We're finally experiencing what we've all wanted... warm weather! We've been cooped up in our homes for what seems like an eternity hiding from the bitter cold.
Depending on who you ask, this time of year can either represent a great opportunity to get things done or the moment when you realize that "honey-do" list will need to be tackled (and your excuse of it being too cold won't fly any more). The frigid winter often entices us to do anything but keep up with chores. I don't blame you. But now the work starts. Let's go through a few fun, cheap and easy ways to improve your home indoors and out.
Inside Your Castle
Go green with a programmable thermostat: Did you know that you can save about $180 a year with one of these smart little devices? We all know that Toronto summers are humid, hot and downright nasty sometimes. Don't get caught with massive AC bills. You might even be able to take advantage of tax credits and possible rebates.
Energy saving tip: This is a great opportunity to call your electricity provider to see what types of financial incentives are available for energy-efficient appliances. You might even be able to subsidize the costs of home improvements like insulation and weatherstripping. It could also be worth a look at a new AC, heat pump or set of windows.
A Thorough Clean: We've let dirt build up on the windows, may have literally swept dust under the rug, and put off those chores that you couldn't bring yourself to do when it got dark at 4:30pm. Set aside a full day to do a clean from top to bottom. Remove window screens, dust, clean the floors and drapes, purge that growing stash of "stuff" and vacuum EVERYTHING. You want to kick off the warm weather with a fresh start.
Tip: If you have a little bit of money available, you might consider hiring a professional cleaner. Spending $150-$200 for a thorough clean can hit the "reset" button and leave headaches in the dust.
The Lovely Outdoors
Now that you've taken care of your home's interior, it's time to focus on the most important part: outside. Remember, you'll be spending most of your time with friends and family taking in the rays in the coming months.
Inspection Time: After a winter that brought some of the coldest temperatures we've seen in years, your furnace, plumbing and fireplace were put to the ultimate test. Now is the perfect time to set up an appointment with a specialist or technician to properly clean and inspect these important parts of your home for safety, efficiency and repairs. You don't want put it off and find out things are broken when Mother Nature decides to thrust us back into the Arctic.
Make a Statement: There is nothing like a clean, colourful and inviting front entry to welcome your guests. This is your first impression for anyone swinging by - your curb appeal. Once you've done a thorough clean and de-clutter process, step back and put together a plan.
A fresh coat of paint? A new door? New house numbers? Flowers? Rocking chairs to fall asleep in? Updated light fixtures? Wood staining?
Time to get creative and design a front entrance that will make people take notice! Set aside a weekend, ask for help and create something that you can be proud of.
The Backyard Oasis: Whether you're a grill master or just love the outdoors, your backyard is your own personal getaway - an oasis to decompress after a long week. It doesn't matter if you have a sprawling backyard that backs onto a ravine or a small parcel of green space in the downtown core; you can make it something that others will envy.
Maybe it's time to upgrade that 15 year-old barbecue for a outdoor gourmet kitchen, think about a new composite deck, buy those comfy loungers, install an awning, splurge for an outdoor pizza oven or build your own patio and fireplace. There are endless opportunities - both big and small - that can add a LOT of value to your home. Just be warned, you might not be able to get your friends and in-laws to leave if you're serving up a cottage-like experience in the city.
Whether you're planning on doing a major backyard overhaul or just want to get your house a bit cleaner, once it's completed you'll feel great.
Mother Nature put us through the ringer this winter. Now's the time to really enjoy the warm weather because we know it won't last.
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If you have questions about which projects can add value to your home, don't hesitate to contact me directly
. I'm always happy to help!
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