Summer sun is just around the corner, and May’s to-do list focuses on preparing your home to enjoy the great outdoors. Juggling too much this month? That’s okay. We gave each task on the list a rating, with one owl representing low-priority tasks and five owls signifying high-priority items. Now roll up your sleeves and get down to business because that summer vacation is not going to plan itself.
You never know when disaster will strike, so make sure you’re prepared. Grab a 72-hour survival kit that contains everything you’d need in a pinch—and make sure to keep it handy.
Clean and Check Range Hood Fan
Greasy doesn’t even begin to cover it when it comes to your stove. Your range hood funnels odors and smoke out of your home, and a dirty fan isn’t just unsightly—it’s dangerous. Wipe it down and ensure it’s functional to avoid fire hazards in the kitchen.
Once you start cleaning your walls, you’ll be horrified by the smudges of “What on earth is that?” all over your home. If you have kids, look down to find where the trail of dirty fingerprints begins.
Remove and Clean Window Screens
Blustery gales have been kicking up debris all winter, and that thin veneer of pollen isn’t helping your allergies much. Pro tip: pick a warm day, take all the screens off at once, and hose them down on the front lawn to make quick work of this job.
You’ve got clean windows and clean screens, so you might as well scrub off those sills—or else you’ll be distracted by the grime every time you look outside.
Clean Upholstered Furniture
A thousand dirty hands and feet have brushed, rubbed up against, and otherwise soiled your couch upholstery, even if you can’t see it. A handheld steam cleaner makes quick work of spots and stains, but you can also use a good upholstery spot cleaner and a vacuum attachment.
Clean Air Conditioner and Change Filter
It’s about to get hot, folks, so make sure your home is ready to pump out the AC with a clean filter and a fully functional unit.
Have a Professional Pump and Inspect the Septic Tank
Problems with your septic tank are not the kinds of problems you want to have. Ever. Get the tank pumped and checked seasonally to ensure it’s ready for whatever your guests throw at it. Or down it.
Clean Inside and Underneath Washing Machine and Dryer
These often-overlooked appliances are in desperate need of your attention. Empty the lint trap and other filters in your washer and dryer and give them a good wipe down.
Empty Washing Machine Drain Pump
Washing machines have filters for draining water that can become clogged with hair and hard water buildup. Clean them out at least once a year to avoid the fun of a flooding appliance.
Stock Up on Food and Water Storage
In addition to your 72-hour survival kit, make sure your emergency food and water storage are fully stocked. Prolonged power outages can be more common in the summer, and you’ll want to have plenty of options—and a can opener—on hand when the next one hits.
Clean or Replace Shower Curtains
Your shower curtain has been providing plenty of cover, but when was the last time you cleaned it? Most modern plastic and cloth shower curtains are machine washable, so check the label and get washing.
Scrub and Reseal Tile Grout
You haven’t seen mildew until you’ve taken a close look at your bathroom grout. Grab a toothbrush and start scrubbing. Once you’ve got it sparkling, give the grout a layer of seal to prevent further buildup.
These humble household linens have been hiding the evidence of what your boots tracked in for months. Give them the laundering they deserve per the care instructions on their tags.
Re-nail Loose Siding or Boards
You may have battened down the hatches for the winter, but that doesn’t mean they stayed down. Look for loose siding and shingles on both the roof and your home, and fasten anything that’s not nailed down.
Trim Trees, Bushes, and Shrubs
It’s a jungle out there. Prune your yard so you can see your way to new landscaping opportunities and expose other home repairs that might be hiding behind those gnarly bushes.
Clean Charcoal and Gas Grill
’Tis the season—grilling season! Before you fire up your grill, ensure it’s clean and in good working order.
Inspect and Clean Outdoor Lighting
A properly illuminated home is a safer home. Replace bulbs, fix wiring, and clean fixtures to light your way towards a brighter, more secure property.
Clean Home Exterior
Hose down or power wash the exterior of your home to remove the snow, rain, and salt spray from a winter’s worth of storms.
Replace Broken Bricks and Stone
Leaving crumbling structures on your home ensures the coming season will further the erosion. Shore up any broken bricks or stone both on the exterior of your home and in the yard.
Clean and Repair Deck
Hopefully, you’ll be enjoying lots of summer sunshine from the comfort of your deck, so get it ready with a hose and some old-fashioned elbow grease.
Wipe Down Patio Furniture and Umbrella
Even if you’ve stored tables and chairs indoors during the winter, they’re probably still a little dusty. Don’t forget your awnings and umbrella. You may not be able to see the dirt, but it’s still there.
Clean or Buy New Doormats
These have kept the winter muck out of your house, so do your doormats a solid and either clean or replace them.
Power Wash Driveway and Garage Door
It’s time to present your best face to the neighborhood, and that includes places you might not normally look, like the driveway and the garage door. If you don’t have a power washer, the hose will do.
Oil Garage Door Tracks
The squeaky wheel deserves the grease, and in this case, it’s your garage door that’s making that awful sound. A little lubrication should solve the problem.
Finish up your spring cleaning by scheduling one safety maintenance task per day this month, and you’ll be ready to head into the summer and your vacation worry-free.
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Written by Kaz Weida
When she's not chasing two little ones around the house, Kaz spends her time reviewing products to keep your family safe. Learn more