Spring Cleaning

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Friday — The First Day of Spring

Saturday — The First Day of Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning is the time of year when you drag everything out after being cooped up all winter and clean it all out, give everything a clean shake. It probably was a little more obviously necessary before the age of our modern cleaning conveniences. Still, the idea definitely continues to have merit. There are certain tasks that if you don’t have a planned schedule for them, they don’t seem to get done.

Case Number One: Window Cleaning

It is amazing how easy it is to ignore a window.  With climate control you don’t have to open it often, and with all our internal entertainment devices we might not ever look out of it very often. We can get the effect of light through translucent curtains that let in the light, and obscure the dust and grime on the windows.

When you do actually open the windows, and see the grime, the response is, “Oh, we need to clean these windows sometime.” Sometime never comes, of course, and then you get reminded several months later while actually using the windows again.

This was our cycle after moving into our new home, until a couple of years ago, when we finally instituted a spring (and fall) cleaning schedule. This past Saturday was Spring Cleaning for the windows.

Now, you think cleaning windows is a simple thing. And it is, in definition. Until you start realizing all the peripheral cleaning involved. Because the glass is perhaps the simplest portion of cleaning windows. It does no good to have a clean window, next to a very dirty window frame (especially if said frame is white!).So you clean the surfaces around the window on the inside of the house, and then open the window — to see the amazing number of spaces involved in the window construction accessible to debris from the outside. A lot of dirt and dust and plant matter can accumulate in the sliding track areas for both the upper and lower windows and sliding screen. This can become a process of years to clean. You think you have it clean, and then see another space a bit further back that could be cleaned. Each spring and fall uncovers a new hidden area that dirt accumulates in that can be cleaned.

Case Number Two: “Maintenance Free” Siding

I can remember buying the seamless siding for our house when we got it and thinking — no need to paint. The did mention hosing it down once a year, but that statement sort of got lost in the euphoria of the no paint thing. And it took almost a decade, and an especially wet, cold summer, to notice the green that was starting to creep into the blue on the sunless side of the house. For a couple of

For a couple of years I tried long-handled brushes, which decreased the green, but were too much troubleto manipulate.  So last year we bought the $99 power sprayer at Home Depot and I used it to power scrub the sides of the house. Amazing how much bluer it is — even where it didn’t look green. The sunless side of the house still has some trouble green spots that don’t go away easily (of course that side of the house has the section 3 stories off the ground that even with a ladder are hard to get power water on). But it looks better, and the trouble spots get easier with each cleaning.

Spring cleaning for the siding is still a few, undetermined, weeks away. Because I coordinate that with another task I didn’t do well the first decade in the house — cleaning the gutters. Technically, i suppose, gutters are a part of the siding (they were installed by the same people). I wait to clean them in the spring until all the maple seed helicopters have fallen and can be removed at once. Then while I have the ladder out for the gutters I use hose down the siding and use the ladder where assistance is helpful for that. Fall cleaning, similarly, comes on a good warm day after all the leaves have fallen and I can clean them out of the gutters before winter.

Case Number Three: Deck maintenance

Our house came with a wonderful back deck, built by the owner three people before us (who just happened to be the minister that officiated at our wedding — we didn’t know that before signing for the house, but it was a great sign that we had purchased the right place!), but decks require maintenance.

Since we purchased the house from someone who does decks, and decorative concrete, etc. (Big Red Pressure Washing) we hired them every other year or three to do the decks for us, so they would be done right. We always appreciated their work — excellent workmanship, excellent folks, excellent prices, but then came the year where we didn’t have the money to hire, and I had to extend the timeframe by trying to do it myself.

That was last year, (see blogs on water main issues to house) when the budget got swallowed up by the water main repair. This was also before the purchase of the power washer. So I scrubbed the green of with brush and soapy water, then meticulously stained all the wood.  It looked really good. But this year again the green is creeping in. Once again, no funds to hire (see post about new roof) and so I expect to once again paint the decks. But this time I’ll research how to powerwash them first, and see if I can do that right with my new toy from last year. So I expect to spend several days going from deck to deck, moving as time and weather allows, to keep the green from encroaching on the wood. (Anyone experienced that wants to tutor me in the process is welcome to, if you can come by and lend a hand even better, LOL).

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