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The calendar has rolled over to April. Ignore the snow flakes that might be flying by your window. Warmer weather is on the way! The weatherman predicted it, so it must be true, right?

Don’t put any of those seedlings that you started a few weeks ago outdoors just yet though…

But it is time to start thinking about Spring Cleaning none the less. Is this your idea of it?

 

Hmm, not a pretty sight. I have seen a bathroom or two like that in my days of wandering through prime homes for sale. Ick! It doesn’t have to be that hard though. Here are a few spring cleaning tips that might go a little further, from a famous celebrity even!

 

Geez, that Ellen is some smart. I think that I could market her Swiffer around my house, at least from the kids perspective!

Something tells me that a few more practical spring cleaning ideas might be needed though. Yes, there’s the whole plan, purge, dust,  clean from top to bottom, wipe, wash, organize and order out at the end of it all. I mean, spring cleaning is a lot of work!

So I wish you speed, patience and good fortune in your endeavours. You never know what you are going to find between those couch cushions, right! For more ideas and a recipe for a natural cleaner, here are a few more tips. And I will cross my fingers that perhaps by the time you are done, the weather will finally begin to cooperate and offer us some sunshine and temperatures above zero.

Happy cleaning!

The snow is slowly melting in London, Ontario. Here and there, early spring bulbs are beginning to poke through the cold ground. Temperatures are still sticking pretty close to 0°C, but with April in sight, I suspect that Spring just might be on the way.

Is there anything that you should be doing right now around your home in anticipation of the approaching warm weather? Let’s take a look;

 

Early Spring Home Maintenance

Indoors:

  • Time to tackle your Spring cleaning!
    • spring cleaningremove storm windows or protective film from around windows
    • wash windows and window screens
    • clean vinyl blinds and other window coverings
    • recaulk tub and shower enclosures
    • reseal grout lines
    • change furnace filter
    • clean dryer vent
    • dust ceilings, walls and other hard to reach places that sometimes get forgotten
    • thoroughly dust home
    • wax floors
    • thoroughly clean stove, fridge and other appliances
    • defrost freezer
    • replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
    • clean ceiling fans and switch to counter-clockwise direction
    • shampoo carpets

Outdoors:

  • It’s a little early to do too much outside, but now is the time to assess what projects might need attending to this season.
    • Home

      Home (Photo credit: hyperboreal)

      inspect roof, eavestroughs and chimney for any winter damage (start calling for estimates if needed)

    • check patio area and driveway for any winter heaving
    • clean up winter debris, like fallen twigs and limbs
    • clean patio furniture
    • inspect barbecue and give it a spring tune-up
    • decide how much mulch to order for the season
    • prune deciduous trees and shrubs that do not flower in the spring
    • sharpen your lawn mower blades & do a tune-up as necessary
    • inspect brick work and foundation for any cracks or loose pieces
    • once ground is firm enough to walk on, have it aerated

With temperatures on the rise, the most important thing you can do is to get outside and soak up some of that vitamin D. Thank goodness, Spring has arrived!

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen

Well today, we have that sunshine! Glory be, but it is well received and needed in these parts. It is a wonder that us poor Canadians make it through the winter at all some years, when sunshine is such a fleeting thing. I tell you though, it has given me some pep in my step and the will to want to tackle a home renovation project. And isn’t Spring one of the best times to freshen up your home, after the long dark winter months have left us cramped inside?

Who’s with me? Time to grab your paint brushes and paint a new palette in your home. And what colour would that be? Well lets took a look at what some of the experts are recommending this Spring;

SPRING COLOURS 2013

paint roller beside paint brush at paint reservoir

Over at Style at Home, designers Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman suggest a little daydreaming before picking up that paint brush. Their mantra in colour selection is “mood, match and sample”. They recommend you think about what mood you want to set in a room, before deciding on the actual colour. Psychologists suggest that colours play a big role in our physiological response to stimuli, so the hue of a room can in fact make a big difference. For example, in your bedroom you might want to have a relaxing mood (think blues or greens) conducive to sleeping, but your game room’s colour palette could kick it up a notch with a shade of red (heightens excitement).

Before breaking the bank on entirely refurnishing your room to give a fresh look, take into consideration existing pieces within it. Sabados and Hyndman realize that paint selection has more to do with the colour of the furniture you already have. Their suggestion is to “match” your new colour scheme to larger items that cannot be replaced so easily. Figure out what other shades might go with your favourite easy chair or be daring with a contrasting colour to your couch. Just make sure to work with the items that aren’t easily replaced in your room before selecting this year’s new hue.

