Jumping into Spring with Tips to Get Ready for a New Season

Spring has sprung and we couldn’t be happier to start packing away the winter clothes, snow boots and basically anything winter related. It’s time to embrace this new season with an appreciation for all it promises to bring. It’s a known fact that the shorter days and colder weather can make you feel down; there’s even a name for it, season affective disorder (SAD, an appropriate acronym). As a result, we are ready to not only dust off of our state of mind but also get our home in order. Just like us, they take a beating from the cold, so it’s important to take care of things we’ve had to neglect due to the weather.  Tackling these projects now will ensure you’re ready to enjoy spring before moving into summer!

Since the exterior of our homes bear the brunt of the cold season starting outside is best:

  • Check all windows and doors – the cold weather can break down the caulking and stripping that seals your doors and windows so take a walk around your home to check for any damage. Replace any old, cracked caulk and/or stripping for proper insulation. You don’t want to let the warm air inside especially when you’re running your air conditioner this summer!
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts – During the winter leaves and other debris can accumulate inside so it’s important to clean out and ensure proper functionality. Gutters direct water away from the perimeter of the home and with rainy months ahead you don’t want clogged gutters, they’ll only cause trouble.

Gutter

  • Service your air conditioner –To ensure you’re prepared for the hot summer days that follow spring, it’s a good idea to begin servicing your air conditioners Begin by replacing the filters to ensure the efficiency of the unit. Clogged filters make it difficult for the unit to work properly. For anyone with allergies, consider replacing the filter about every 60 days or so. For the more complicated servicing consult an HVAC professional at least once a year.
  • Landscaping – Check the surrounding areas of your home, both front and back, and sweep away any old leaves, debris, and tree branches. If your yard contains any bushes or plants give them a trim; most likely they’ve gotten a bit overgrown during these last few months. And don’t forget to replace that winter ravaged door mat for a fresh new look.

Trimming

  • Trim and siding maintenance – Icy and windy winter conditions can wreak havoc on the exterior which can be fragile. Contact a professional if you spot any damage.

Once you wrap up outside, here are some inside spring cleaning tips to get your home in order:

  • Replace damaged or torn window screens – For anyone who likes to keep their windows open it’s important the screens are in perfect condition. This will allow the maximum amount of fresh air to get into your home as well as keep insects like mosquitoes and flies outside where they belong.
  • A deep clean – Give extra care to cleaning your windows; take down and launder the window treatments, dust off the blinds, and clean them with a damp sponge. Carpets and rugs take a hit during the winter months so a deep steam clean will revitalize them. You can either hire a professional service or if you have some extra time, there are places that will rent the machine to you on an hourly basis.

Window Cleaning

  • Test all emergency systems – Check all of your systems (house, smoke, carbon monoxide alarms) to make sure they’re working properly. These units should be tested regularly and spring and fall maintenance are the best times to do this.
  • Ceiling Fans – You might not realize this but the direction of the blades makes a difference. In addition to giving the fan a good cleaning, you’ll want to change the direction of the fans to blow air down to give the room a breeze and make it feel cooler.
  • Store dry goods in airtight containers – With the warmer weather insects return so it’s important to store all your dry goods in sealed containers as well as wash out your pet’s bowls after every meal.

Food Storage

  • Organize, organize, organize – File, shred, and eliminate any clutter. Clean out cabinets, toss anything old such as medicines and cosmetics, and donate or discard get rid of any unnecessary items you don’t use or need.

9 Tips For Summer Security While On Vacation

Departing the city shouldn’t lead to parting ways with your prized possessions. Here’s our guide to keeping your home safe so you can be on vacation with good faith – thanks to Oprah and Independent Traveler.

150604 - unplugUnplug to unwind
Disconnect appliances. Unplug all appliances, large and small.

Travel lightly
Leave your lights on timers. Timed lighting in main living areas simulates occupancy. Consider connecting your home to Nest or Lutron so lights, television and music can be switched on by tapping your smartphone to outsmart the curious.

150604 - answerLeave the city, not a trail
Don’t broadcast your absence. A burglar can easily be tipped off to your absence by social media posts, detailed out-of-office email messages and an unanswered phone. Turn off your home phone ringer and keep your everyday answering message in play – not one that says you’re on vacation.

Blind-sided
Leave blinds and curtains in their usual positions wherever possible, taking care not to expose valuables that’ll attract prying eyes. Noticeable changes could hint that you’re not around anymore – especially if your curtains are uncharacteristically left closed for two weeks. Move expensive items, like jewellery or computers, out of plain sight if they’re visible from the window.

I-D your valuables
It’s not just your jewellery and tech gadgets you need to keep safe – it’s your paperwork too. Potential burglars already know your address so a few other important documents could complete the puzzle for them to steal your identity too. Shred any bills and receipts you no longer need. Unplug your computer and make sure it’s disconnected from the Internet.

Close up of a security alarm keypadArmed with an alarm
Activate your alarm system and be sure to notify the home security company of your days away and provide interim contact information.

Lock. Lock. Who’s there?

Ensure that all windows and doors are securely locked before you leave for vacation. This may sound elementary, but all it takes is one of them ajar to welcome an intruder and threaten home security.

150604 - mailFriendly favors
Ask a friend to drive by your home every other day to check in. With a copy of your keys, they can bring your mail in (unless you’ve requested for mail to be stopped), feed your pet/s, water your plants and more. You may also need to give them your car keys to move your car for street cleaning and alternate side parking. They should also have your contact information and a copy of your itinerary in case of emergencies. If you have more than one watcher – keep them in contact so that one doesn’t accidentally startle the other.

Outside matters
Plan maintenance. Have your outdoor services covered. Mowing and manual watering will prevent overgrowth and faded plantings that could give away your absence.