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Spring is finally here, and you’re probably considering a list of chores to keep your home safe, sustainable, and clean.

With the warmer weather ahead, a basic spring cleaning checklist can be a great way to ensure your house or apartment is maximized for the electric demands of the summer months.

Here are just a few spring cleaning to-dos that keep sustainability and cost-savings in mind.

#1: Clean windows and add sun control.

If your spring cleaning ritual includes cleaning windows inside and out, consider also installing a UV-blocking window film. Any local hardware store sells UV-blocking film, which can keep your home cooler in the spring and summer months and protect household items from sunlight fading and aging. Best of all, the film is quick and easy to install and adds privacy to your home thanks to its reflective outer covering.

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#2: Clean out your closet with a “capsule wardrobe” mindset.

You might call it the Marie Kondo effect: Capsule wardrobes are effectively pared down to a basic collection of clothing that results in a tidier closet and easier outfit decisions. The idea is to limit the clothes in your closet to approximately two dozen high-quality, mix-and-match staples. That can also help you forgo “fast-fashion” choices and join in the circular fashion economy, which prioritizes sustainable brands that are easy to repair, donate, and ultimately recycle to make new clothing.

#3: Replace filters and breathe easier.

We spend a lot of time indoors during the winter months, and the spring season is a good reminder to let some fresh air inside. In addition to opening windows, which helps give your heating and air conditioning system a rest, you may also want to do basic maintenance repairs to prolong the efficiency of your HVAC system. Start by replacing your unit’s filter, which should be renewed every few months, depending on what filter you have.

You might also consider scheduling a duct cleaning with a licensed professional, which helps remove dust and dander that builds up in the system over long periods. And don’t forget to replace other common household filters such as air purifiers, humidifiers, water filters, and refrigerators, which all have in-unit filters that need periodic replacement to maintain top operation and efficiency.

#4: Plant a tree for added home energy savings and environmental sustainability.

Mark your calendar now: Arbor Day is April 24, and it’s a good reason to consider planting a sun-loving tree if you’re a homeowner with some unused lawn space. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, one tree planted near a house can provide enough shade and windbreak to reduce home energy costs by a whopping 20 percent. Those savings can really stack up over time!

Planting a tree helps meet environmental and sustainability goals, too. A single tree can absorb approximately 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and you’ll be contributing to a tree canopy, which helps reduce summer temperatures by as much as 10 degrees in some cities.

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Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a contributing writer for the Washington Post, Thrillist, Eater, and Matador Networks. Follow him on Twitter: @TimEbner.

Washington, DC