Time to "spring ahead" on Sunday - are you ready? Daylight Saving Time is a great biannual reminder to perform regular maintenance and cleaning of your home's systems. These six things are simple, inexpensive and will give you untold peace of mind that your home is safe and comfortable!

  1. Test Safety Equipment - Push the test button on all of your home's smoke alarms to make sure the batteries and the units are functioning correctly.  As a reminder, the National Fire Protection Association suggests having a smoke detector outside every sleeping area, in every bedroom and on every level (including the basement). Also test your carbon monoxide detector and check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers.
  2. Clean Carpets and Rugs - Rent or buy a machine that deep cleans carpets and bring rugs in high-traffic areas to professional cleaners. Manufacturers suggest deep cleaning at least once per year so the spring cleaning time is perfect!
  3. The Big Dust - Each time the clock jumps ahead or falls back is a good time to dust the areas and items that don't get regularly dusted: baseboards, light fixtures and bulbs and other nooks and crannies that often get overlooked.  Start up high and work your way to the floor for a most effective deep dusting.
  4. Clean Appliances - It might seem counterintuitive, but your dishwasher and washing machine both need to be cleaned at least once per year. There are several step-by-step guides to easily and effectively washing each appliance, but start with this one for the dishwasher and this one for the washing machine.
  5. Wash Your Pillows - All you need are two tennis balls to make washing your pillows a simple task that leaves them plump and refreshed. Wash two pillows at a time on the delicate cycle and then throw the two tennis balls in the dryer along with a dryer sheet. Just twice a year keeps you sleeping easy!
  6. Clean Out the Cabinets - It's normal for certain oft-used cabinets to end up in disarray over time. Tupperware, the medicine cabinet, linen closet, even the spice rack can get dirty with debris and expired items. When the clock jumps ahead and hour, go through those hectic cabinets with a tidy eye.