Courtesy of Tammy Colbow

SPRING CLEANING FOR CONDO DWELLERS Condos may be known for having lower maintenance requirements than a single-family home, but that doesn’t mean condo owners can skip spring-cleaning entirely. May the following list help you streamline your scrubbing and dusting activities – so you can get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Bathroom deep clean. Ah, the bathroom. The place in every home, no matter the size, that just doesn’t stay clean. Whether you’re a regular scrubber or tend to neglect the grime that builds up in the bathtub, spring is the perfect time to really get into every corner. Grab your rubber gloves, an old toothbrush and your favourite abrasive cleaner and go to work. Baseboards and trim. An area of the home that definitely gets overlooked during regular cleanings are baseboards, trim and any other decorative mouldings. Give them all a vacuum, a dust and a wipe. And while you’re at it, give your doors and windowsills a tidy-up. It’s amazing how cleaning up the smaller details of your home will make everything seem shiny and new. Cupboards and closets. This step is less about scrubbing and more about organizing. If you tend to shove things into every available cabinet – and who doesn’t – now is the time to go through your storage spaces and purge what you no longer need. Then, invest in some boxes, baskets and labels and create a place for everything. Wash your un-washables. Anything that you don’t – or can’t – regularly wash should be aired-out, vacuumed or sent to the dry cleaners. This means curtains, duvets, furniture and throw pillows. You know all of those small attachments that came with your vacuum cleaner? Now is the time to use them. Prepare your outdoor space. Whether you have a tiny balcony or a good-sized patio, it’s time to prep it for all your favourite outdoor activities. This task is perhaps the most rewarding of all your spring cleaning to-do’s because it signals the beginning of good times spent outdoors. Give your outdoor area a sweep and a wash. Bring out your pots and planters and – depending on where in the country you live – plant a few annuals. And of course, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. Because spring is on its way!

HOW TO SPOT WATER ISSUES IN A BASEMENT If you’re buying a house with a basement, know that every basement has the possibility of water getting in simply by nature of it being in the ground. Water follows the path of least resistance and can find its way into a basement over time. Watch out for these potential warning signs that a basement has had water problems in the past, has current issues, or is a wet mess waiting to happen.

Water stains. Water stains on walls and floors can be caused by circumstances other than outside water getting in. Perhaps a laundry tub overflowed or a pipe leaked, but has since been fixed. Still, it’s important to note them, ask questions, and look for other signs of water damage. Damp smell. Excess moisture has a musty, earthy smell. Again, a damp smell doesn’t necessarily mean water has come in through cracks in the foundation or slab, but pair it with water stains and other signs of dampness and the case for a wet basement strengthens. Mould spots. Just because something looks like mould, doesn’t necessarily mean it is mould. But any spots that look black, brown, yellow or green on walls, floors and ceilings should definitely be noted and further investigated. Mould can be a serious health concern, especially for young children, senior citizens and those with respiratory conditions. Water-removal equipment. If a basement is filled with large fans, pumps, mops and other equipment used to dry up excess water, take it is a sign that the basement indeed has water issues. However, don’t write the home off because of this. Perhaps there were water problems in the past and they’ve been dealt with. The best way to know for sure if it’s a current problem – or will cause problems again in the future – is to hire an independent building inspector.

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