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.

Gardening Tips that won’t Leaf you Hanging

For many of our clients living in their new and huge homes (with yards!) in areas such as Marine Park, Gravesend and Madison; falling leaves can quickly turn from color to bother. Here are our tips on what to do in the fall to set yourself up for a beautiful, lush, safe garden.

Need gardening and hardware supplies? We recommend Brooklyn favorites dig and Indoor/Outdoor Gardener.

Practice rakes perfect

151103 - rakeAs we layer up, leaves fall down – all season long. Minimize the pain by being vigilant to your vision of a neat, fertile and safe yard. Clear the way before the first batch of snow crystallizes your yard into a slippery space, stripping your grass from the nutrients and water it needs to be alive and thrive by the time spring rolls around.

It’s an exercise of family fun – whether it’s an arm workout for you or nature’s bouncing house for the kids.

Care to compost

The golden rule of composting is the balance between carbon and nitrogen materials. A healthy compost pile should have about two-thirds carbon (brown) materials and one-third nitrogen (green) materials. The carbon-rich materials provide aeration to speed up the composting process, eliminate foul odors and help produce a light, fluffy finished compost.
Most families’ nitrogen needs are fulfilled thanks to kitchen scraps, fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, grass clippings and other fresh materials. Carbon-based materials are harder to come by and this includes leaves, vines, shrub prunings, straw and dried garden waste.

Less is more when it comes to moisture as your compost pile should be covered with a tarp to shed excess rain. Ideally, enclosed composters should be used as they retain the moisture from the materials the materials being composted and deter pests (such as racoons and mice) and speed up the composting process.

Fertilize

151103 - fertilizerBring the day spa to your garden and replace the massage and facial for a good fertilizer. A slow-release fertilizer during this time of year enables your grass to absorb the nutrients over time. Is a dull garden a grass half full or empty? If you fertilize now, you’ll be filled with garden warm fuzzies once the sun shines bright in the spring to a healthy lawn.

Weed out the evil

This one may be for the kids! Weeding during the fall is the smart start your garden needs so when the sunny season kicks in, your garden blooms on a clean slate.

Mulch

151103 - mulchTake the grass catcher off your mower and mow over the leaves on your lawn. Get the clutter to dime-sized pieces and until only about an inch of the grass can be seen through the mulched lead layer. The microbes and worms get to work recycling the leaves and the process helps grass grow brighter and greener. With several passes of your mower, you can mulch up to 18 inches of leaf clutter.

Our insider tip? Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® can help break down your mulched leaves faster.