As we emerge from winter hibernation, thick coats are swapped for lighter jackets and it’s time to take stock for the season ahead.

With summer approaching, now’s the time to start thinking about getting some household upkeep out of the way early, so you’re not left slammed in the holiday season when there are a million other things to think about.

Soft furnishings

It’s easy to remember to wipe down hard surfaces, but the often-overlooked soft furnishings in our homes also need some TLC.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan a sunny day to wash couch cushions, blankets, rugs or curtains that could be harbouring dust and bacteria.

Most of us wash the pillowcases on our beds, but the pillows themselves can harbor dust mites and fungi. It’s generally recommended you wash your pillow every two to six months – how to do so depends on its materials, so check the care label.

Clean your heat pump

You can clean your heat pump filter in less than 10 minutes using your vacuum cleaner and brush attachment. If you’re steadily blasting it throughout winter and summer, you should be cleaning it at least four times a year to ensure it’s working smoothly and to enhance its performance.

Windows and doors

After a damp winter, it pays to check the not-so-noticeable corners of your home. Windows and doors need regular maintenance to keep them in good working order and to avoid the likes of rot and corrosion. Look for signs such as chalky surfaces, condensation, mould growth, corroded fixings and blocked drain outlets – all indicate it’s time for a spring clean.

Take extra care not to damage the coating when cleaning coated or specialised glass – follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

The dos and don’ts of donating clothing

As the time comes to swap our winter clothes for more summery attire, sift through your wardrobe for items you haven’t worn in more than a year. Unless it’s a special-occasion piece, chances are you’re not going to be reaching for it any time soon.

Depending on the quality and value of the garments, you may want to sell them online or through a consignment store to earn some cash. If not, you can donate to your local op shop or clothing bin.

The golden rule of donating clothing is that items must be clean and in good condition. If you wouldn’t wear it because of a stain or rip, someone else won’t want to wear it either. Don’t pawn your rubbish off to an op shop, because it only adds to the staff workload. If the op shop can’t sell it, it’ll have to pay to dispose of it, which can take money away from the charity it could be supporting.

Consider repairing the item yourself or upcycling it. Clothing fabric can be turned into cushion covers, pet bedding or old rags for cleaning. Check if your local council knows of any recycling points and textile banks in your community.

Collectives such as Little Yellow Bird have a textile recycling initiative. Customers can buy a bag to fill with any 100% cotton items and send it to Little Yellow Bird, which will recycle the fabric into new clothing.

Interior walls

Walls and doorframes fall victim to greasy fingers, dust build-up and those random marks that seem to appear from nowhere.

When you’re around it every day, you may not even notice the build-up on your walls and doorframes. Give them a wipe-down and you’ll notice immediately how much fresher your place looks. Don’t neglect your skirting boards, either.

Exterior walls

Check your external walls for signs of general wear and tear. A little maintenance can help preserve the quality and look of the exterior of your home and avoid the need for more expensive upkeep in the future.

Depending on what materials your house is made from, keep an eye out for dirt or coastal salt build-up on cladding, cracked/flaking paint, paint chalking, mould and corrosion.

Clean your barbecue

Tackle cleaning your barbecue now so you’re not left panic-cleaning 10 minutes before your guests show up in summer!

Thanks to Consumer for another informative article.