You might be ready for warmer weather, but what about your home? Use this short checklist to do an outdoor spring-cleaning now so you can enjoy the months of sunshine ahead.
1. Clean gutters and downspouts
Through fall and winter, your gutters and downspouts can get clogged with the remains of leaves, bugs, dirt and twigs. It’s important to clear your gutters of this waste in early spring so heavy seasonal rain can flow quickly off your roof and away from your house.
- Clean out gutters: Using a gloved hand, remove all debris. Once you’ve removed all you can see, pour in a bucket of water to check for remaining clogs. If there are spots where the water pools, that area may need a more thorough clearing.
- Check the downspouts: After cleaning the gutters, pour a bucket of water into each downspout and observe the flow at the bottom. If the water exits much slower than the rate you poured it in, you may have a blockage. Try to clear it using a broom handle or garden hose.
- Consider gutter screens: Help prevent future clogs by installing gutter screens. While you should still inspect gutters and downspouts at least once a year, gutter screens make the cleaning process much easier.
2. Inspect and clean doors and windows
Clean windows let more light in, allowing you to enjoy the sunshine even if it’s not warm enough to be outside. Let even more light in, and get a jump on spring-cleaning and seasonal allergies, by washing door and window screens as well.
- Wipe down windows: Use a wet cloth or sponge to wipe down both sides of your windows. Clean dirt sills and crevices around the windows, including shudders. At the same time, check for failing window seals. Replace any that appear damaged to help control future cooling and heating costs.
- Clean the screens: When you open your windows or doors to let in a spring breeze, the dust, pollen or cobwebs on dirty screens blow right into your house. To prevent this, pull screens out of your windows and doors and lay them flat on a clean surface. Clean the screens by spraying them with water, and washing each side gently with a soapy rag or soft brush before giving them a final rinse. Let screens dry completely before replacing them.
3. Prepare your yard
Extend your outdoor spring-cleaning beyond your house.
- Tone up the lawn: Rake the yard to fluff up grass and remove matted leaves. Fertilize according to expert recommendations for your area and type of grass.
- Inspect your sprinklers: If you have a sprinkler system, test out all stations. Adjust heads that are misaligned, and clean ones that have blockages. If there are any leaks, get them fixed to avoid wasting water or unintentionally flooding parts of your yard when it's time to put the sprinklers to use.
- Get the garden ready: Uncover plants once the threat of frost is gone so they can start to benefit from longer, sunnier days. Spring is also a great time to put down mulch and prune many shrubs and trees.
- Check for standing water: Standing water attracts insects and pests and can signal a bigger issue for your home. Common culprits include poor drainage, plumbing issues and abandoned or improperly stored containers. Tighten up loose fixtures, add soil to low-lying areas and cover or remove any items that collect water.
- Clean your patio furniture: Whether your furniture was outside or in storage all winter, it's best to clean it before putting it to use. Wash it with soapy water and a rag or bristle brush, and make sure to flip it over to check for hidden cobwebs. Wash or wipe down cushion covers as well, even if they look clean.
Once this outdoor spring-cleaning checklist is completed, both you and your home will be ready for spring.
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