving time to remind people to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and test them. The American Red Cross also suggests discussing a fire escape plan with your family and then practicing it at least twice a year. How about an emergency preparedness kit? Spring is also a great time to check your kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with fresh supplies. If you aren’t sure what you need, the Red Cross has a handy checklist of what to keep on hand in the event of an emergency.

Don’t forget your CO detectors

While you’re walking through your fire escape plan, remember to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors. If you don’t own one, now is the perfect time to pick one up.  There are several indoor appliances that can result in exposure to carbon monoxide, including boilers, water heaters, and wood stoves. Even fumes from outdoor sources such as grills, lawn mowers, and camp stoves may cause CO leaks. Fortunately, exposure to carbon monoxide is easily preventable, starting with annual checkups of your fuel-producing appliances. If your detector does sound, leave your home immediately and call 911. And seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, or confusion.

Spring into cleaning season

Isn’t it interesting how once the ground begins to thaw, many of us need to scratch that spring cleaning itch? Suddenly we’re motivated to wash the windows, clean the gutters, reorganize the shelves, and dust every nook and cranny. Just be mindful of the physical toll that all this cleaning can take. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back; avoid or limit prolonged repetitive motions (hello, pressure washer!); and use ladders, lawnmowers, and other tools with caution.

Remember to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Take it one room at a time. If you decide to clean and organize your entire home, try to focus on one area or room, go from top to bottom (think about what gravity does to all that dust), then move to another only when you’re finished. That way, you’ll get the job done properly and feel a sense of accomplishment before moving on to the next room.
  • Follow the six-month rule. Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (with the exception of seasonal items), consider throwing it away, donating it, or selling it at a yard sale.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle. Paper clutter can pile up in a hurry. Rather than watch the pile grow, try setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house or shredding papers you no longer need. Periodically shredding documents that contain your account numbers, passwords, signatures, etc., goes a long way toward preventing your personal information from being compromised. Other documents, such as birth certificates and Social Security cards, are best kept locked up securely.

What do you say: Ready to put the Netflix binge-watching on hold and get serious about making your home a cleaner, and safer, place? Try these tips on for size, add a little elbow grease, and go out and enjoy all that free vitamin D.

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