Here in New England, the annual arrival of spring is a cause for celebration. Of course, for most homeowners, the celebration is generally rather brief as attention quickly turns to that annual post-winter ritual – checking things off the spring home maintenance checklist
There is much to be done. Why, the sheer volume of potential chores may even seem a bit overwhelming. So to help you organize and prioritize, we’ve compiled this list of 47 handy spring home maintenance tips.
Around the Yard
1. Debris patrol
Start with the big stuff. Remove any fallen branches or large piles of leftover leaves. You’ll also want to get rid of any sticks or stones before you bust out the lawnmower.
2. Remove dead plants
Of course, not all vegetation makes it through the winter. Time to clear away any lifeless flora to make more room for the survivors and any new plantings.
3. Yank those weeds
We all know that weeds spread like, well, weeds. And many gardening gurus are convinced that getting an early-spring jump on these ever-present pests can help reduce their inevitable spread. Some recommend following up your hand weeding by giving them a dose of organic weed killer.
4. Fertilize your lawn
Lawns wake up hungry in the spring. That’s why many lawn care experts recommend raking and then feeding your lawn in the spring to strengthen its roots and get it off to a good start before the heavy growing season.
5. Add some mulch
Mulch can be used both to suppress weeds and to add nutrients. Of course, there is much more to mulch that meets the eye. So if you’re not a master mulcher, here are some mulching tips from the folks at Weekend Gardener.
6. Prune trees and bushes
Winter can be rough on your trees and shrubs. Pruning damaged branches helps create stems that will eventually lead to new growth. Hand pruners are handy for small jobs; chainsaws and professionals for larger tree work.
7. Plant something beautiful
Some recommendations for good spring plants include: pansies, snapdragons, zinnias, lilacs and tulips. Most gardening pros recommend planting more perennials rather than annuals, because annuals have to be replaced every year.
8. Plant something tasty
There’s nothing that quite compares with serving and eating food you have grown yourself. Consult a planting calendar (here’s a New Hampshire-specific one from Urban Farmer) to learn what to plant and when, depending on where you live.
9. Clean out storm drains
If there are any storm drains nearby, clean any gunk, muck or yucky material away from the grated opening. This will reduce the chance of flooding and corrosion, and your city or town public works department will appreciate it.
10. Birdhouse maintenance
Keeping birdhouses, birdbaths and feeders in good condition is not only nice for your feathered friends, there’s something in it for you as well. That’s because birds provide the best insect control that nature has to offer.
11. Take care of your tools
It’s a good time to make sure all the tools you’ll need for spring and summer are clean and in good shape. So sharpen those shears and tune up that mower and give your lawn and garden equipment some love. You’ll be needing them soon.
12. Mending fences
Fences, gates, arbors, trellises. Have you got a shed? Such structures often take a beating from winter winds, frigid temps and snow. There’s a good chance they’ll need some minor repairs or perhaps a paint job.
13. Dethatching your lawn?
Dethatching home lawns, sometimes called the most overlooked landscaping chore for homeowners, involves using specialized tools to churn up the layer of thatch that separates those beautiful blades of grass from the soil below. Here is one lawn expert’s advice on dethatching.
Outside the House
14. Power wash
Windows, doors, patios, decks and railings. They’re probably a just a little bit filthy so blast them with a high-pressure stream of water and detergent to knock off the grunge. Of course, not everyone owns a pressure washer but they are easy to rent.
15. Check for peeling
Take a close look at the siding and/or the paint job. If it’s peeling, you probably want to pencil in some repairs or a paint job before things get worse.
16. Check for rotting wood
How did the exterior of your home hold up this winter? Any new signs of rotting wood? You probably already know where to look.
17. Look for damaged concrete
Concrete and stone work can also get roughed up, not only by the snow and ice, but also by plows and shovels.
18. Inspect your roof
Check to see if any shingles are cracked or missing entirely. If you have a roof covering, look closely for wear and tear. Be careful undertaking rooftop repairs yourself when there are qualified roofers available.
19. Window opportunity
Those storm windows aren’t going to change themselves. Takes a close look at your screens to examine them for any damage before popping them back into place.
20. Recaulk windows
While you’re focused on your windows, it’s also good to keep an eye out for any recaulking that may need to be done.
21. Pest control
Ants, cockroaches, silverfish, bees and wasps, ticks and termites. There are countless varieties of insect pests that you don’t want inside your home. Spraying your exterior with some perimeter pest control can help keep them out.
22. Spigots and sprinklers
Testing, testing. Make sure your water is still flowing outside by checking those outdoor spigots and faucets and making sure your sprinkler system is still in working order. Leaky hoses may also be lurking.
23. Check the lights
Porch lights, garage lights, security spotlights. Now’s a good time to run through a quick check of all your outdoor lighting fixtures.
