(image via here)
The get-it-done list for May... straight out of the "gentle reminders" section of my 5 years of Martha Stewart Living magazines. Started late? Check out the other months here.
- Give your bathroom a makeover. Bring out light-colored towels, and have a while shower curtain in linen or canvas to give the room a cool look. Was or replace the curtain liner, if necessary.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet every 6 months. Restock supplies, discard old medications, refill prescriptions, and replace any cosmetics that are aging (eye makeup, for example, lasts only three to six months). Make sure you have basic first aid items, such as bandages and pain relievers, on hand, too.
- Organize the pantry. Dispose of expiring items, replace spices and cooking staples, and stock up on nuts, olives, crackers, and other nibbles for entertaining unexpected guests.
- Clean the filter on your air conditioner once a month when you are using it frequently. This prevents dust and other allergens from accumulating. Turn off the unit, and remove the filter (refer to the manufacturer's instructions if necessary). Wash the filter with warm water and mild detergent. Let it dry completely before replacing. Also, vacuum vents of window units at the same time, to cut down on the dust that can clog its interior. If you have a central-air system, get it serviced professionally.
- Update your emergency phone list. It should include contact information for local police and fire departments, the poison control center, doctors and veterinarians, family and neighbors. Laminate the list, and post it near the phone. You should also program the numbers into your cell phone.
- Clean the refrigerator and freezer. Soak removable pieces in warm, slightly soapy water; loosen hardened spills on fixed parts by covering them with a damp sponge or cloth. Don't use bleach or ammonia, as these can damage some materials. To eliminate odors, wipe down all interior surfaces with a baking soda-warm water solution (one or two tablespoons soda per quart of water). Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator to remove dust and buildup. In older models, the coils are located in the back; in newer ones, look for them at the bottom, behind the front grill.
- Save energy in the kitchen. For the most economical use of electricity, make sure your freezer is fully stocked, but leave some space in the fridge for air to circulate and keep things cold. Check the refrigerator and freezer temperatures, using an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be forty degrees; the freezer, zero.