Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on March 12 in much of the U.S., meaning most residents will see their local time “spring forward” an hour. This change means later sunsets but at the cost of one lost hour of sleep that first night.
The entire concept of daylight saving time has become controversial, with many states pushing to make it permanent and thus eliminate the twice-yearly time change. But as long as it’s observed, it can be more than just an annoying nudge to fix those clocks that don’t adjust themselves. You can use this weekend when the clocks change to get yourself in gear in other ways.
Here’s a list of items you should consider taking care of at the same time (or just before) you adjust your clocks.
1. Flip or rotate your mattresses
Who doesn’t want better sleep — especially when we’re losing an hour of it? Surprisingly, many mattresses don’t need to be flipped twice a year, as consumers used to be told. Rotating it might be enough.
Research the type of mattress you have — only some innerspring mattresses need flipping while others from some top brands need to stay right-side up. Many people now own foam mattresses, and many of those companies recommend you rotate your mattress 180 degrees every three to six months. Pleasant dreams.
2. Wash your pillows
And while we’re speaking of sleep, what about those fluffy pillows? You should wash them about every six months or so, making the time change a good reminder.
Consumer Reports notes that it’s OK to just chuck down-filled and polyester-filled pillows into your washing machine and then your dryer, though foam pillows may need to be hand-washed.
3. Check those batteries
The National Fire Protection Association encourages people to associate the change to daylight saving time with changing out the batteries in home smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors.
It’s a smart way to ensure that these vital alarms always have fresh batteries — but you don’t need to throw the old ones away. If they’ve still got life in them, take the old batteries and put them into a remote control. a child’s toy or anything where a dead battery doesn’t mean a possible home disaster.
4. Prepare your grill
If you have an outdoor grill and perhaps haven’t used it much during the winter months, now’s the time to make it shine. Check the propane level, if your grill uses that fuel. And give the grates a good cleaning. You’ll be cooking outdoors soon enough, and you don’t want that old crud from barbecues past to flavor your burgers and steaks.
5. Prep your seasonal clothing
Sure, Floridians and people in other warm-weather places can wear the same wardrobe year-round. But for many of us, daylight saving time also falls right around when we start dreaming of packing away the parkas and digging out lighter items.
Raised in Minnesota, I know never to hide away all of the winter clothes this early in the year, but it’s a good time to go through that winter accessories box and discard mismatched gloves and boots that no longer fit, and perhaps pack away the ski boots or ice skates for a few seasons. Shorts and swimsuits, you’re on deck.
6. Reverse your ceiling fans
This was a new one to me. If you have a ceiling fan and it has a direction switch, daylight saving time is a good time to reverse it.
In spring and summer, you want your fan to spin counterclockwise, pushing cooler air down and creating a “wind chill” effect that cools a room without lowering the thermostat. In fall and winter, fans generally should rotate clockwise at a low speed, to pull cool air up and push warm air down along walls to the floor, making a room feel warmer.
7. Restock your warehouse-store staples
Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of the warehouse store Costco. And while I like to buy certain staples in bulk, I really don’t need to refresh those staples more than twice a year — I’m not running a daycare here.
The items I buy twice a year at Costco include trash bags, paper napkins, melatonin gummies and laundry and dishwasher detergent, though your mileage may vary. Costco sells these products in such large quantities that I find an every-six-month purchase mostly gets me through.
8. Clean your fireplace
We love to burn wood fires in our 1931 Tudor home’s elegant fireplace. We clean it lightly as we go, but after a few solid winter months of near-nightly fires, it’s time to really dig in for a deep cleaning.
Home Depot offers tips on how to deep-clean not just a wood-burning fireplace, but gas and electric fireplaces as well. Your fireplace will look better and be ready for the next winter’s slate of crackling fires.