Thursday, April 18, 2013

10 Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips

1. Squeaky-Clean Windows

Your melancholy winter outlook may have been the responsibility of what you were looking out of -- dirty windows. Winter storms can leave a nasty film on the glass; much like slushy, nasty roads can make your tires look gross.

First you will want to tackle your screens, in preparation for those perfect, sunny, breezy spring days that just call for you to open the windows. Take the screens off and take them outside for a tender bath with a hose. If they're especially dirty, you might want to clean them with some soap and water and a brush -- that long-standing; dirt look is exactly the kind of depressing winter sight we're trying to remove.
Tip: Start with the outside windows before the inside, or you won't be able to tell whether they're actually clean or not.

2. Get Those Leaves Out of the Gutter

Post-wintertime, there are a lot of things you know you're supposed to do but don't actually feel like doing. Cleaning your gutters is probably one of them, but believe us -- you don't want water damage to your house. And at least when you clean gutters in the spring, you have blue skies and white clouds as a backdrop.
Once you're on that ladder, you're going to need to get rid of all the leaves, twigs and other junk that's collected in your gutter. If you're doing this by hand instead of with some sort of scoop, we recommend gloves, this way you don’t cut yourself on exposed pointy metal or get dirtier than you have to.

3. Sort It Out-Uncluttering the Cluttered
For a lot of people, the garage is a big, cluttered storage closet -- you throw in all the unwanted stuff you can't find a home for, shut the door and hope for the best.

With your new, sunshine-induced lease on life, it's time to face the task and get it over with so that when you need that cooler in June, you won't be tripping on rakes and rummaging through bug-infested boxes.
Before you start organizing, you'll need to assign and arrange areas: Perhaps there's a hobby area in one corner and workshop equipment in another. Decide where these will go, then move on to figure out how to store everything.

After all, the biggest need for many people is storage space. Installing cabinets, shelves, racks and hooks may help create more storage. Use boxes, baskets and old storage containers for things such as paints, screws, nails, etc.

And when you find that weird key that doesn't fit any of your locks, old electrical wires or things you think you want to keep "just in case", you should find a junk box for those too.

4. Identify Your Weak Areas

During the winter, you're mostly worried about the inside of your home. But now that your family and the pets are all spending more time outside, it's time to take a look at possibly upgrading your fences.
Rot is the primary thing to look for in a wooden fence, along with loose rails and any kind of wobbly parts. If it's been a while since the wood’s been treated, it's might be a good idea to check to see if bugs have chewed their way around, too.

With a metal fence, you'll want to make sure there aren't any holes or places where it's pulling away from the ground. Make sure you are digging deep enough into the ground to prevent this occurrence.

5. De-leaf and De-clutter the Yard
Your yard has spent the winter feeling battered and neglected-- and possibly suffocating under a layer of snow. Prepare for a lush lawn and a flourishing garden by getting rid of soggy, old leaves blocking your flowerbeds and grass.

Want to avoid spending the day after your leaf-raking spectacular with a sore back? Switch sides while you're raking (we can all be somewhat ambidextrous for a day) and don't twist your torso so much. If you're tossing leaves over your shoulder, you need to quit that, too -- your body doesn't use those motions on a daily basis, so avoid the icepacks and ibuprofen tomorrow by working smarter not harder.

6. Roll It On
For many of us, spring calls for a new wardrobe. For your house, that might mean a new coat of paint.

Weather can really take a toll on your paint job. If your formerly immaculate shutters are looking a few shades duller or more faded-out than before, it might be time for a touch-up. Same goes for the garage door and your front door -- what's more welcoming than a well-taken-care-of front when you pull in the driveway from a long day at work?

7. Wash the Winter Blues Away

After a hard winter, your home sweet home may be in need of more of a scrub than rain can truly provide. Spring might be a good time to look into pulling out that pressure washer to wipe away all the dirt and grime. Certain kinds of siding can't take the pressure, as this may cause peeling paint, so make sure you've got the right type and you can rock and roll. A pressure washer can also come in handy for greasy driveways and wooden decks -- just check to see that you've got the right amount of pressure for each job.

Tip: Don't own a pressure washer? Check your local hardware store to see if you can rent one. Not only will you get the benefit of a good wash, but the right advice as to how and use it.

8. Separate the Weeds from the Blooms

After you've spent a whole day sorting screws in your garage, you might want to pull your hair out. Exert that energy in a more productive way instead. Start with yanking up weeds. There's something very satisfying about tearing up pesky weeds before they return to terrorize your lawn and garden.
Haven't satisfied your need for yard carnage? Pull out a sharp blade and prune your overgrown shrubs. Snipping off the dead bits makes way for new ones to grow. Some people wait until after the flowering shrubs have bloomed to do the pruning, but that may not be strongest for the shrub (even if the flowers seem easy on the eyes).

9. Getting Down to the Essentials
It's not really summer until someone starts barbecuing. That's why spring is the perfect time to get your poor, neglected patio or deck in tiptop shape. Remove the dirt and cobwebs with a broom first. If you have plastic furniture, bust out the hose and wash it down. No one wants to sit down on dirty cushions, so do some deep cleaning and then invest in vinyl protectant to keep them looking fresh.

Re-introduce the grill in your life. You're going to need a good degreaser, a wire brush and a healthy lack of respect for greasy, charcoal-y accumulation.

10. Rinse and Re-staining

Everybody likes fungus on the deck! Oh wait, just kidding no one likes that -- or mildew, dirt or weather-beaten areas for that matter. It's tempting to just bleach the whole thing, but don't give in.

Pressure wash the deck and -- this is easy enough -- use an actual deck-cleaner solution. When you're done with all the washing, it's time to re-stain. There are finishes and colors a-plenty, so you’ll be able to find whatever it is you desire.

Tip: Look for something with a protective finish to repel water and UV rays.

Check out TVI Supply's selection of Lawn & Garden supplies for any spring cleaning equipment you might need. As always, you can also check our website for any of your hardware, MRO, and janitorial needs.

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