My first house was a thirty year old colonial, the previous owners had built and raised their family in. Despite emptying my savings to purchase the house, I initially felt I was squatting in someone else’s home. It was the smell primarily, a vanilla scent that came and went. It sometimes became so overpowering that a visiting friend half-jokingly suggested it was a ghost. It took four months of searching before I finally discovered the source: a small bowl of scented oil hidden behind a heat register. Removing the scent instantly changed the way I felt about my new house. No longer did it belong to someone else, now it was my home.

Here is a simple list of chores to help rid your new house of it’s former occupants.

Paint Closets

Painting closets may seem like a waste of time and money, but closets are usually the most ignored part of the house. Buy a cheap semi-gloss white paint. Semi-gloss gives you the ability to wipe away scuff marks. Paint the trim, ceiling and walls the same color. You will be amazed at how much cleaner it looks and feels.

Disinfect all light switches, electrical outlets and doors

Food for thought, last time you were ill did you disinfect the doors and light switches? Every time you open a door or turn off a light switch you leave behind body oil, not to mention germs. This dirt and body oil builds up over time and is often overlooked while cleaning.

Take two hours and disinfect all the electrical outlets, light switches and doors in your new home. Remember to disinfect the edge of the door, anywhere someone might casually grab to swing the door shut behind them.

Clean all vents and returns

Aside from finding hidden bowls of vanilla oil behind your vents, you will also find years of accumulated dust. If you have it in your budget hire a crew to come in and clean your ductwork, if you do not have it in your budget follow these simple steps.

1 – Go room by room. Remove all vents and returns, using a plastic baggy to hold the screws.

2 – Wash the vents and returns in the sink. For larger returns use a hose outdoors.

3 – Wipe down the wall and ceiling surrounding the vent. Vacuum the opening of the ductwork.

4 – After the registers and returns have dried replace them.

You’ll be happy the air you breath is no longer blowing through dusty grates.

Clean baseboards and ceiling fans

Many people do not regularly dust their baseboards and ceiling fans. The accumulated dirt can make the whole house feel years older than it is. Spend an afternoon with a damp cloth scrubbing the ceiling fans and baseboards. Not only will the clean baseboards look freshly painted, but the hard work you put in is encouragement to keep them clean in the future.


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