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Spring Cleaning

in Homeowner Engagement

We’re officially about a month into spring, so if you haven’t started your yearly spring cleaning and maintenance, now’s the time! The best way to keep your home’s value high, as well as its curb appeal, is to have yearly checkups on your exteriors. With the extra hour of daylight and warmer temperatures, this is the perfect time to check on your house. Let’s start with the easiest and most timely tasks to get the momentum going.


It’s time to turn over a new leaf. Our trees and plants are literally growing new leaves, but it’s also time for everybody to do some decluttering and to see our garage floors again. First, let’s get rid of the trash. Get yourself one bag for garbage and another for recyclables and be as ruthless as you can be. After the pesky garbage is thrown away, look at the stuff that just isn’t needed. Maybe there’s a lamp, a discarded arm chair, an unused pan or a pictureless picture frame. You could take this stuff to one of our Habitat Stores (Lakewood, Tacoma, Puyallup), host a garage sale or post on a digital marketplace. Once you’re done decluttering, transition to some deep cleaning on your home’s interior.

You could try:

  • Shampooing your carpets and washing rugs
  • Organize your closets (go through your clothes too!)
  • Wash your windows and screens
  • Clean your stove, oven, and hood
  • Replace your HVAC Filters
  • Mop your hard floors
  • Vacuum under the couch cushions
  • Wash the bathmat and shower curtains


Maintenance Checks

After decluttering and cleaning, let’s focus on check-ups that should be done around the house on a yearly basis. A couple walks around your property and peeks at your roof should be enough to see if your house needs any minor maintenance.

  • Check your home’s paint. If there are spots that are peeling or flaking off, you’ll want to scrape away those spots, sand down any rough edges and apply a fresh coat of paint. Make sure to prime first if the paint doesn’t have primer added to it.
  • Look for cracks in the concrete of your garage, driveway, or foundation. Most cracks don’t represent much danger to your home, but sealing benign cracks with a concrete sealer is a preventative measure for the years to come.
  • Inspect your caulking. In the bathroom, look for cracked, peeling or shrunken portions of caulking. Cut those sections out and apply new caulking.
  • Don’t forget the siding! If you come across any siding that is particularly gooky, try to clean it off. This exercise can be extended to all your exterior surfaces, including windows and fences. After harsh and windy winter months, surfaces are prone to buildup of debris that should be wiped off when you see it. You should also check your exterior wood trim for rot. There will usually be some discoloration and a warped or flaky appearance, and testing the material is as easy as stabbing a knife into it. If the point of the blade penetrates past a 1/4″ depth with ease, then the rotted portion should be replaced.
  • Clean those gutters. Especially in the Northwest, there’s lots of leaves and needles that get swept away by the wind onto roofs, getting pushed right into our gutters. The dry(ier) spring and summer months are a great time to grab a ladder and clear out your gutters. If gutters get clogged, the buildup will overflow and make contact with the roof or the fascia, which can compromise the wood over time. Be sure to practice ladder safety! Have somebody hold your ladder steady at the ground and exercise caution.
  • Check for moss growth on your roof. Moss will grow underneath and between the shingles, creating a pathway for moisture to the wood sheathing below, so it’s important to remove moss at first notice. Contrary to popular opinion, do not use a pressure washer or a stiff bristled broom to remove moss; doing so will remove the shingle granules and shorten your roof’s life span. There are a number of products that you can put along the ridge, preferably before rainfall, that will wash down the roof and kill the moss. There are also cleaning solutions that you can spray directly on the moss to kill it. Once the moss is dead and brown, you can use a soft bristled broom or your hands to gently remove it.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help. If you notice any major issues—including broken or damaged shingles— we suggest that you seek help from professionals, as working on your roof can be dangerous.

For those who are interested in learning more about home maintenance or fixing things, some of our partners may be able to help. The Tacoma Urban League is hosting a basic plumbing class on May 6 , with others to follow on every first Saturday of the month. Additionally, the Tacoma Tool Library offers a Fix-It Night every Thursday evening, where you can bring in broken items and learn how to fix them. They also have a tool lending program.


Lawn Care

After you’ve completed your assessment of your house, it’s time to consider its landscaping. Not necessarily landscaping that involves thousands of dollars in tools and plants, but a starter version requiring a lawn mower and maybe a weedwhacker and some fertilizer. Lawns should be mowed at least a couple times a month in the spring, when grasses are growing, and if you’re going to fertilize, do that no more than a couple times a season. When fertilizing, we suggest that you get organic, salmon-safe fertilizer, as many others can be harmful to the environment when washed away by rain. A weedwhacker can help you in the edging of your lawn, keeping the sides of your lawn the right length. When it comes to watering, you can do that whenever we face dry spells to keep your grass lush but it’s a great idea to let the PNW rain do its work.


And, you’re done!

Yearly cleaning and home maintenance is a labor of love. Performing all this upkeep can be challenging and time consuming, but it is entirely worth it. Not only do you show pride in your property when taking care of it, but you also ensure its future value by being proactive and preventing major issues down the line. This spring let’s all show pride in our homes, and show them the love that they deserve.

Posted in: Homeowner Engagement