By now you’ve probably done your spring cleaning, and now you may have found stuff to clear out and get rid of. While you could donate some or all of it, perhaps there are items which have some value, and you’d like to try to sell them. This is the time of year for yard sales, but to get the most out of them, people need to know where and when. Luckily, we have some great tips here for advertising a yard sale. [Read more…]
Have you outgrown your existing home? If so, you might want to consider an alternative to moving. If you live in a single-story home, adding a second story might be a better, and less expensive, option.
Although we’re still seeing unseasonably cool temperatures in the Metro DC area, the flowers are blooming (which means the pollen count is up), and we’re finally seeing some sun! Which means, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to think about a spring home design refresh. Here are our ideas to help you out.
It’s spring, and your pets are probably suffering from cabin fever as much as you are. However, even if you have a fenced-in yard, it can be tricky to allow your pets outside. How do you make sure they are safe as they explore the great outdoors? Read on for some of our best tips for pet proofing your yard this spring.
Does your homeowner’s association do an annual spring walk-through and write up homeowners for violations? If so, you may have some questions.
It’s pretty obvious what they mean when they ding you for painting your door the wrong color, commenting that your yard really needs to be mowed or pointing out other areas of concern. But a common question in our community is “what are soffits and fascia?” and what does it mean that they are rotting and need to be fixed and/or painted?
Even with the up and down weather we’ve been having in the Metro DC area–what was up with the snow on Saturday!–we hope you’ve been thinking about spring cleaning. The folks at the Rug Seller have created a great infographic with some surprising spring cleaning hacks.
Our favorites were:
1. Vodka for red wine stains
Who knew that one type of alcohol was good for cleaning another? Use the cheap vodka though, for cleaning. No point in wasting the good stuff.
The folks at Terry’s Fabrics have created a great spring cleaning checklist to keep you on track with making your home fresh for the season.
Check it out below, but we wanted to mention a couple of points we particularly liked:
1. Look at why we spring clean
They talk a bit about the history of spring cleaning–who knew there was a history behind it–and then move on to some of the reasons why people spring clean. And no, it’s not because it was that thing your mom did. Decluttering and removing allergens from the air sound like really good reasons to us!
It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to do some spring cleaning! Before you groan and say, “But it’s too hard!” read our easy spring cleaning tips, and you’ll see that it’s lots easier than you are thinking.
1. Start with the doormat
See how easy that is? The doormat is one of the first things people see when they come to your home, so it should look good. It’s easy to clean. Shake it. Beat it. Wash it, if you can. It’s your first line of defense against the invasion of dirt, so make sure it’s at its prime and working its hardest.
Hooray! The weather is getting warmer. In the Metro DC area, we’re looking at temperatures in the 70s this week. It looks like winter has finally broken it’s grip, and it’s time to think about how to prepare your lawn for spring. We’ve got you covered with some easy ideas.
1. Assess the effects of winter
Before you can even get started to prepare your lawn for spring, you need to get a handle on what winter did to you. How many downed branches and twigs are littering your yard? Did the squirrels dig up lots of your turf in their frantic search for their winter larder? How about your trees? Inspect them carefully for cracks or other damage. If you see problems, you’ll want to call an arborist for further evaluation. This is your time to make plans about what to do next.
2. Rake your grass to “wake it up”
You know how you just want to huddle inside to avoid the cold all winter? Well, your grass feels the same way. Give your entire lawn a good raking to wake up your grass and get it into the mood to start growing. Don’t worry if it’s a bit brown. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dead.
3. Get rid of weeds
Do you have more crab grass than regular grass? If so, you’ll want to apply some weed killer. It’s best applied when the ground is about 55 degrees. Don’t feel like sticking a thermometer in your lawn? Not a problem. If the forsythia are blooming, the temperature is right. Note that if you plan to reseed your grass, you need to wait at least eight weeks after treating for weeds. See why we said you’d need to do some planning? There are organic weed killer options, but they take two to three years to become fully effective.
4. Trim the trees and shrubs
You’ve already done the investigation, so you know which ones need to be trimmed back. You’ll want to be careful with how much you trim. Don’t cut too close or your limbs won’t be protected against a late frost. If you have blooming plants, wait until the flowers bloom so you don’t cut off limbs that will be producing flowers or fruit.
While trimming shrubs is fairly easy, you might want to bring in a professional for the trees, especially if they are tall or have heavy limbs which need to be trimmed. Safety first!
5. Look beyond the grass
Has your lawn furniture been damaged by winter weather? What about your deck or porch? Inspect all exterior parts of your home and be prepared to repair, paint or reseal any areas which need attention.
It may take you a few weeks to work through the list, but if you get started now, your lawn will be in great shape to enjoy later this spring and this summer.
Have you been feeling cold this winter? Do you stand in front of that big picture window in your living room and feel the draft against your back? If so, it’s time to do something about those windows.
The obvious solution is to replace them, but that can be an expensive home improvement project. Here are some less expensive answers to the question “How do I make my windows more energy efficient?”
1. Add storm windows
Storm windows add an extra insulating layer between you and the outside elements. If your windows are old, they may not have energy efficient glass, and you will see real benefit if you install storm windows with low-emissivity glass. Here’s more information from Energy.gov about the type of glass to look for.
2. Add caulking
How long has it been since you caulked your windows? If the answer is “haven’t got a clue,” then it’s probably time to buy some caulk and get out there. Remember that draft we mentioned at the beginning of this post? It’s likely that caulk will fix much of that.
3. Put up curtains
Curtains with insulated backing will insulate both summer and winter. In the summer, you draw them to block direct sunlight. In the winter, they provide extra insulation. In addition, they can change the look of a room. What’s not to like?
4. Apply weather stripping
Even the foam stripping can make a difference, although you’ll see better results with metal or vinyl. Within reason, the more you have between you and the elements, the better you’ll be.
5. Plant shade trees or shrubs near windows
You might not think it makes a difference, but it does. One of our clients told us a story about their neighbor cutting down the tree in their yard. It needed to come down–it had developed a crack in the trunk–but our clients hadn’t realized how much shade it had provided until the following summer when their master bedroom, which had been shaded by the tree, was several degrees warmer than the previous summer. The only difference was the lack of a mature shade tree.
6. Add awnings
While trees can provide shade, they take years to mature. While you are waiting for your shade trees to grow, try awnings. Increasing shade is one of the easiest ways to cool your home in the summer.
There are our tips. Anything you’d like to add?