Spring is in the air and we all seem to have lots of time at home these days, so why not make the best of it and check some chores off the list? Now is the perfect time to wash away the winter grime, open the windows (once the pollen subsides) and freshen up your home. We are all looking forward to better days, including warmer weather, backyard barbecues and entertaining with family and friends (once the social distancing and stay at home orders have been lifted)!
Here’s a checklist of things to do around the house and be ready for a fresh start.
❏ Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out cluttered cabinets, go through closets and ditch the clothes you no longer wear, and toss expired food and safely dispose of old medications.
❏ Service Your HVAC
Schedule a service appointment with your HVAC technician to check for signs of leaks, problems with electrical connections and wiring and efficient thermostat operation. Purchasing an annual service plan can help you save money in the long run as the routine service appointments twice a year can help identify problems before they become apparent.
❏ Check Plumbing
It’s a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. If you have a septic, think about the last time you had it serviced…if it’s been 3-5 years, then get on the schedule for a service.
❏ Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
❏ Inspect Perimeter of Home
Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Gutter covers that may have blown off over the winter? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.
❏ Clean Home’s Exterior
Wash the exterior of the home and clean the windows. For the home’s facade, it’s generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. Powerwash the driveway, porch and decking.
❏ Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.
❏ Rake Leaves
Gently rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. Too many leaves can cause an excessive layer of thatch, which can damage the roots of your lawn. They can also harbor disease-causing organisms and insects. However, take care because overly vigorous raking can damage new grass shoots. If you have a natural area and a larger property, mulching the leaves up in the natural area is a nice alternative to bagging up leaves for disposal.
❏ Seed or Sod Lawn
If you have bare spots, spring is a good time to seed or lay new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the remainder of the year. The peak summer heat can be too harsh for a new lawn. If you miss this window, early fall is another good time to plant.
❏ Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
While a healthy lawn is the best deterrent for weeds, some homeowners choose to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to minimize weeds. When applied at the right time, it can be effective in preventing weeds from germinating. However, a pre-emergent herbicide will also prevent grass seeds from germinating, so only use it if you don’t plan to seed or sod in the spring.
❏ Plant Flowers
After a long winter, planting annuals and spring perennials is a great way to brighten up your garden. It’s also a good time to prune existing flowers and shrubs and remove and compost any dead plants.
❏ Mulch Beds
A layer of fresh mulch helps to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. However, be sure to strip away old mulch at least every three years to prevent excessive buildup.
❏ Fertilize Lawn
Depending on your grass type, an application of fertilizer in the spring may help promote new leaf and root growth, keep your lawn healthy, and reduce weeds.
❏ Tune Up Lawn Mower
Send your lawn mower out for a professional tune-up and to have the blades sharpened before the mowing season starts.
❏ Inspect Sprinkler System
If you have a sprinkler system, check that it’s working properly and make repairs as needed.
❏ Check the Deck
If you have a deck or patio, inspect it for signs of damage or deterioration that may have occurred over the winter. Then power wash it and apply a fresh coat of stain if needed.
❏ Prepare Pool
If you own a pool, warmer weather signals the start of pool season. Be sure to follow best practices for your particular pool to ensure proper maintenance and safety.
This should be plenty to keep you busy for the coming weeks. Once it is all done, you will absolutely LOVE your home sweet home and be ready for a fresh new start!