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Overlooked Spring Cleaning Jobs

by Tucker Robbins

Spring cleaning is a time-honored, worldwide tradition of sorts.  For centuries, humans have been opening their windows and doors when the warm weather returns, allowing the long daylight hours inside, and cleaning everything in sight.  Thankfully, we don’t have to wipe through a Winter’s worth of soot-covered furniture and windows, but for many, deep cleaning is a must this time of year.  Some cleaning jobs are obvious, but there may be a few things to add to your list. 

 

In the Kitchen 

  • - Refrigerator coils can gather lots of dust and pet hair, along with spills from the fridge.  Getting the coils cleaned as much as possible can make a difference in how well your refrigerator motor runs.  Check with your appliance’s manufacturer website for the best way to perform this task. 
     

  • - The dishwasher doesn’t get dirty, because it’s a washer, right? While they clean, dishwashers can have greasy build up. With vinegar, baking soda, and a bit of elbow grease, Wikihow shows us how to get the dishwasher itself to help us get it sparkling clean and smelling sweet. 
     

  • - Herbs and spices are often overlooked while cleaning pantry shelves.  McCormickⓇ reports that whole spices last 3-4 years, 2-3 years for ground spices, and herbs have a shorter life of 1-3 years.  Check the freshness date on the container, and if it’s within that time frame, keep it.  If not, throw it away and restock your spice rack. 
     

  • - Don’t neglect the freezer compartment when you’re wiping down the fridge.  A mixture of equal parts of hot water and white vinegar to wipe down the door, seal and inside will take care of the grime, and help with any lingering food odors.  Before you refill the freezer with food, go through it and toss anything that looks freezer burnt. 

 

The Bathroom 

  • - Give your toothbrushes a good clean.  Pour about an inch of antibacterial mouthwash into a cup and soak the bristles in the mouthwash for about five minutes, and rinse. If you use a toothbrush holder, wash it in warm soapy water and allow to air dry before returning the toothbrushes.
     

  • - Bathroom exhaust fans can collect dust like ceiling fans, and the buildup affects how well it exhausts the humidity warm showers cause.  Danny Lipford of Today’s Homeowner has step-by-step instructions for getting your fan clean and running efficiently. 
     

  • - Many of us don’t think of cleaning hair and makeup brushes.  Remove loose hair from hairbrushes and combs, allow them to soak in warm water with some shampoo mixed in, and use an old toothbrush to scrub hairspray build up and body oils and rinse.  Makeup brushes should be soaked, given a lather, then rinsed in cool water.  Air-dry everything on a hand towel. 

 

The Rest of the House 

  • - Light fixtures get grimy and dusty, so covers should be removed after turning off the circuit breaker and washed in warm soapy water then air dried on a thick towel.
      
     

  • - Remove mattresses, vacuuming both sides, and if possible, prop them in the sunlight for a few hours.  The sun’s rays freshen and can kill some germs. When you replace them on the beds, make sure the mattress is flipped and rotated from its original position.   
     

  • - HVAC registers should be vacuumed, using the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner.   

  • - Curtains and blinds collect a lot of dust, but are usually washable, so check the manufacturer’s information before you toss them in the washer or clean them.   
     

  • - Once your deep clean is complete, take care to wash or clean brooms, mop heads and dusters, as this simple move will help your home stay fresher as you do your regular cleaning. 
     

     

Hopefully, the season of Earth coming back to life will encourage you to get everything in your home spic and span.  Spread it out over a few days or weekends, making lists to stay organized and on task, so the job won’t overwhelm you.  Don’t forget to get the family involved!  Once everything is gleaming, you can enjoy the coming months more, knowing your home is clean, and the job is done for another year. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins

 

Photo credit: housebeautiful.com

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For March 2018

by Tucker Robbins

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Home Decorating and Design Trends for 2018 for New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

A new year means that new home decorating and design trends are being featured in magazines, on blogs, and at home shows.  If you like to stay on top of the newest ideas and get an itch to get to the paint store when you see the most recent magazine layouts, here are just a few of things that are trending now. 

 

  • - In spite of what we see on house flipping television shows, the open floor plan is losing some popularity.  People are starting to define their open spaces with small partitions, paint, and other clever ways. 
     

  • - Natural things like wood, botanical prints and florals are still hot.  Wood is still king in the flooring department, and wallpapers and fabrics will be featuring natural prints. 
     

  • - For kitchen countertops, quartz is moving up the ranks because of its beauty and ease of care--it doesn’t need sealing like marble and granite, and it’s also heat resistant. 
     

  • - Accent walls are painted in bold colors, or covered with wood or bold-printed wallpapers. 
     

  • - Metallic pieces are making a comeback.  Finishes in brass and even stainless black are taking over stainless steel and brushed nickel.  Good thing that mixed metals are an acceptable look. 
     

  • - Larger tile on floors and backsplashes are coming in style, but the classic subway tile is still number one because of the clean, classic look it has. 
     

  • - Concrete is showing up in unusual places, like flooring and walls.   
     

  • - Smart technology is being integrated into almost every room of the house, including the bathroom

     

    -Vanity mirrors with smart screens built in, chromatherapy, and touch-free fixtures are becoming more popular and affordable.   

