Tips on Spring has sprung and with it comes the cleaning bug. Many of us have the urge to rid our attics and garages of our outgrown hobbies or to pass along those once-essential baby items that are now just taking up space. Those pieces have been accumulating dust and dirt, so why not make room for new adventures?
But how do you go about cleaning everything? I recommend tackling the “hard stuff” first. Your belongings that are physically hard, that is. Metal, wood, and other smooth surfaces can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth. Rough or plastic surfaces can be hosed down, if they are especially dirty. However, avoid hosing down metal items as it might cause rust in those small crevasses. Items stored in the garage seem to have a habit of ending up with grease stains. (It’s a mysterious phenomenon that my husband swears has nothing to do with his tools.) Not to worry though. If there is something especially dirty or stained with grease, my “go to” is blue Dawn dish soap combined with a lot of elbow grease. I like to scrub with a toothbrush which is thorough, yet gentle. Most fabrics or cloth items should have a tag with the manufacturer’s washing instructions. If it doesn’t have a tag, spot cleaning with a mild detergent is the safest way to proceed. You can also launder many items on your washing machine’s gentle setting and hang them to dry.
With items where safety is a factor, I always recommend going to a professional. Taking apart and putting back together a car seat with all those parts and straps can be daunting, for example. The Tot Squad has been my go to cleaning service for every baby item I’ve passed along to friends and family. I also like to have them clean things before I pack them away. This helps prevent stains that show up over time (such as baby spit-up and breast milk) from later popping up.
If you plan on selling items, once your freshly cleaned possessions have had a chance to dry, take photos of them in a well-lit room or outside. If you plan on selling online, Craigslist is still probably the most popular platform. Or you can take your photos to the newest selling platform, the app. Apps like OfferUp, LetGo, Wallapop are gaining popularity by the day.
The key to using Craigslist or selling apps is to be safe in your transactions. Meet in a public place or even outside a police station. If the randomness and anonymity of using one of these sites or apps is intimidating, Facebook might be a better choice for you. Look up local Buy/Sell/Trade groups or ask local mom groups if they have a favorite group they use. The key to these groups if familiarizing yourself with the rules before posting. Often times, not following the rules will get you a warning, but being banned outright is not unheard of, either. Lastly, though selling online has become hugely popular, if you want everything gone in one fell swoop, an old-fashioned yard sale is the way to go.
Now that your garage is clear and your wallet is full, you are free to pick up a new hobby. What adventure is in your future?
Monica manages PR and communications for the online publication I Am Not The Babysitter and other sites. She is also a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and mother to Logan and Milo.