Regardless of whether the groundhog saw his shadow this year (he did), it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning. His return to comfortable quarters in Punxsutawney may have foreshadowed six more weeks of winter, but even so, spring is right around the corner and our spring-cleaning instincts will soon kick in. Before launching into house-cleaning mode, consider these five tips to help you get the most out of spring cleaning. Get rid of expired food. Check your cabinets and pantry for the aging box of Goldfish or the rolled bag of nacho-cheese Doritos that never were quite finished off. (Which is crazy, because everyone knows the best thing about eating nacho-cheese Doritos is getting to the crumbly parts at the bottom of the bag.) De-clutter. Of course, this is what spring cleaning’s all about. But getting rid of clutter not only makes wives happier, it discourages pests from invading your home. The attic, the basement, the garage, closets. There are more “storage areas” in your home than you may realize. Don’t forget to “spring clean” the outside of your home. Replace torn window screens, seal cracks in the foundation or in any entry points, stack firewood off the ground away from the house and trim back bushes and tree branches that come in contact with your house. Remember the kitchen and bathrooms. Both attract pests. Give ’em both a good, deep cleaning, especially around the refrigerator and stove in the kitchen. In the bathrooms, pouring a little bleach down the drains every once in a while will discourage pests. Remove stagnant water. Inside and out. Standing water by an AC unit, in the crawlspace or even inside under the kitchen sink or behind a toilet. Stagnant water attracts pests. Don’t give them a reason to want to stay. Spring is just around the corner. Welcome it with a pest-free home and yard.

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