The sun is staying out longer, and the days are getting slightly warmer. You know what that means: Spring is on its way. With the new season comes spring cleaning, and while getting our houses in spotless condition can sometimes be stressful, we prefer to think of it as a way to get creative and spruce up areas of our homes that we typically neglect. Here are five smart, expert-recommended hacks to help you get every nook and cranny of your home gorgeously polished. These spring cleaning hacks aren’t just functional — they’re satisfying and fun.
1. Find expired spices with a DIY lazy Susan.
It’s the perfect time to toss spices that are past their prime. To access them so you can spot expiration dates in a pinch, try making your own lazy Susan, says Eileen Roth, author of Organizing for Dummies. To do: Place a few marbles in a pie plate, set another pie plate on top, then place spice jars on top of that. The marbles allow the top plate to spin for easy spotting at a glance.
2. Update your medicine cabinet with color-coding.
A semiannual review of your medicine cabinet ensures you’re up to date on prescriptions and expiration dates. To make it easy, assign a color to each month or year, then affix a sticker in that hue to jars, tubes, or bottles with corresponding expiration dates. Now you’ll be able to see which medications and products are still good just by looking at their sticker.
3. Get your garden ready by wiping down tools.
“Bacteria, fungus, and other plant pests that may have infiltrated your garden last season can survive on tools over the winter, then reinfect your soil,” says Aaron Green of Essential Home and Garden. Now is a great time to give those tools a refresh. Just wipe them with a cloth dampened in 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol, which will kill any would-be soil invaders.
4. Avoid emergencies with a battery swap
Just like with your smoke detector, checking batteries in often-overlooked devices, like flashlights and carbon monoxide detectors, twice yearly ensures everything is in working order all season, says organizer Tim Wells of Garage Transformed.
5. Tune up your ceiling fan with the pillowcase trick.
To get your ceiling fan ready and working for warmer weather, give its blades a quick dusting so the motor doesn’t get clogged with gunk, advises handyman Rick Berres of Honey-Doers Roofing and Remodeling. Simply grab a pillowcase and wrap it around each blade, then pull. Any grime that gets dislodged will be trapped inside the case.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.