Is this your look for Spring?

And lastly, sample. They are talking about trying out an actual colour sample on your walls here. Unless you plan to tack up 30 or more paint chips to give you an idea of how your room might actually look in that tone, why not try painting a sample square, or better yet a cardboard section to move around the room to see how it works. It will save you time and heartache when the work is through.

If you are wondering about some of the exact shades that the professionals are suggesting for this spring’s palette, look no further than HGTV and their Spring Colour Guide. The word on the street is that pastels are where it’s at this year. You don’t have to sample from the Easter egg dying kit here people. Think pastel yellow in your living room to welcome everyone home and pastel purple in the spare room to give an airy feel. Even pastel pink in the right tone has a place this season. All you have to do is try it on to see.

Blue walls, accents and decor; who could ask for anything more!

Even the folks at Huffington Post have weighed in on the hottest colours this year. Their take is that blue is a versatile colour well worth looking into (and I bet you can find it in pastel too!). And that can go for anything from the walls to cupboards, or drapes to accent pieces in your home. That’s right, colour can be found in lots of places within a room or even your home as a whole. They see playful cobalt blue in a kid’s room, teal as a great accent colour for lamps and doormats, and sofas in tropical turquoise. Don’t be afraid of texture either, as it gives depth to a colour, like when you pair it into a jute rug or shiny ceramic vase. You might want to draw the line at a popcorn ceiling in the suggested complimentary colour of nectarine though. Monaco blue for your trim is another thing entirely though!

Whatever you choose, make sure that you love the colours you pick. Your home is your sanctuary and it deserves a little love this Spring after suffering through a long, dark winter. Just like you do. So while you are off to the paint store to pick up your new spring colour palette, why not stop to smell the flowers and enjoy some of the brilliant sunshine we are receiving today.

Lovely. Another storm watch. They are predicting 15-20 cm of snow to fall in Southwestern Ontario from tonight through to tomorrow. If you have to go out, drive carefully, as it will be a wet mix with rain intermixed into all that snow. Not looking forward to the morning commute, I can tell you. Just another winter day in Canada.

Seed packets are in!

Ah, but there is a bright spot in all of this. If you take a peek into your local garden centre, a sure sign of spring is already there in the form of seed packets! If you are an avid gardener at heart, now is the time to start planning this year’s garden. That means ordering seed catalogues and deciding how many plants to start indoors to get a jump-start on your garden. You can save time and money by starting your own seeds indoors and all it really takes is a bright spot in your home. If natural light is at a premium in your house, then fluorescent lights will do the trick as well. Once you have your growing medium and the pots to grow the seeds in, then all that is required is a little water and you are off to the races!

A tray used in horticulture (for sowing and ta...

A tray used in horticulture (for sowing and taking plant cuttings) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you shaking your heads at the memory of a less than green thumb from previous seasons, relax. Winter doldrums disappear at the sight of tiny saplings sticking their head out of the dirt. And it really isn’t nearly as hard as one would think! Here are a few pointers to keep in mind before you start;

  • Do you want to grow annuals (live for one season) or perennials (return every year)? If you are thinking of seeds, annuals are the easier choice.
  • Are you wanting edible plants or flowers/grasses? They often have very different propagation time periods, so set a time-table for your sowing schedule.
  • If you are looking to start fruits or vegetables, how many people are you planning to feed with them? You only need as many plants as per people you will be feeding, so plant your seeds accordingly. No need to have 20 plants producing enough food to fee your neighbourhood, when you have a family of three to provide for.
  • When is the last frost date for your area? Depending upon the plants that you grow, you need to know when the last frost will occur in your area (approximately). Planting seeds too early might leave you with leggy specimens that don’t stand a chance once they reach the outside world. Calculate how long before planting you need to sow your seeds, then count back from the projected frost date. That is when to plant them.
  • Are you planting more than one thing? More than likely you are, so make sure to label everything! Seedlings tend to look alike when they first come up, so do yourself a favour and write on a popsicle stick, on the container or whatever else is handy to make sure that you know what you have on your hands a few weeks after planting your seeds.
  • Once it is time to take your seedlings outside to transplant, don’t forget the most important thing – harden them off! The atmosphere between your house (fairly uniform) to outside can differ greatly. Slowly acclimatize them to the outside sunshine and temperatures gradually, or else all your efforts will be for naught.

What is your best advice for the novice seed gardener? Any tips and tricks to help everything go and grow smoothly?

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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