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Spring Checks More Important Than Spring Cleaning!

Spring comes with fresh energy and often we get motivated to clean closets, sweep behind forgotten spaces and haul things to the thrift store. I find this so utterly satisfying as we get ready to embrace busy summers full of fresh herbs, garden foods and outdoor activities. Leaving (and returning) home becomes much easier to do when there is order and simplicity to be had.

In all of your seasonal cleaning, let's not forget to think about areas that are often neglected! (Here is your reminder. :) )

-Check Smoke detectors: 3 out of 5 fire related deaths occur due to smoke detectors not functioning as they should. A monthly test should be done and it is suggested to change battery out at least once a year even if it has not indicated it has a need. (Don't throw them out if they are not beeping low! Repurpose them into a child's toy or an alarm clock back up.)

-Check Carbon Monoxide detectors: These detectors too should be tested monthly and batteries replaced yearly at minimum. Additionally, take steps to ensure all gas appliance vents (e.g. fireplace, dryer, stove, furnace) are free of debris and clear of build-up as these issues contribute to carbon monoxide issues in the h0me.

-Update your medicine cabinet: Check dates on pharmaceuticals. Discard them properly! Your pharmacist may have a biyearly disposal program. Essential oils, hydrosols and herbs can last for years depending on what type they are and how they are stored. Light and heat affect them and cause them to oxidize. This will happen more quickly if they are left out in a sunny window or warm location. Be sure that your essential oils are stored upright and in a cool, dark place. Citrus oils are especially susceptible to breaking down and can be stored in the fridge. Citrus oils last about a year normally. Most essential oils should be replaced about every 3 years with the exception of patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver and ylang ylang as these get better as they age. All essential oils should be kept out of reach of children. Use essential oils on their way out in cleaning products. Herbs should hold their color and smell. Glycerin tinctures are only good for 1-3 years and alcohol based ones 5 years or more.

-Cleaning Products: Conventional products are dated and need to be checked. Read warning labels for safety and keep out of the reach of children. Check all child safety locks on your cabinets to be sure that they are functioning well. This also goes for natural cleaning products! While not toxic to use as a human they can contain constituents that should not be consumed by your pets or young children. (Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and essential oils are our main cleaning products and still need to be put out of reach or kept safe.)

-First Aid Kits: Check and restock! Many powdered herbs and basic supplies last years but should be checked. Essential oils in hiking packs and first aid kits easily get tipped over and the oil can sit against the plastic dropper tops (I tend to be very selective in what I put into my packs for this reason.) They are also exposed to heat more often than my normal indoor stock as we are outdoors a lot.

-Take time to review your emergency family plan: As children get older (or littles get added) considerations such as family codes and escape route options can change. Be sure to talk about alternate paths to get out in case of a fire, how to determine whether or not it is safe to open a door and where to head in case of a tornado or hurricane. We include how to handle a stove top fire, oven fire, how to dial 911 and a basic review of CPR and Basic First Aid protocols.

-Inspect door and window locks: Be sure locks are working properly and any screws are snug. We did a great post on improving your home security! Check it out: Simple Steps To Improve Home Security (

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