With spring’s warmer weather and longer days — not to mention the yellow blanket of pollen that covers everything — many new homeowners feel the urge to tackle spring cleaning projects. Whether you want to increase your home’s value and safety, create a tidier environment, or spend a few hours puttering around outside, here are some spring cleaning projects that will make a big difference in the look and feel of your home.
Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
Your gutters and downspouts route water off your house and away from your foundation, where it would otherwise cause mold and structural damage. When leaves and debris clog your gutters, they can’t function properly. Clogged gutters also make an inviting home for rodents and other pests.
While cleaning your gutters and downspouts, consider some upgrades or additions. Instead of letting all that rainwater drain into your yard, you can install a water barrel to capture it. You can use that rainwater to water your garden and save some money.
Another attractive upgrade for your gutter system is to replace one or more downspouts with a rain chain. Rain chains are decorative chains that hang where you’d otherwise have a downspout. Water runs down the rain chain like a downspout, and the runoff can be directed into a rain barrel or channeled away from your house. In addition to looking and sounding lovely during a rainstorm, rain chains won’t clog like traditional downspouts — which will eliminate one chore next spring.
Power Wash Your House
If your home’s exterior is looking a little grungy, power washing it can make it look fresh and clean. You’ll need the right equipment and some protective gear to get started.
Power washers clean with a powerful jet of water that can cause serious damage if used improperly, so protective gear is a must. Make sure you’re wearing goggles, gloves, and protective footwear. Keep children and pets away from the area where you’re working, and the power washer can send unsecured objects flying, so be careful where you aim it.
Start by removing any loose items or large debris from the area as well as removing all window screens. Cover any electrical outlets, light fixtures, or other items that may be damaged by water. And wet surrounding plants with a regular water hose to protect them from the power washer’s soapy runoff.
Apply detergent to the area you’re cleaning using a low-pressure nozzle on your power washer. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, but don’t let it dry on the surface. Switch to the high-pressure nozzle and rinse from the top down, keeping the nozzle about two or three feet away to avoid damage.
Repeat as needed. When you finish, let all surfaces dry completely and then remove protective coverings. Your house will look sparkling clean and ready for the new season.
Clean Your Windows
You probably clean the inside of your windows as part of your regular cleaning routine. However, on the outside, your windows are exposed to the elements and build up layers of dust and grime. Cleaning your windows can let in more light and brighten up your entire house.
You’ll need a water hose, bucket, soap, window cleaner, squeegee, sponges or cloths, and a sponge mop for high windows. To clean your windows:
- Remove the screens and spray your windows with a water hose.
- Fill the bucket with water and a few drops of soap.
- Wipe the windows with sponges or the sponge mop to get the worst of the grime.
- Spray your windows with window cleaner and dry them with a squeegee.
- Clean the screens by rinsing, spraying with window cleaner, and then rinsing again.
- Finally, dry the window to avoid leaving water spots.
- Step back and enjoy the view.
Trim Trees and Bushes
Keeping your trees and shrubs pruned is another task that can seem tedious but provides many benefits. Overgrown, unattractive shrubs make your yard look shabby, even if you keep your lawn meticulously trimmed. Pruning improves the long-term health of your plants and makes room for new growth. Dead branches can allow diseases to take root and spread.
Even if you aren’t a gardener, some strategic pruning can help increase your home’s value and safety. Branches close to your home’s roof can allow squirrels access to your roof — and possibly your attic, where they’ll happily set up home and raise their babies. Unfortunately, they can also damage your house’s structure and wiring, creating a fire hazard.
In addition to increasing your curb appeal and deterring pests, regular pruning can also improve your security. Trimming shrubs close to your house to below three feet can help deter burglars. Taller bushes provide too many hiding places and block your neighbors’ visibility of your home.
Organize Your Closets
“Out of sight, out of mind” is an apt description of closet clutter. Even if you’d never allow clutter to pile up in your living room or bedroom, you probably have some shelves or drawers in your closet that are bulging with clothes and other items you never use.
Cleaning out and organizing your closets is a great way to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather. You can put away your winter gear and bring out your spring and summer wardrobe while you’re at it.
An organized closet will make it easier (and faster) to get ready and leave the house in the morning looking composed – no more wearing a wrinkled shirt that has been sitting in the dryer for several days.
To start organizing your closet:
- Gather your supplies, including a donation bag, measuring tape, a full-length mirror, and a catch-all basket.
- Empty everything out of your closet and clean it thoroughly.
- Try on, sort and declutter everything you pulled out. Donate anything that no longer fits or doesn’t reflect your current style.
- Look at what you have left and decide if your current storage system is adequate or if you need to add some drawers, baskets, or shelves.
- Finally, put everything neatly back in your closet.
Stay on Top of Regular Home Maintenance
Sometimes home maintenance can seem like a full-time job. HomeKeep is an all-in-one home maintenance app that helps you manage and maintain your home. Whether or not you have a home warranty, HomeKeep can guide you through performing minor repairs and maintenance so that they don’t turn into major repairs.