Spring is arguably the best season. Kids can finally escape the house, exploring beyond the gaze of parents. School is nearly over. Filling the air with promises of a carefree summer. Spring also brings excitement for homeowners. A chance to dream of planting new gardens, expanding that small kitchen or building a new great room. Yet, before starting the big projects consider a spring maintenance check of your home.
For homeowners who completed a thorough check last fall, spring’s work should be easy. See, Buildwise’s Fall Home Maintenance Checklist for a detailed discussion about critical autumn home maintenance projects. No matter how diligent your fall routine however, don’t skip the spring checklist below. Wipe off winter’s patina so you can thoroughly enjoy an enchanted summer.
☑ Spring Cleaning
Bet my parents thought I’d never say this, but spring cleaning can be fun. It’s an important time to physically and emotionally make way for summer by reorganizing the clutter and cleaning the grime accumulated over a long cold winter. Many cultures feature spring cleaning holidays and rituals. While it’s hard to imagine the spiritual side of spring cleaning today, this simple task is still very important for life.
Organize the Mess
Start by looking for piles of clutter. OK stop looking and actually remove them. Yes, tackle that stuff you were too lazy to deal with during winter. It’s warm, spend a few minutes in the garage. Put away items of use and recycle or dispose of the useless.
Clean the Grime
Outside – sweep the garage slab, patios, walks and decks. Wash especially dirty areas with a hose or bucket. Also wash walls as needed. Check the gutters and downspouts, make sure they’re not clogged. Clean the windows and glass doors.
A word of caution: Don’t reach for the power washer. I know it’s tempting to use technology instead of elbow grease, but power washers remove more than grime. Why risk a repair project to save a time?
Inside – scrub the floors, dust the shelves and open windows to air out rooms. Breath in the fresh air, isn’t it great? Pull the rugs and beat them outside to remove winter’s dust buildup. Have the wall to wall carpet steam cleaned.
Look for animal signs
Winter is when mice and other animals look for warm places to nest. Check your garage, basement or crawl space for signs of infestation. Now that spring has arrived the animals may have left. Consider live traps if they haven’t. Remove animal waste. Be careful, animal droppings spread disease. Follow the CDC’s guidelines. Once clean, seal areas to prevent infestation next winter. Consider hiring a pro if problems persist.
☑ Inspect for Winter Damage
While you’re cleaning look for winter damage. Make a list of items to fix before next winter. Deal with problems that could cause immediate damage, like loose roof tiles or broken panes. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You have all summer. But don’t procrastinate, develop an action plan and schedule.
☑ Prepare for Summer
If you were diligent last fall, your hoses are actually stored away. Now is time to bring them back outside in prepare for yard work.
Hopefully the yard furniture, umbrellas and cushions are also stored away. Re-decorate your outdoor living spaces and get ready for summer nights outside.
While you’re at it, make sure windows and doors operate effectively. Bring the cool evening air inside to use less air conditioning. For older homes, remove the window film or exchange storm panels for screens. Have no screen doors? Try a new magnetic screen door alternative. They work great with pets.
Consider installing ceiling fans in bedrooms if they don’t already exist. Get the swamp cooler up and running, check the AC. Turn off the humidifier. Haven’t changed the air filter? With AC the furnace acts as an air handler even in summer.
☑ Now it’s time to dream
However, start with making winter bearable next year. Be practical and modest. Dreaming about the new gourmet kitchen may provide hours of escape and excuses to visit Houzz. But do you really have the budget or space? Often small changes make big differences. Adding a window which provides for an indoor potted garden might make all the difference on cold dreary days.