Thursday, April 1, 2010

Done it lately? (April To Do)

 (image via here)

The get-it-done list for April... straight out of the "gentle reminders" section of my 5 years of Martha Stewart Living magazines. Started late? Check out the other months here.
  • Clean stubborn spills and splatters that have hardened on the interior of your microwave. Place a wet dish towel inside, and heat it for about thirty seconds. The steam will loosen buildup; use the hot cloth to wipe it away, placing a folded dry cloth over the wet one to protect your hand. Remove any residual odors by heating a bowl of water with a few lemon slices in it for thirty seconds.
  • Wipe out garbage cans. Wash the interiors with a solution of one gallon hot water and one-half cup washing soda, such as Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (available in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores).
  • Get your gas grill ready. Wash the outside with dish soap and water; rinse. Scrub burners with a grill brush; clear clogs with a pipe cleaner or needle. Spray the interior with a grease-cutting solution made of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water. Close lid, and let sit for at least an hour; scrape gently with a putty knife.
  • Have your lawn mower tuned up and its blades sharpened. Refill gas containers and buy oil for the mower, as well as for other small-engine equipment, such as a week whacker. (Make sure that you buy the correct formula for each machine.)
  • If you don't use them year-round, pack up room humidifiers for the season. Before storing, replace old filters, and remove mineral buildup. Soak interiors with undistilled white vinegar, and scrub with a soft bristle brush; rinse with clean water.
  • Clean window screens. Bring screens outside. Stand them against a wall or lay them on the ground. Using warm water and mild dish-washing detergent, clean mesh and frames with a scrub brush. Rinse with a garden hose, and air-dry. During the rest of the year, keep screens clean by wiping them with a soft brush.
  • Clean dirt and lint from inside your washing machine. Wipe the interior with a clean, damp cloth, then run a short hot wash cycle with detergent; rinse the empty machine with a plain water cycle. If the machine is exceptionally dirty, fill it with a disinfecting solution: 3/4 cup chlorine bleach and 1 tablespoon powdered detergent for every gallon of warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then drain and rinse a few times.
  • Schedule a tune-up for your car. Request that your tires be changed or rotated, the brakes and fluids checked, the wiper blades replaced, the air conditioning system and four-wheel drive serviced, and the under-body steam cleaned. Drop by the car wash for a detailed cleaning on the way home.
  • Road rules. Properly inflated automobile tires ensure better handling on the road as well as optimal gas mileage; keep a tire-pressure gauge in your glove compartment and check the pressure monthly. The right tire pressure for your vehicle can usually be found on a sticker on the driver's side door-jamb. Consider filling tires with nitrogen, an option at auto shops; it maintains pressure longer than regular air.
  • Pack or restock a car breakdown kit. Fill a canvas bag with such items as a flashlight and batteries, fix-flat spray, jumper cables, flares, motor oil, and a small tool set. Stash the kit in your trunk.

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