Punxsutawney Phil may have said 6 more weeks of winter, but with PCS time around the corner for some, military families’ minds have turned to spring cleaning. There is something therapeutic in clearing out a closet and going through that box you moved with two moves ago. Whether you are moving or not this summer, take a month to clean out clutter and organize your home makes moving the next time that much easier. If you are spring cleaning this year, consider using these items that you can get from your base Exchange to tidy up around your home.
- Storage Tote Bags: These are the unsung heroes of many a move. These square bags come in a variety of sizes from small to extra large. Store quilts, blankets, and towels in them when you are not using them seasonally. Place seasonal clothing in them in a closet. This removes clutter from valuable drawer space, but the clear bags keep them in eyesight so you are prepared when the season is upon you again. And the best part, they slide easily into moving boxes. When you unpack them on the other end, you pull them out and are ready to use them.
- Seasonal storage: Have ornaments, lights, and stockings? Put them all in one storage bin and label it for the holidays. Better yet, get specific containers for ornament storage to protect valuable and sentimental items. More into pumpkins, ghouls, and spider webs? Get a large storage bin to provide better protection than a cardboard box for a move. Labeling each tote will help you determine what everything is in your storage area at a quick glance. If you are moving, labeling will help you determine where to put it when you unwrap the non-descript brown paper the movers placed on it. And goodness knows it will be labeled “tote” and not “Halloween decorations.”
- Binders: Yes, raid the school supply section for binders. Even if you aren’t moving, keep a list of high-value items updated each year, updating it during spring cleaning. If a high-value item breaks in a move, the amount provided by the moving company should be replacement value. It helps to have an updated link of the high-value item and the item number for this replacement. Keeping all high-value items in one location in a binder is paramount.
- File folder: Every year update your families’ paperwork – make sure you have copies of marriage certificates, divorce decrees, any legal documents, passports, birth certificates, etc. Have them all in one place. This allows for easy reference if needed but also to ensures you have everything updated. Renew passports, as you are able to. Make sure you have enough copies of birth certificates, especially if you have a consular birth abroad certificate as these can take several weeks to process and receive a new copy if the original is lost.
- Stamps/Stickers: Consider a family stamp or sticker to put on totes as you organize and spring clean. This makes it easy to identify what items you may have added to your household goods during a move, and what you may be able to thin out and purge If you have duplicates of.
- Zip ties: This may sound silly, but hear me out. All those cords you have behind the tv, or the desk, can be messy. Zip ties are helpful to keep things clean and organized. When going through cords you may find you have extras you don’t need anymore – that charger for the computer that died can be recycled through e-waste.
- Denture Cleaning Tabs: These multi-use tabs clean a lot of things. Clean out your coffee pot of all the build-up with these tabs, or pop one in the toilet to get it squeaky clean. Cleaning these daily use items keeps them working longer for you, and prepares them for moves.
- Dishwashing gloves: While images of a 1950s housewife may pop into your mind when you see these listed here, they are worth it. Spring cleaning, and quite often post-PCS clean, involves washing a lot of dishes and cleaning a lot in general. These gloves protect your hands from the deluge of water and cleaning solutions.
- Disinfectant Wipes: If you can find them this year, these wipes are useful for cleaning and disinfecting bathroom and kitchen surfaces quickly and easily.
- An all-in-one mop: Cleaning the floors is not an easy task. A mop with the convenient storage of the cleaning fluid and spray is a lot easier than mopping the old way with a bucket and solution. And older children can manage it to help with the spring cleaning to-do list.
- Bleach: When diluted with water, this cleaning fluid can also disinfect non-porous surfaces and floors. Clean off mirrors in the bathroom easily, or wipe out the bathtub.
- White Vinegar: Another double-duty cleaner- use vinegar to clean out your washing machine, descale your coffee pot or single-use coffee maker. Mixed with water, vinegar is a useful multi-use cleaner for daily cleaning. Because it is also used in cooking, it is safe for younger children to clean with as well.
- Baking soda: This soft abrasive is well known for its disinfecting powers while you put one in the fridge and freezer to stop unwanted smells. It is also great for scrubbing bathtubs, toilets, and kitchen counters. It can pull up grime and yuck
- Broom: Sweeping under the cabinet’s nooks and crannies may not be done daily, but spring cleaning is a great reminder to get at it.
Spring cleaning isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Doing a large scale clean helps make the daily cleaning a little bit easier. And for a military family, can prepare them for an expected or unexpected PCS.
What is your favorite spring cleaning tool?