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With the disappearance of the snow, it becomes evident that there is much to do outside. There are also spring tasks to complete indoors. Here are some that can be done this month to prepare for spring.
Now is the time to:
* Clean your bookshelves. If your books have been collecting dust all winter, remove and dust them. Wash the shelves. If you have books that you’re unlikely to reread, consider donating them to a neighbourhood book box.
* April is an excellent month to steam-clean upholstery and rugs. If you’re able to do it yourself, the relatively inexpensive way is to rent a rug-and-upholstery cleaning machine from a local supermarket.
* Window-washing. Some people like to outsource this job. But if you enjoy the cathartic nature of washing your own windows, stock up on white vinegar and glass cleaner and start washing away winter’s grime.
* Does your home have central air-conditioning? Schedule its annual maintenance before the weather gets hot. A well-maintained HVAC system works more efficiently and is a more economical consumer of electricity.
* Have your fireplace chimney swept, particularly if you’ve used it consistently throughout the winter.
* April is the month to wash verandas, decks and porches. Sweep off loose dirt and cobwebs. Wash surfaces (floors, ceilings, banisters, railings) with an environmentally benign cleanser. Hose off the cleanser.
* And while you’re at it, it’s time to wash garden furniture and outdoor cushions that spend the summer outside. Is your home’s welcome mat winter-weary? If so, replace it with a new one.
* Vacuum loose dirt on window screens before washing them in soapy water. Check screens for rips and holes that could potentially admit insects. Arrange to have damaged screens repaired at a local hardware store or do the fix yourself with a patch kit.
* Take down drapes and curtains and launder or dry-clean them.
* It’s time to lighten up in the kitchen, too. Those soups and stews that you cooked during the winter provided excellent warming nutrition. However, as temperatures rise, lighter foods, including salads, are the perfect sustenance for spring.
* Inspect your driveway, patio and walkways. The freeze-and-thaw cycles of a Montreal winter can create cracks and heaving in asphalt and concrete. Cracks can be filled with sealants.
* It’s warmer now, so if you haven’t taken down your outdoor Christmas lights and decorations, you can do it now. Be sure to stow them where you’ll be able to access them next November.
* Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if necessary.
* Wash your home’s siding. This can be done with a garden hose. Cleaning solutions for siding are available in hardware stores.
* If you have a fence, check it for winter damage and repair anything that’s loose.
- * And finally, do resist the urge to rake up last autumn’s leaves, the ones that are on your lawn or flower borders. Pollinating insects overwinter under them and are likely to be still dormant. Disposing of those leaves means ridding the environment of these very important insects. We need them.