As we set our new website and blog into motion, First Story is excited to announce the launch of the ‘Nuts n' Bolts’ category - a monthly series dedicated to first time home owners. You will see many things here that are near and dear to our own personal lives: green living, frugal choices and healthy spaces.

This month we will help you move your home into Spring gracefully.
Early April brings rising temperatures, blooming flowers and here in the PNW melting snow in the mountains…. all marvelous signs that warmer days are coming. But, that sun streaming through your windows also brings to light the dust and water spots and all things neglected over the winter. We were all hibernating while our house seemingly collected ‘stuff’. Did I really buy all these things? And I could have sworn I cleaned out that closet last week!

Well, no need to fret. Here are 19 Essential Spring Cleaning Tips sure to get you on the right track!

Dust Off Your Living Room

1. Move couches, chairs and end tables and clean behind and underneath them.
2. Clean the windows and window sills with dishwashing liquid and water and vacuum out your window tracks.
3. Change your air filters. Nearly all homes use a standard air filter size, easily found at big box stores.
Spruce Up Your Kitchen
4. Defrost your freezer and wipe it out.
5. Clean out and wipe down your fridge and your cabinets. Throw away expired food & don’t forget to check that spice rack.
6. Replace kitchen sponges and brushes. Disinfect sponge holders and drying racks.
Freshen Up Your Bathroom
7. Dust those light fixtures!
8. Get rid of bacteria. Throw away any expired makeup or beauty products, especially old liquid foundation & mascara. Change out your toothbrush. Get a new loofa. Replace your toilet brush.
9. Clean your shower head with a mixture of vinegar and water. Check the grout in your shower. Re-grout areas that are weak or damaged.
Revamp Your Bedroom
10. Flip and rotate your mattress.
11. Clean out your drawers and closets. Box up winter jackets and boots. Donate unwanted items to a local non-profit or veteran’s organization.
12. Dust off your blinds and ceiling fans. Swiffer sells a great wand duster that does the job on both!
Get That Garden Ready
13. Plan a garden area. Look around your yard for a convenient area where water is easily accessible and sun will be adequate.
14. Build new garden beds or boxes.
15. Inventory left over seeds so you don’t over order. Also note that some seeds may have expired or be out of date.
16. Clean out last year’s beds or boxes. Pull out all leftover weeds and plants and loosen up the soil to prepare soil for planting.
17. Amend the soil by adding compost. Maybe you have been making your own or maybe you can find a local farmer willing to let you haul off some manure…. either way, adding compost to your soil will give your garden an amazing boost!
18. Get your seeds order in! Doing this as early as possible ensures that you don’t miss the planting window for your favorite garden delights!
A Tiny Little Lawn Tip
19. As the snow is melting off of your lawn, do you see patches of grass that is matted down? This will be a problem if you don't correct it. When your lawn comes out of dormancy, these patches will smother the green grass and kill it, leaving dead spots in your lawn through the summer. Now is the time to fix it and avoid the consequences. Remove the matting by raking out these patches and lifting up the grass. If you have many areas or large areas that are matted down, you may consider mowing your lawn before raking to help remove these matted patches.