Spring is always a good time for giving your home a deep clean, decluttering your closets, or working on your garden, but this year in particular, those tasks might seem even more top of mind than usual.
With so much time on your hands at home, you might be feeling antsy to check some additional home improvement tasks off your to-do list. All of a sudden those things you thought you didn’t have time for—like starting a vegetable garden or reorganizing your garage—just became a top priority.
To help get you going in the right direction, we tapped the knowledge of three different experts to share their tips for how to prep your home for spring and summer. From checking on the health of your plumbing to turning your lawn into a haven for pollinators, we’ve got you covered with their first-hand expertise and guidance.
Gardening & Lawncare
Kate Franzman — Farm Manager, Patachou Inc. and Founder, Bee Public
Leave your dandelions alone
We all have a little more time on our hands and eradicating the yellow weeds in our yard might seem like a great way to beat your boredom. However, dandelions are one of the season’s earliest food sources for bees and other pollinators. Leave them be. If you must, pull them by the root and avoid using nasty herbicides, which are harmful not only to pollinators but to pets and humans, as well.
Pollinators need food sources in every season, especially early spring and late fall. Plant flowers now to provide sweet sweet nectar for them in all seasons.
Prioritize native plants
Pollinators prefer plants that are native to their area versus ornamental plants. Check out Indiana Native Plant Society or Marion County Soil and Water for resources on native plants.
Start your pandemic victory garden
If you’re starting a garden for the first time, don’t get overwhelmed by the details. Use what materials you already have around the house and yard. Plants will grow in just about anything with proper drainage. You can get garden compost delivered from a local company such as Green Cycle or Indiana Mulch and Stone. They even have a handy calculator to help you determine exactly how much you need.
Things you can plant now: kale, lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots, cabbage, and arugula.
Wait until mid-May to plant: tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cukes.
When in doubt, follow the recommendations on the back of your seed packet.
No backyard? No worries
Don’t let that stop you. Fill pots, canvas bags, plastic tubs, whatever you have with potting mix (which holds water better in smaller containers), add some organic fertilizer, and grow some food.
Plumbing & Maintenance
Hope Armand — Marketing & Community Engagement Manager, Hope Plumbing
Schedule a preventive mainline clearing
Hope Plumbing strongly recommends annual preventive mainline clearings. Springtime plants and tree roots grow rapidly due to all the spring rain we get, and that can cause some serious issues to a main sewer line. We recommend annual preventive maintenance to make sure those roots don’t shorten the sewers life span. Not to mention, with the influx of people at home right now and systems being used more frequently, it’s better to prevent any future mainline issues before they occur.
Hint hint: If you’re an Indy Maven Member, you get access to this service (and so much more) for free! See membership plan for details and restrictions.
Check up on your sump pump and water heater
With heavy spring rain, it’s important to inspect your sump pump to ensure it is functioning smoothly. Additionally, you’ll want to check your water heater for any signs of corrosion or active leaks. Look for puddles, rust, or soot around the control panel. If you see any signs of these, give us a call. Oh, and always make sure your water heater’s temperature stays below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean your gutters and downspouts
This is a big one this time of year! Make sure all yard drains, gutters, and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
Check your water valves
Occasionally, it’s a good idea to turn off the water valves in your home, then turn them back on again. This just helps to keep the parts from becoming stuck.
Look for any other drips or leaks
Look for any drips or leaks that may need repairs in your kitchen, bathrooms, or anywhere else you have plumbing. In addition, it’s a good idea to examine your toilets and tanks for any hidden leaks or cracks and to make sure your toilet is not constantly running—which could run up your water bill.
Organizing & Decluttering
Maria Baer — Residential Organizer, The Baer Minimalist
Organize your pantry
One of the first spaces I always recommend digging into is your pantry, which rings true now more than ever since we are eating every meal at home. Pull out all expired food and make a plan to use it (or discard it), then recycle all the cardboard so that you can see the quantity of items on hand. There is nothing worse than digging into a box for your favorite snack and finding it empty! From there, create zones (like breakfast, baking, canned goods, grab and go snacks, etc.) and make sure the items you use most frequently are within arms reach. The top shelves should be reserved for items used just a few times a year, such as appliances or that random picnic basket that you keep planning to use. In fact, now is the perfect time to put that to good use!
Make the most of your outdoor storage
With sunnier days on the horizon, now is an ideal time to spruce up your garage and outdoor living spaces. Assess the vertical space (i.e. walls) that is being underutilized. Implement shelving to hold miscellaneous items or tracks to hold your tools, after you sort through and set aside items that are no longer serving you. In your outdoor space, consider a weather-proof storage bench to hold kid’s toys or furniture cushions when not in use.
Donate what you don’t need
While many organizations are not currently accepting non-essential donations, still take the time to pull items together and find a designated parking spot for them (such as a basement or garage) for the time being. There are so many worthy non-profits across Indianapolis that would love to put your items to good use. And I’ve pulled together a big ole’ list for all of you generous Mavens here.
Looks like it’s going to be a busy spring at home, huh? Between all of the decluttering, planting, and caring for your home, just don’t forget to take care of yourself, too (we are in the middle of a pandemic, after all). Take a deep breath and remember, even though we’re in our separate homes, we’re all in this together.
Hope Plumbing and The Baer Minimalist are Indy Maven partners.
Ally Denton is a local Realtor who is excited but kinda nervous about starting a garden. She writes about real estate and home ownership on her website, Indy Home Guide.