MY TOP 10 SPRING PROJECTS FOR OUTSIDE the HOUSE:
1. Pressure wash the house and porches
Winter wreaks havoc on decking, porches, porch railing, and the exterior of your home. If you live in the South, you get the additional fun of layers of yellow pollen in early Spring to clean. After the pollen has fallen (cute, right?)- have everything pressure washed.
2. Re-paint porches if needed
Where needed, spruce up the paint. I re-paint the decking that is in direct sunlight every year, but my covered porch can go longer between fresh coats of paint. I love the Deckover brand of paint by Home Depot. www.thehomedepot.com
3. Clean out overgrown window boxes and add spring flowers
A fun project every year! Add fresh soil if needed.
4. Hang ferns on front porch
I take mine down when I decorate for Christmas. If the Winter is mild, I have ferns from the previous Summer. If not, I buy new.
5. Add fresh pine straw or mulch to flower beds
This definitely needs to be done after Winter. A layer of mulch keeps weeds down to a minimum, and helps to insulate the roots of your shrubs for the upcoming heat of Spring and Summer.
6. Trim vines and hedges
To stimulate new growth, trim up those vines and hedges. If they are flowering shrubs such as azaleas, wait until after they bloom to trim, or you will trim off their buds and be sorry you did it. Trim buds too early=no Spring blooms.
7. Freshen up the gravel around fire pit
Our well-used fire pit becomes a planter for Spring and Summer. The gravel around it needs refreshing at this time of the year. If you have any type of hardscaping, pressure wash it for a fresh, new look.
8. Clean windows and awnings
This can be done in a weekend while you are pressure washing everything else. In the South, wait until after the pollen has fallen.
9. Tune-up sprinkler system and fertilize lawn
Like anything mechanical, maintenance is required for long life and proper functioning. It's a good idea after a long Winter's rest to have the sprinkler system serviced- and while you are at it, get that lawn fertilized.
This is my favorite project - and I can't help but notice it is very trendy right now to clear our the clutter. Anything you haven't used in a year, throw it out, donate it, sell it. If you have a two car garage but can only squeeze one car in there, consider building a storage shed in your back yard for yard equipment. We did this, and I will blog about it when it is finally finished.
MY TOP 10 SPRING PROJECTS INSIDE THE HOUSE:
1. Steam the drapery
Ever noticed how drapery hangs? If yours is bugging you, they are either not hanging straight from the drapery rod, or they might just need a good steaming. I do this in the Spring to clean them, as well as give them a fresh look. I use a professional drapery steamer I purchased from The Home Depot. www.thehomedepot.com
2. Change out the throw pillows on my couches and chairs
For a change of scenery, I store the throw pillows from Fall/Winter, and bring out the brighter colors by adding new pillows or re-using stored pillows. I also like to change out heavier blankets and throws on my couches with lightweight versions in brighter colors. With slip covered upholstery, it's easy to do because anything I choose matches.
3. Bleach clean the kitchen counter tops and polish the kitchen cabinetry
For a quick, clean face lift for your cabinetry and counter tops, this is a must. Of course if you have granite or something that cannot handle bleach, deep clean yours with something recommended for the type of material you have.
4. Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans
Dust accumulates over the stuffy Winter months. This is a good time to clean your light fixtures and ceiling fans. Go ahead while you're at it and run your ceiling fan brush down the corners of walls - you'll be surprised how much dust and cobwebs hang out there.
5. Have the carpets steam cleaned
Do it yourself, or hire it out. Not only will your carpets look brand new, they will smell fresh, too.
6. Move winter clothing out of closet and replace with spring/summer clothing
This one is my personal favorite. I don't want to see heavy Winter boots in my closet once the weather warms up. All of that stuff gets moved to a different closet until next Winter. Anything I haven't worn in that season usually gets donated.
7. Clean out the refrigerator and freezer
Now is a good time to clean out the refrigerator, freezer, and well - if you use your oven a lot, go ahead and clean that out as well.
8. Touch up painting
After a good deep cleaning, I like to touch up trim paint - especially baseboards and hand railing that gets a lot of use.
9. Treat house for insects
Whether you use all natural products or have your house professionally de-bugged, Spring is a great time to prevent insect infestation inside your home. I especially worry about fleas and cockroaches - if you live in the South, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Some people around here call those roaches Palmetto bugs - sounds a lot cuter, but they are roaches, okay, and I don't like them! I do my own insect control, and after everything is super clean, I go ahead and treat the house for insects before the weather starts to warm up.
10. Deep clean the floors
This is no fun, but in my house, needs to be done. I have Saltillo tile floors, and they need to be deep cleaned and re-glazed about once per year. It looks so pretty when I'm done, and really is just a part of the maintenance of my home.
Do I really do all this stuff? Well, yes - I do. My husband helps out, of course, but we actually enjoy taking care of the house. Some projects are more fun than others, but when we are all finished, the house looks fresh and ready for a new season. If you haven't performed seasonal maintenance in awhile at your own home, now is a good time to start! If it seems overwhelming to you, cut the list in half and prioritize the top 3 or 5 to get it done. After all, your home is your biggest investment - might as well take good care of it so projects don't become extremely pricey and overwhelming by ignoring the maintenance that can be done once or twice per year.