Many people have a love-hate relationship with cleaning. They love it for the result, but they hate it because they don’t know where to begin with the process. Here are the areas homeowners should focus on most with cleaning. Outside Gutters should be secure, free of leaks, and free from debris. Any soil sloping toward the basement should be evened out to prevent foundation damage, which may be indicated by cracks in the concrete structure. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by a professional. Shrubs and trees should be cleared of winter damage. Safety Features All smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should have their batteries tested and changed regularly. Homeowners should make sure all doors and windows open and close properly; ones that don’t could indicate a problem with the home’s foundation. Bedroom Flipping or rotating mattresses will help eliminate dust and allergens, as will washing pillows, bedding, and curtains. The homeowner should take care to wash and dry bedding before storing it because moths and insects are attracted to natural body oils. Each bedroom should be dusted thoroughly, starting with the highest points and ending vacuuming of the floor. Living Room Living areas can easily be updated with a coat of paint or a change in light fixture. New pieces of art or furniture can be found at local thrift shops at a low cost. Even adding two large mirrors on opposite walls will create the illusion of an entirely different room. Floors Carpets should be cleaned thoroughly with a vacuum and shampooer or carpet steamer. Rugs should be shaken and laid to air out on an outdoor clothesline. All sidewalks, porches, and entryways should be regularly swept to keep dirt outside. These are just a few cleaning tips that will enhance your home.[...]

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Harsh winds, snow, rain, sleet, and hail — don't you hate stormy weather? Well, how do you think your house feels? Our poor homes are battered by the elements year in and year out. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to stormproof your house. The first place to start is with your windows. Westfield, MA homeowners can perform a few simple modifications to maintain their windows and keep raging storms outside where they belong. First off, let's look at a few small, DIY weatherproofing improvements you can make to your trim, frames, and sashes. With some adhesive weatherstripping, you can seal your sash channels to insulate them from moisture and extreme temperatures. Foam weatherstripping is easy to install, and it’s usually available for a low cost at hardware stores. By the same token, you can caulk up the thin channel where the window trim meets the wall, which will keep that nasty weather from sneaking in through the cracks. Be sure to use waterproof, paintable caulk that you can color to match your walls. These small, cheap jobs will keep everything dry while saving you money on heating and cooling bills. To go the extra mile when storm-proofing the windows, Westfield, MA homeowners might consider buying a weatherproof film that can be applied to windowpanes. This product can be stuck in place with double-sided tape then zapped with a hair dryer so that it shrinks to fit the surface. This insulates the glass and prevents cracking. If you're willing to make more of an investment, you can even install wooden shutters over your windows to create a solid barrier against harsh winds, rain, and flying debris. We can't control the weather, but we can outfit our homes to withstand whatever Mother Nature has in store. With a few modifications to their windows, Westfield, MA locals can strengthen their homes against the Northeast's brutal winters and stormy summers. [...]

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