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Home & Garden

12 Steps to Summer

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Spring has sprung,  the river has broken, days are getting longer and the sun is out in full force.  Take this time to get your home summer ready.  Here are 12 tips to better living this summer.

1. Start your Spring cleaning.  Don't wait till the weekend, pick one closet per evening and de-clutter. If it's seasonal pack it away, if you haven't worn it, used it or looked at it in six months, throw it out. Post it on Free Items or sell it.  Just get it out of your house because it's taking up space.

2. Pull out the garden hose and give the house a rinse. Especially if you live in an area that still has construction going on nearby. Some pressure washers have a soap attachment, don't be afraid to use it. Give the walks and driveway a good rinse as well.

3. Clean out the flower beds ands get them ready for planting.  A good tip here is to plant annuals, make sure to note which ones are for shade and which are full sun. Check your lawn mower's blade, have it sharpened or replaced. Make sure to stock up on Weed Eater string.

4. Go through your kitchen cabinets, take everything out, wipe them down and put back the things you use. If you have one too many ziplock containers now is the time to get rid of them.  New knobs on the kitchen cabinets is a inexpensive way to give any kitchen a quick new look. You can go one step further and add soft close adapters.  No more banging.  

5. Everyone seems to be afraid of their gas fireplace. Google your fireplace model and see if there is a youtube video showing you how to clean it.  Remove the front grill pieces. Shut the gas off.  Locate the fastener or undo the screws and remove the glass.  Just use a warm damp cloth on the inside of the glass. No cleaners. Cleaners are bad for inside of the glass.  Vacuum out any soot and replace the glass.  Follow the instructions for relighting the pilot or if you don't use it all during summer, leave it off and save the energy.

6. How is your deck doing?  Check for loose railings and rotted wood. Sometimes all you need is a screw and screw driver and everything is as good as new again. If a board needs replacing, take the measurements to Home Hardware, they would be happy to cut the wood to size making installation a breeze when you get home.  How's the stain or paint?  A new product that's come out in the last few years are deck tiles. Available in all colours and styles they will make your deck look new without the cost of building a new one.  With the warm weather it only takes a few hours to to have the deck looking brand new again.

7. How is your trim and baseboards looking ??  No matter the colour of your trim, pick up an artist's paint brush, add a little of the trim colour to a tea cup and dab all chips or scrapes that have appeared over the last year. It only takes a small amount of time and anyone can do it. 

8. Patio furniture. New patio furniture has gotten really expensive over the last few years, and manufacturers don't sell new cushions to fit your chairs.  Recovering is the cheapest and best option, especially if your chairs and table are still in great shape. Measure your cushions to get an idea of how much material you will need and source a hard wearing material online.  You can either sew new ones yourself or find one of the many people offering alterations online.  To finish off the look of your patio, replace the umbrella and throw down a out door carpet.

9. Something a lot of people forget about is their furnace filter.  Make sure you change it not just in spring but at least every 3 months.  A top tip here is to always buy the cheapest non hepa blah blah blah that the store offers.  The cheaper ones are always thinner and make the furnace run more efficiently.  Thicker furnace filters with added this and that let less air through making the furnace run hotter and wear out faster. 

10. Rearrange the furniture.  One of the fastest ways to make you fall in love with your home again is to rearrange the living room, bedroom or office.   Paint a feature wall, add a new rug or just some new throw cushions and you are all set. 

11. New light fixtures.  Light fixtures are an easy way to spruce up any room in your house, especially the bathroom.  While you're at it, dimmer switches help set any mood day or night.

12. Purchase a good blender.  Now that your home and patio are ready for summer, make sure you have a good blender and some margarita mix. Invite all your friends over for a saturday afternoon and enjoy the Fort McMurray Sunshine.

Remember during all of your summer projects to shop local whenever possible!