The Art of Spring Cleaning
March 19th is the official first day of Spring! And here in Lander, the signs are obvious: winter is trickling away and spring is starting to take its first baby steps across the plains and mountains. We’re all itching to open the windows – and grab those dustpans and mops. After months of winter hibernation, it only makes sense to freshen up those interior spaces. But let’s not forget that it’s equally as important to maintain the exterior.
Incorporating the following into your outdoor upkeep regimen will not only improve health and safety of your home, but its longevity and value as well:
- Take a walk around the property to survey its overall condition and curb appeal.
- Check the sidewalks for weeds, cracks and unevenness
- Clean out the gutters along the walkways
- Make sure your lawn and garden are neat, mowed, trimmed, and tidy
- Give the front door a good scrubbing – and every once in a while, a new coat of paint can go a long way!
- Clean and repair windows and shutters
- Clean your siding, and don’t be afraid to repaint if necessary
- Make sure your rain gutters are clean and in good working condition
- Clean off your roof and make sure it’s in good shape
- Make sure any mechanicals and other equipment are in good working order as well – from propane tanks to wells to sump pumps.
Sidewalk, Steps, & Gutters
When approaching any home, the first impression it leaves comes from its outside appearance, which is why it’s so important to make sure the outside is tidy and welcoming. You will want to make sure steps and walkways are clear of debris, clean, and safe. After the winter months, the gutter may be clogged with leaves and branches. The sidewalks and steps may be darkened with dirt, grime, and salt stains. Pressure washing them is a great way to freshen them up! And as spring makes an appearance, try to stay on top of weed growth. Taking care of them before they’re well-established can make your life much easier down the road.
Rain Gutters and Downspouts
One of the best ways to keep your home looking good and free of water issues is to clear the rain gutters of debris. The quickest and easiest way to clean them is with a high-powered hose. If this hasn’t been done in a while and there are trees near your home, this can be a big job. To help clear things out a little, you may have to scoop out the compost with your hands. Don’t underestimate the importance of having clean gutters! Clogged or damaged gutters won’t drain efficiently, which can lead to issues ranging from water pooling in your yard to water damage to your house itself. Once you’ve cleared the debris, run water through the gutters to ensure they’re draining properly.
Next, if you have it, take a look at your heat tape. Make sure to unplug for the warm months if the heat tape isn’t set to a thermostat. If it has damage, it’s also important to repair it now to avoid being caught off guard if we have a cold, wet fall. If you remember, 2019’s October snow stuck around all winter long and caused a lot of issues!
While you have that pressure washer out, go ahead and give the siding a rinse. Getting the winter grime off the siding will make the house instantly pop. Now is also the time to have a closer look and see if the paint needs any touch-ups, or if you need to pull out the big guns and repaint the whole house.
If repainting is the way to go, remember: this is not the time to make a statement. Paint the house a neutral color. In the worst-case scenario, you may need to do some siding repair, but hopefully, you’ll just need to do a good cleaning.
Your roof keeps you safe and comfortable, withstanding all kinds of weather while providing needed insulation throughout your home. Spring is a good time to do a visual inspection of your roof to see if any damage has occurred from falling limbs or high winds. Take a few minutes to grab a ladder and check for loose or missing shingles. The older the roof, the closer look you’ll want to take.
You will also want to check your roof’s interior. Go into the attic and do a thorough check for moisture buildup or leaks. Either would be grounds for a call into your insurance company. Staying on top of roof issues is one of the best ways to reduce costly repairs or replacement.
Lawn, Flowers, & Shrubs
During the winter, your landscaping often suffers. Frost, heavy snow, and low temperatures can cause trees to lose branches and flowers and shrubs to die. In Lander, some of the first signs of green after the long winter usually start in March. While we may still see plenty of snow throughout the spring, now is the time to evaluate and make a plan.
March is often known as the “muddy season,” and for good reason. This is when we get most of our moisture. We recommend getting some grass seed down (or even sod if you can) to help get a jump on your landscaping and prevent erosion. Spread the seed on the bare spots and mulch over it with straw.
Speaking of mulch, a heavy application around trees, shrubs, and gardens is both aesthetically pleasing and helps you keep those pesky weeds away. It will also keep that Spring moisture in. Additionally, aerating the lawn this time of year while the ground is soft helps get the moisture down into the sod. Fertilizing is best done at this time as well.
If you have gravel or rock for landscaping, you may want to use a shop vac or compressed air to clean out any accumulated leaves and detritus. Catching the damage early and taking the time to fix it will save yourself money and increase the value of your home.
The front door is often overlooked – but it shouldn’t be! It is likely one of the dirtiest doors in your home, yet it’s the most important door to keep clean because it’s the first thing guests see. If you have a nice, updated door, then you may not need to do much more than give a good cleaning. Wash any glass both inside and out, and wash the door with a hose and brush. We don’t recommend pressure washing the front door because of the risk of water pushing through the weather stripping.
If your front door has peeling paint, you’ll probably want to scrape, prime, and paint it. This is one of the few places where a touch of color works well – but don’t get too wild. If you have an older door that doesn’t function well, you may have to bite the bullet and get a new door installed. A door that hangs up or is hard to close reflects badly on the house as a whole. There are many new options on the market to choose from that are both energy-efficient and attractive.
Windows & Shutters
When it comes to spring cleaning, the lowest hanging fruit is, of course, cleaning the windows. There’s nothing quite like looking through clean windows at the coming of spring green! While you’re at it, get in there and clean out the window tracks too. You want them to operate smoothly during the upcoming summer.
Most residents of Lander open the windows daily to let in the cool night air, which can cause some wear and tear over time. Now is a good time to fix any broken windows or screens and reapply caulking where it’s cracking or pulling away. Warmer days mean you can have a window open during repair without the cold winter air coming in. If you have shutters, consider cleaning them as well, and maybe even adding a fresh coat of paint.
Air & Heating (Mechanicals)
March is still a bit early to be thinking about cooling your home, but it’s never too early to plan. If you’re fortunate enough to have air conditioning in your Lander home, then you’ll want to have an HVAC professional conduct a spring tune-up. This will ensure that your air conditioner has a long life, keeps performing well, and will have fewer unexpected (and expensive) issues.
As a homeowner, you could also change out HVAC air filters yourself, which will reduce your energy bills. The clothes dryer vents usually need a little annual love too, not only because clogs can reduce its efficiency, but because they can be a safety hazard that you really don’t want to overlook. Be sure to clean any lint or lint clogs out of the dryer vent.
It Is Worth The Effort!
Taking the time and spending the money to stay on top of your home’s annual maintenance is always a great way to build equity and save money. Neglecting annual maintenance will cost you more in the future and will have negative effects on your home’s value. Get outside and start that spring cleaning!