Handling the Change in Seasons: Winter to Spring
The long-awaited, sun-drenched days of spring are finally on the horizon. The snow is melting, the daylight hours are extending and yes, the birds are chirping. The spring equinox, or the first day of spring, is Sunday Mar. 20 and hopefully with it will come all of the welcomed signs of the new season. However, along with brighter days, fresh flowers and outdoor activities comes a period of change for your home and your health.
As you say goodbye to winter and greet the warm days of spring with open arms, consider these tips for handling the change in seasons.
For Your Health
The change in weather that normally accompanies the change in seasons can cause allergy symptoms for many people across the country. Warmer weather brings an increase in pollen which can irritate eyes, noses and throats. Mild spring rains can also promote mold growth, another potentially harmful allergen. To avoid negative reactions to pollen and mold, wash your hands and clothing after being outdoors and keep an eye on local pollen counts. When they are high, it is best to stay indoors and keep the doors and windows shut. To reduce mold growth, use a dehumidifier in areas prone to damp conditions such as bathrooms, basements and even kitchens.
When it comes to your health it's also important to remember that although there are finally blue skies again, it's not necessarily t-shirt or sandal weather just yet. Removing too many layers while it's still brisk outside may make your immune system more susceptible to a bug. It's always wise to stay updated on local temperatures and weather forecasts so that you can dress appropriately. Be prepared with a raincoat and umbrella if the forecast calls for rain - there's nothing worse than being caught in a damp, cold downpour without them!
For Your Home Decor
During those bitterly cold, dreary winter days, your home likely becomes a warm and cozy oasis for you and the family to retreat back to after venturing out into the arctic. Now that those days are behind you, you'll want your home to feel as bright and cheery as the new stretch of sunny weather. Put away thick, heavy blankets you'll no longer need, pack up any remaining holiday decorations and cut back on the number of candles. Consider replacing some of the darker accents in your living areas with brighter colors that add more pop. If you've had pillows, throws and rugs in shades of dark blues, browns and maroons, swap them out for light and playful yellows, oranges and pinks or even softer blues and greens. Best of all, take advantage of spring's most natural gift - a vase of beautiful fresh flowers.
For Your Indoor Air Quality
While you're busy transforming your winter wonderland into a springtime retreat, don't forget about upkeep. This is the perfect opportunity to embark on a little spring cleaning journey. After a long winter there's a good chance excess dust, debris and dander have collected in little cracks and crevices throughout your house. Before you begin, consider turning on an air purifier such as the Holmes® Mini Tower Air Purifier with Ultra-violet Technology. With its HEPA-type permanent filter that helps to remove up to 99 percent of airborne allergens, it can keep the air clean as you dust and vacuum. By keeping the air fresh and pure, you'll be able to breathe better as you do your spring cleaning.
Here are the best ways to insure your home's indoor air is as pure as can be for the start of another season:
- Upholstered Furnishings: After many cold nights of relaxing on the couch, your cushions will need a little extra cleaning. To start, bring all pillows and cushions outside and gently beat them to remove excess dust and dander. If they're in need of washing, follow the label instructions carefully. Use a vacuum with upholstery and crevice tools to get at those tiny corners under the seat cushions.
- Rugs and Curtains: These household items are two of the biggest culprits for gathering dirt and filth during the long winter months. The best way to clean them is with a vacuum. For extra cleanliness - depending on the type of material - they can be washed and cleaned with hot, soapy water. Some rugs may require professional cleaning services.
- Walls and Ceilings: Cooking and baking, heating systems and debris from the fireplace can take a toll on your home's walls and ceilings. Once again, a vacuum - your best friend for spring cleaning - can be used to collect initial dust and cobwebs. In some cases, a broom works well too. For areas that have accumulated grease, especially in the kitchen, you'll need arm strength and a solvent-free degreaser.
- Shelves, Tabletops and Mantles: The best tip for taking care of these sturdy storage units - dust, dust and dust some more using a feather duster. Once you're sure all of the debris is removed, use a slightly damp cloth to softly wipe down the areas.