If your mother hasn’t called to remind you yet (mine did), allow me: daylight saving time starts tomorrow, March 11th. Which means it’s time to move clocks forward an hour (and time for my semi-annual humiliation as I push a bunch of buttons on my oven clock and it just blinks back at me interminably.) As you go about your home doing this (hopefully with more skill than me), there are some other important household undertakings you should consider doing at the same time.
I’m not suggesting you do all of these things, but scan down the list and see if any of them make you think “Oy, I haven’t done that in awhile” — then pick those to tackle.
Change your smoke detector batteries. If you feel like you read this advice every time daylight savings starts or ends, it’s because IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT. Consider this: according to the National Fire Protection Association 3 out of 5 home fire deaths occur where smoke alarms are missing or don’t work. And 24% of smoke alarm failures are caused by dead batteries. So put in new batteries, test your alarm, replace your alarm if it’s more than 10 years old (there should be a date of manufacture on the back) and consider getting a carbon monoxide detector (or combo unit) if you don’t have one.
Wash your slippers. Have you ever washed your slippers? Sorry to break it to you but slippers carry a lot of dirt and bacteria on both the inside and outside.
Replace your toothbrush. The general consensus is to get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months so now’s a good time to take care of that if you haven’t recently.
Examine your fire extinguisher. I know, I’m back for another fire safety lecture. If you have one (and you should), you should be periodically checking to make sure yours is “charged” (the needle of the pressure gauge is in the green section). If it’s not, you need to service or replace it. This is a good time to check your inspection tag to see when yours needs to be looked at.
Wash your bed pillows. Even with pillow covers, dust mites and other lovely things find their way into pillows. Give yours a thorough wash every 6 months or so (here’s how). If they’re old and in a sorry state, replace them instead.
Fluff your pillows. Saggy or flat pillows? Sad. Throw them in the dryer for oomph or give them a rigorous manual fluffing.
Switch your ceiling fan direction. Depending on where you live and how optimistic you’re feeling about the arrival of consistently warmer weather, consider switching your ceiling fan direction to counterclockwise (or make a note to do so in another month or two). In cool weather you want the blades to pull air up (and push down warm air) and in warm weather you want them to push cool air down. Typically: clockwise in winter, counterclockwise in summer. Most fans have a switch either on the remote or below the blades.
Flip your mattress, sofa cushions and chair cushions. To keep these from wearing unevenly, they should be flipped and/or rotated every six months or sooner. It only takes a minute or two but can add years to their life.
Update timers on outdoor lights. Some outdoor lights on a timer are activated at dusk no matter what time we humans declare it is, but others will need a manual update.
Get rid of expired beauty products. Most makeup doesn’t have an expiration date like a dairy product but a POA (“period after opening”) symbol to indicate how many months after you open it, it is safe to use. A quick look at my own makeup and most are in the 18-36 month range (now if I could just remember when I opened them). Old beauty products can be less effective, cause irritation or harbor harmful bacteria so give yours a look over.
Get rid of expired medicine. Every time I sort through our medicine cabinet I’m surprised by how many expired medications I find. How to safely get rid of them? Many communities host hazardous waste disposal events (including medicine), some pharmacies (like Walgreens) have in-store disposal kiosks, or the FDA recommends mixing medicine with dirt, kitty litter or coffee grounds instead a sealable plastic bag and throwing away with your household trash.
Did you actually remember all your clocks? Many of them will change themselves because #2018 but don’t forget your microwave, oven, coffee machine and car clocks.