Henry Timrod, a respected 19th century poet who was born in Charleston and frequently wrote about the Civil War and the South Carolina Lowcountry, once said, “Spring is a true reconstructionist.” Stale air, balmy weather, brown lawns, and leafless trees rapidly transform into bright foliage, green grass, mild temperatures, and jasmine-scented breezes. Children gleefully ride their bikes down neighborhood streets, ladies rush to the nearest nail salon for a flip-flop worthy pedicure, and men trade their dark ales for island-infused lagers. As plants pollinate and buds blossom, the symbolic rebirth of spring naturally stems a desire in homeowners to clean, clear-out, and complete new home projects. Here are a few DIY spring home projects that will add vernal freshness to your home.
Though pollen is a natural and healthy process, its yellow residue and sticky film do not bode well for your exterior paint; unless, of course, you prefer a dusty, flaxen finish. Home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot as well as equipment centers like Sunbelt and United offer pressure washer rentals. These machines are typically powered by gas and directly connect to your outdoor water source. The home stores also sell exterior cleaning solutions; however, be mindful that most of the chemical caustics include bleach or other toxic ingredients that adversely affect our ecosystem. Using products that are “green seal certified” means the solution is safe for humans, pets, and the environment. In the article “Going Green and Keeping Clean: Outside Edition,” handyman Bob Villa suggest mixing your own exterior cleaning solution with common pantry products such as vinegar, baking soda, and borax.
Another key area to consider cleaning includes the gutters of your property as well. “Most people think that you only need to clean your gutters in the fall, after leaves and other things have fallen from the surrounding trees, but you’d be surprised how helpful it is give your gutters year-round maintenance” says Will Dron of Primetime Window and Gutter Cleaning. It’s a good idea to add a gutter clean to your spring cleaning routine!
Local nurseries, home decor shops, and outdoor furniture stores often present prodigious pots that will compliment front porches, courtyards, or driveway entrances. Spring is the ideal time to cultivate an array of colorful flowers and verdant plants to showcase your distinct style and personality. If you lack a green thumb or floral creativity, ask a specialist at the nursery to set out an arrangement for you. Then, all you need to do is purchase the pot, the soil, and the selected flora. Once you are home, get your hands dirty and add your own flare to the creation. Your neighbors will admire your handiwork, and you will reap the positive rewards of horticultural therapy, an ancient practice proven to help improve cognitive abilities and reduce mental stresses.
Clement weather cheerfully welcomes family and friends to bring their conversations outside. If you plan to chat during happy hour or dine alfresco on your patio, then take time now to make sure it is in company condition. If applicable, remove and wash the seat and cushion covers from your patio furniture. Using a mixture of vinegar, water, and a drop of lemon-scented lysol, give your furniture a gentle sponge bath. Sweep and mop the floor, and, if you have an outdoor rug, clean it as well. Purchase bug-repellent plants such as marigolds, geraniums, and lavender; or light citronella candles to keep pesky mosquitoes and noseeums at bay. Finally, accent the dining table with spring-inspired decor. Now you are ready to uncork a bottle of chilled rose wine and enjoy the cordial atmosphere!
From ghosting marks, grimey residue, and grubby handprints, the inside walls of your home can be just as filthy as the exterior. While your spouse pressure washes the outside, grab a sponge, a bucket, and some dish soap and restore your perfectly painted walls to their original pristine condition. Overtime, particles of dust, grease, germs, and probably slime if you have girls under the age of 12, attach to the walls and form a thin, semi-translucent layer of film. Using a soft sponge and a few drops of degreaser such as Dawn dish soap in a bucket of water, you can give your walls a welcomed wash. The end result is refreshing rooms that feel and smell as crisp and clean as the springtime air.
Closet clean-outs are a dreaded task, but once complete, you will smile broadly at the tidy space. Before you begin, determine where you want to send discarded garments. Organizing experts suggest creating three separate piles: consign, donate, and recycle. The consign stack will be the few clothing items that are in excellent used condition. These gently used items can be sold at a local consignment store or donated to a local charity of your choice. Many nonprofits such as the Lowcountry Orphan Relief in Charleston or Place of Hope in Palm Beach Gardens are in need of children and adult clothes. The second stack is for clothes that are in good used condition. These garments are designated to larger organizations such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill, who will either sell the clothes at its distribution center or send them overseas as part of humanitarian packages. The third stack is for clothes that have clearly extended their life cycle. These faithful garments can be recycled into wash rags or donated to certain animal shelters that may request cotton material for beds and blankets.
Just how old is that can of black beans? Before you serve it for Taco Tuesday, be sure the date is current. In fact, spring is an ideal time to take an inventory of all your pantry items, checking for expiration dates, discarding as needed, and ensuring pantry moths have not invaded your cereal, grain or flour. To begin, remove all items from your pantry and wipe down your shelves. Using small storage baskets, place similar products together. For example, canned goods can be stacked on one shelf, spices neatly positioned in a small basket, rice and pasta in another basket, and snack items in pull-out drawers or low-lip bins. With an organized pantry, you don’t end up with three bottles of olive oil or four shakers of salt. You can easily scan your food items, which makes hectic weeknight meals much easier to prepare.