end of winter checklist photoLocal weather forecasts keep teasing us with milder days, which can only mean one thing — spring isn’t too far away!

But before you celebrate by packing away the sweaters and dusting off the lawn furniture, remember…we live in northeast Ohio. Besides, we still have February to get through. So, climb out of that saddle, cowboy. It ain’t over yet.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to keep busy during the last month or so of winter that will give you a leg up on your spring cleaning. Here’s a checklist of things to do that don’t require going outside in the cold.

1. Replace the air filter in the furnace — If you’re doing it right, you put in new filters at the start of the cold weather when the furnace started to kick back on. However, those are only good for one to three months and need to be regularly changed to maintain clear, freely flowing air in your home. Many websites tout the benefits of high-quality air filters, but the stingiest HEPA filter might not be the best for your furnace because it can slow air flow. Check this guide to ensure you’re buying the best filter for your furnace.

2. Scrub the kitchen cabinets — You don’t realize how much grease builds up on your kitchen cabinets until you really look at it. If you plan to sell your home this year, remember: greasy cabinets are not a charming feature, especially when the grease has a layer of dust stuck to it. Spray your cabinets with that citrus-based cleaner and let it soak for a minute or two to cut through the grease. Dampen a sponge and nuke it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Put on some rubber gloves (because that sponge is gonna be hot) and wipe down the cabinets. Clear away any remaining residue with a dry paper towel. If there’s still a thin layer of leftover gunk, respray with the cleaner or some watered-down white vinegar and wipe them clean with a paper towel.

3. Clean oven range hood and fan — Not all ovens have a hood and fan feature. The ones that do need to be cleaned regularly to remove any built up grease. To start, use a citrus-based cleaner to thoroughly clean the range hood or microwave inside and out. We’re talking the sides, underneath, and even on top. Then, remove the grease filter from the fan and scrub it in hot, soapy water. If you have a dishwasher, they work well for cleaning the filter.

4. Clean oven and stove top — And don’t stop with just wiping down the top either. Scrub the knobs, remove the burners and clean the drip pans, and run your oven’s cleaning cycle. Use the hot sponge technique from #2 and wipe down everything to get those stubborn grease stains out of your life.

5. Sanitize hand-held devices — Remote controls, lamps, alarm clocks, doorknobs, tablets, garage door openers, can openers, coffee makers, your phone…pretty much anything you put your grubby paws on all winter.

Lint Removal

Wipe them down and sanitize as much as possible to remove all of the built-up grime and dust…not to mention any germs from colds or the flu.

6. Dust, dust, dust — Deep clean your carpets, rugs and curtains. Wipe down blinds, ceiling fans and fixtures. And go on a dust mite rampage by washing your bedspread, shams, bedding and drapery.

7. Clean lint from the dryer exhaust duct — Lint that builds up in the dryer is one of the main causes of household fires. In addition to removing the lint from the lint trap every time you use the dryer, clean the exhaust duct once every two months.

8. Check for ice dams or icicles — Ok. We lied. You’ll have to go outside for this one. But it’s really important. Built up ice dams and icicles can damage your roof and gutters, cause leaks, and lead to damage that will cost some coin to repair. Nip this one in the bud and get out there.