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Apr
17,
2013

Spring cleaning inside and out

You have scrubbed a winter’s worth of grime off your floors, vacuumed under the beds and cleaned inside of the cupboards. But your spring cleaning efforts shouldn’t stop at the front door.

When was the last time you surveyed the exterior of your home? Is the paint peeling? Is there a shutter hanging off centre or a rusty swing set in the backyard that is no longer in use?

Sprucing up the exterior of your home can be inexpensive, deeply rewarding and even increase the value of your home. Here are a few suggestions to help prepare your home and garden for the busy spring and summer seasons.

One way to assess the condition of the exterior of your home is to assume the critical eye of a guest arriving at your home. Try taking a walk around the block and approaching your home as if it was the first time you ever saw it. Does the front door need a new coat of paint or is the doormat raggedy after a winter of dirt and slush? Consider simple improvements such as polishing the doorknob, sweeping the porch, replacing the doormat or adding a plant to your entrance way.

Attention to these small details can help your home put its best ‘face’ forward.

After a long winter, it is once again time to allow fresh air into your home.

Begin by washing salt and dirt away from storm windows, then remove carefully while labeling each window clearly foreasy identification in the fall. Store storms in a safe place until you are ready to prepare your home for winter. Examine screens for snags or holes and either patch them or visit your local hardware store for a replacement. In addition, remove any branches, bits of paper or leaves that somehow find their way into your window wells over the long winter months.

If your driveway meets the foundation of your home, ensure that the joint is sealed properly with flexible caulking to prevent leakage. Driveway cracks can be repaired on an as-needed basis, since most driveways do not need to be re-paved entirely every year. Ongoing maintenance is a necessity in order to protect your home and your pocketbook from the heavy cost of repairing water damage.

Eavestroughs and drainage pipes must be free of obstructions. You can observe the drainage process by spraying your hose onto the roof and watching the water’s pattern as it moves down your roof. Make sure the run-off water flows away from the foundation of your home to prevent water damage. If not, try shoveling a narrow drainage route that slopes away from the building and ensure that excess water does not create a pool on your lawn or street.

As the spring thaw comes to a close, you may find leftover leaves or other debris that should be picked up or raked from your front and back lawn. Use the natural waste, such as leaves, as a nutrientrich mulch.
Before you know it, it will be time to begin mowing the lawn again. It’s a good idea to ensure that your lawn mower is well maintained in preparation for the growing season. If your garden shed is cluttered, consider attaching a pegboard to the walls to hang up tools, patio furniture cushions and gardening equipment, which will improve organization and make items easy to find.

Outdoor furniture can be cleaned using a mild detergent (such as laundry detergent) diluted in water. If your furniture still appears to be in need of a makeover though in good condition, simply replace the cushions to add new life to your yard.

Give the barbecue a thorough cleaning, including scrubbing the grill with hot, soapy water, and replacing the coals. Use a pipe cleaner to remove spider webs from the inside of PVC and rubber pipes before lighting up the barbecue; a buildup of spider webs can cause fires. If your wire brush appears greasy, consider replacing it. Often, the greatest obstacle in outdoor spring-cleaning is making the time to complete all the little jobs that need to be done.

Even those dedicated to an annual indoor spring-cleaning ritual, sometimes lose track of outdoor cleaning and maintenance.

Try to make a commitment in advance for a weekend of outdoor work, so that you can attack the project with the supplies you need, sufficient time and a plan. You’ll be glad you did.