24. “Summer-ize” your situation
Sure, we may still get a little more snow. So follow your instincts on whether it’s too soon to start putting away some of your winter equipment and supplies to make room for warmer-weather gear.
25. Prep your lawn mower
Basic springtime prep work includes: cleaning and debris from underneath the mower, change the oil, check/change the spark plugs, sharpen the blades, examine the belts and check the blade height (about 1 inch is considered ideal).
26. Inspect your grill
Check the hose from the fuel tank, and clean off any buildup and replace if there is any sign of damage. Take the grates out and give everything a good scrub down (even the grease trap). Then light it up and let it burn for a few minutes to make sure everything seems shipshape.
27. Making a splash
If you own a pool remind yourself to make an appointment to get it serviced soon. The forecast is calling for it to be summer before you know it.
28. Outdoor furniture
Whether it’s been out in the elements or packed it away in your garage, your lawn furniture is going to need some sprucing up before you can use it to kick back and relax.
29. Spruce up walkways
Your walkways may have gotten a little scraggly over the past few months. Time to tidy up the edges and hose down the main surfaces to wash away any leaf stains or algae growth. Look for cracks in walkways and driveways too.
30. Clean the garage
How’s your energy level? You could turn this into a major project or just give it a light sweeping and save the heavy lifting for later. (Too much clutter? Consider a garage sale.)
31. Bicycle repair
Those bikes over there in the corner, dormant since fall, will need to be dusted off and some fresh spring air pumped into their squishy tires. Not to mention a tune-up.
32. Clean your car (inside and out)
While you’re in spring cleaning mode, might as well give the car some TLC too. Might be time to put that windshield ice scraper in the trunk. You could wash the car too; then again, they also have drive-throughs for that.• Open windows and doors – If it’s nice out, let some fresh air in. Remember that thing called a “cross breeze”? You could probably get one going today.
Inside the House
33. Open windows and doors
If it’s nice out, let some fresh air in. Remember that thing called a “cross breeze”? You could probably get one going today.
34. Check the basement
Be on the lookout for any ice or water damage. Leftover wetness can lead to mold. How’s your furnace holding up? Could be time for a service call.
35. Chilling thoughts
If you have an HVAC heating and cooling system, you definitely want to change the filter (at least every spring and fall if not more frequently). Also, consider scheduling a service appointment with an HVAC contractor before the summer rush.
36. Unwanted visitors
Poke around the basement and throughout the house for telltale signs such as dead bugs, droppings, evidence of nesting, odd smells and sounds, holes and gnaw marks. All of these could indicate the need to contact a pest control specialist.
37. Bed time
Wash your bedding and pack up the heavy blankets as needed. Rotating and flipping mattresses will save on wear and tear.
38. Fashion forward
Bring those warm-weather clothes out of hibernation and prepare some of your cold-weather togs for a long summer’s nap. Use vacuum storage bags to keep clothes protected and save space.
39. Roll up your sleeves
Springtime is a good time to bust out and bulk up on the cleaning supplies. The time-honored ritual known as “spring cleaning” offers no shortage of activities.
40. Glass action
Welcome every single ray of spring sunshine into your house by washing the interior window glass.
41. Onto the looking glass
Shine up those mirrors, while you’re at it. (Bonus points for making funny faces at yourself.)
42. In the bathroom
No shortage of things to clean in here, now that you’re on a roll. Those fixtures and tiled surfaces could all use a good scrubbing. In the shower, lemon can help get rid of water stains; dryer sheets are good for cleaning buildup from glass.
43. In the kitchen
Clean out your cabinets to toss unused food; purge your fridge of outdated and unneeded items too. Scrub your stovetop (but don’t look inside unless you want another project). Spend at least 45 seconds on the microwave too.
44. Vacuum everywhere
Don’t forget to run that sweeper underneath furniture and beneath the cushions (this can sometimes yield a small fortune in lose change that can be invested in the stock market).
45. Safety first
At the risk of interrupting your cleaning momentum take a moment to replace the batteries in your household smoke detectors.
46. Clean, cleaner, cleanest
Honestly, there’s no limit to the amount of spring cleaning that could be done. Dust your picture frames, scrub your floors, wash the baseboards around the doors. And if you run out of ideas, here’s a much longer list of chores.
47. Common scents
Clean with essential oils to give your home a “spring-y” smell. Scents like lemon, lavender and orange are all seasonal and great for cleaning clothes, floors or countertops.
The home financing experts at Blue Water Mortgage compiled this handy checklist of spring home maintenance tips as part of our ongoing commitment to provide you with valuable information you can use to achieve your dreams of home ownership.
Be sure to contact us whenever you need professional mortgage advice, referrals to service providers or just looking for a friendly conversation about the often stressful process of buying or selling a home.