     

    - Trends in lighting are still leaning towards the vintage look, but pendants are especially stylish, and brass is the new brushed nickel. 

     

    The definition of trend, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a prevailing tendency or inclination; a general movement.”  In other words, trends are temporary, even if they last for years. Make it easy on yourself if you love a new look, and try a few ideas in your home, but don’t undergo a complete remodeling to meet today’s en vogue styles.  Stick to easily changeable trends, such as throw pillows, slipcovers, paint, and wall coverings.

     

     

    Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

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    Photo credit: lampsplus.com

St. Patrick's Day in America

by Tucker Robbins

St. Patrick’s Day has become a highly celebrated holiday in the US.  When Irish immigrants came to America, they chose that day to celebrate home and all that was Irish.  It took until the 20th century for people of non-Irish descent to join in the festivities.  Many American cities turn green on March 17, even coloring waterways green, not to mention green food and drink, and shamrocks on every corner.   

 

  • - Boston, Massachusetts hosts the reportedly oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade, and has grown substantially since the first parade of Irish-Catholic Redcoats marching down the streets with “Fifes and Drums” to honor their home country’s saint.  The South Boston parade route is three miles long and is attended by a million spectators.   
     

  • - Green water isn’t a welcome sight for most people, except on St. Patrick’s Day.  Savannah, GA, and St. Louis, MI, celebrate with city fountains flowing green; in Chicago, a portion of the Chicago River is dyed green, and Tampa’s Hillsborough River becomes the River O’ Green.   
     

  • - For 245 years, the streets of Philadelphia have filled with marchers, and the parade has grown to approximately 20,000 participants, including bagpipes, floats honoring the patron saint, and, in 2018, will be led by Grand Marshall Sister Mary Scullion, a member of the Catholic Religious Sisters of Mercy.   
     

  • - O’Neill, Nebraska is home to the world’s largest shamrock, and they celebrate the special day with a parade that centers around the giant concrete leaf and includes a dodgeball tournament. 
     

  • - San Francisco boasts the largest celebration in the western part of the country, and not only has a parade and lots of Irish music, but a huge scavenger hunt.  Party-goers enjoy a unique dish for the holiday--Irish nachos made of fried sliced potatoes, of course, topped with cheese, bacon and jalapeños. 
     

  • - New London, Wisconsin becomes New Dublin on March 17 after residents dressed as leprechauns, with city officials’ approval, change the signs in the town. Their parade isn’t complete without a parody adaption of James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake,” using a green hearse. 
     

  • - Yes, Virginia, there is a Dublin in the US, and it’s located in Ohio!  The city hosts plenty of festivities for everyone, and the local Lions Club holds a pancake breakfast fundraiser with--you guessed it--green syrup! Before the parade begins, onlookers get to enjoy the Inflation Celebration, where the large inflatable parade entries are brought to life, and it’s a sight to see!  

 

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can be as unique as the cities they are held in.  If your local festivities aren’t as different as these, every town and citizen can still be Irish on March 17.  Just be sure to wear your green to avoid a pinch from a leprechaun! 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins

YOUR HOME SEARCH STARTS HERE

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Photo credit: kokefm.com

Late Winter Gardening Maintenance for New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

Birds are singing, the days are noticeably longer, and your yard is looking as drab as Winter. Here are some guidelines for late winter outdoor maintenance so you can take advantage of warmer days to get a jump start on the growing season.   

 

  • - Now is a great time to prune dead wood and suckers out of flowering trees and shrubbery.  If you have plants that bloom in spring or bloom off old wood, wait to cut it back until after it flowers. Cutting them back now will take off the new flower bud.  
     

  • - After pruning fruit trees, spray with neem oil to help prevent any pests that have overwintered and can destroy your Summer harvest. 
     

  • - Rake leaves and other debris so your lawn can absorb as much sun as possible to look its best. Place debris in the compost pile. 
     

  • - Don’t wait to start mowing the lawn in a few months to find a mechanical problem.  Home Depot offers some tips for getting your lawn mower ready for the busy season. 
     

  • - Check your irrigation system for any cracks if the cold weather has been brutal this year. 
     

  • - Have your garden soil tested through your local cooperative extension service.  
     

  • - If you haven’t already, get your seeds ordered and started as soon as possible. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has some great advice for indoor seed-starting. 
     

  • If you see daffodils blooming, that means it’s time to get cold weather veggies in the ground:  onions, garlic, sweet peas, salads, carrots and potatoes are cold-hardy and will be ready for harvest first! 
     

  • - Cut back ornamental grasses and mow any natural wildflower landscaping you may have. 
     

  • - Don’t put away the bird feeders just yet--keep them full, because winter fruit is fading, and their favorite insects haven’t ventured out yet.  Clean your hummingbird feeders with a bottlebrush dipped in warm water with white vinegar, rinse, and allow to sir dry.  If you’re not sure when to fill them and have them ready, read this hummingbird Spring migration information from The Spruce. 
     

  • -Mulching now is a good idea, unless there has been a lot of snow and rain in your area.  Before you put down new mulch, make sure the ground has had some time to dry out. 

 

Maintaining plants and plant beds in late Winter will give you great results when the growing and harvest seasons begin.  Your outdoor space is a year-round job and getting an early start may save you some time and energy when the temperatures are soaring.   

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: getholistichealth.com

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Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)