Gear Up Your Home For Summer With This 5 Point Checklist

With spring fever out of the way and school winding down, it’s time to stop putting off the Spring reset and finally get your home ready for summer! But getting all the Winter muck out of the way and getting into full summer mode can be a little overwhelming.

From giving your interior a spring spruce up, to clearing the gutters, to deciding what to do with your garden, it can be easy to just give up and do the bare minimum to get by. But a little structure in the form of this 5 point checklist can streamline your transition and maximize your summer enjoyment!

1. Getting Your Lawn In Order

For those of us who don’t have artificial turf, a lush, green lawn is integral to enjoying an outdoor space. The first step is to clear out all the garbage, debris and broken branches that accumulated over the fall and winter.

Once your space is clean, the next step is to aerate and seed your lawn to avoid soil compaction and to revive bald patches. 

Finally, you want to get your garden beds up to speed and give your soil a good turn when it’s damp, not wet. Then you want to turn in a few inches of compost and add some mulch on top to keep your soil fertile and weeds in check.

2. Power Wash And Touch Ups

Next you need to get your hardscaping in order. A nice powerwash will clear all the dirt and stains that have been taking a foothold since the previous summer. 

Once everything is clean you can start to repair anything that’s broken, like patio stones, gutters and any other outdoor features subject to wear and tear. 

Finally, complete the job with paint touch ups to your exterior walls and a restaining of your deck to keep it looking good and increasing its longevity.

3. Light Up Your Space

Outdoor lighting is essential if you like spending time outdoors. With so many smoldering days on the horizon, sometimes the most enjoyable time outdoors is after the sun goes down and you’re at an ideal temperature. Getting the right lighting in place will do more than just boost your after hours curb appeal!

4. Be Prepared For Storms

With unpredictable weather becoming more predictable, it’s important to be prepared for storms so that not all your hard work is done in vain.

Make sure to trim back any tree limbs that may be encroaching on your house. Amid powerful winds they can cause considerable damage. Another important tip to help prevent flooding, water damage and mold is cleaning your gutters so water can be properly redirected.

5. Air Conditioning Efficiency

This one doesn’t have much to do with your outdoor space, but it is important to keep your energy costs under control and mama earth happy. You can ensure this by giving your A/C a quick check up since it will be eating up most of your bill during the smoldering summer months.

Make sure there are no blockages around the unit by keeping your grass trimmed and the area clean. Replace the filter at least every two months (monthly is recommended), and use a fan to ensure good airflow, minimizing usage.

8 Ways to Deodorize Your House With Baking Soda

Does your house have an old lingering smell?

Buyers won’t be interested in a house that doesn’t pass the smell test. They don’t know what that smell is, or where it’s coming from. Worst of all, they don’t know if it’s a permanent smell they will have to live with for years. The slightest odd smell will have your potential buyers dash out the door before they even get a chance to see the entire place. 

If you’ve tried opening the window, mopping, and using sprays, but the smell still won’t go away, you might want to try baking soda. It is non-toxic, works with removing most odor, and you might even already have some lying somewhere in your house. 


Unlike other air fresheners, baking soda doesn’t just mask odors, it absorbs them. It is especially good at neutralizing smelly compounds in foods like sour milk and rotten meat. 


If you don’t want buyers to get a face full of leftover smells when they open the fridge, put an open box of baking soda in the fridge and one in the freezer too. 

Baking soda placed in refrigerator to deodorize bad odor

If the smell is really bad, opening a corner of a baking soda box isn’t going to cut it. Instead, pour the baking soda onto a plate to increase the surface area and stick that in the fridge. 

Trash Can

While you are taking out the trash, make sure to check the trash can itself. Sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of the trash can and into the trash bag to get it smelling like new.

Garbage Disposal

If you have a general smell in your kitchen, it might be coming from the open drains. Just pour ¼ cup of baking soda down the drain along with ¼ cup of vinegar and some kosher salt to neutralize the smell. 

After you see bubbles rise from the drain, wait 5-10 minutes and wash it down with some boiling water. Then run the disposal with cool water. 


Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of water to a microwave-safe bowl and zap it for 3 minutes. The baking soda will eliminate the smell while the steam from the water will make it easy to clean the stains. 


If you haven’t turned on the oven in a while to avoid that burning smell, baking soda can help with that too. With half a cup of baking soda and 2 quarts of water, create a thick paste that you can scrub all over your oven. Then wait 24 hours before you wipe it off with water. 

This will not only clean the oven, but it will also make it smell better. Plus, this same method can be used on the range, the fridge, the backsplash, and most other surfaces in the kitchen. The paste is noncorrosive, so you don’t have to worry about damaging surfaces like other harsh cleaners. 

Person applying mixed baking soda onto surface of oven for effective and safe cleaning

Living Room

Baking soda also helps eliminate human odors like sweat or pet urine, which might be the culprit in your living room or bedroom.

Carpets & Rugs

Nothing takes a worse beating in a house than the carpets and rugs, that is especially true when it comes to smells. After years of walking on them, spilling things on them, and not cleaning them as often as you should, they probably need a little deodorizing. 

All you have to do is sprinkle a little baking soda across the carpet or rug and let it sit for a few hours. If the smell is still there, try leaving it overnight, then vacuuming it up. 

You can also use this technique on dog and cat beds or a couch or bed. Anything with fabric can be deodorized with a little baking soda. 

Bedroom Closets

If you keep your dirty socks in a hamper in your closet, your whole bedroom might smell that way. Keeping an open box of baking soda in your closet can help clear up the smell. But if you want to go straight to the source, you can sprinkle baking soda directly in your shoes. 

Air Freshener

Since baking soda only eliminates odors that it comes in contact with, making a spray will help it get around the room better. Just add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle with water and you have a deodorizer you can spray anywhere around the house. 

Baking soda and water solution spray

With such a healthy, eco-friendly, budget-friendly way to remove odors around the house, you might want to pick up a box of baking soda next time you’re in the store and try these tips out for yourself. Your nose will thank you. 

5 Ways You Are Self-Sabotaging Your Curb Appeal

Real Estate Agents who understand what it takes to sell a home understand the importance of curb appeal. The most important aspect of a quick home sale is getting as many people in the door as possible. As such, it’s important to make a good first impression in order to get potential buyers in the right frame of mind. No matter how good your listing photos look, if the outside of your house is a horror show, not only will far fewer people refuse to step inside, the few that do will enter it in the wrong frame of mind.

It’s understandable that not many sellers would want to engage in the expense and heartache involved with doing a full overhaul on their landscape, but there are many instances where sellers are in full self-sabotage mode without realizing it. So while it’s understandable that a seller wouldn’t be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to increase their curb appeal, there are no excuses for the little, virtually free things that can be done to keep it respectable.

1. Grimey Windows

No matter how diligent you are at cleaning the inside of your home, including your inside windows unless you wash them from the outside, they will appear dirty and have a noticeable effect on your curb appeal. You don’t have to wash them once a week or anything like that, just make sure you give them a thorough scrubbing with soap and water and a hose down twice a year.

Window with very dirty and dusty glass in daylight

2. Overgrown Lawn

Probably the most common curb appeal killer is an overgrown lawn. At least twice a month, it’s important to maintain your lawn. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to dig out every weed, but as long as the grass is short and you have put the proper care into edging, it will look fine. The point is not to stick out like a sore thumb with respect to your neighbors.

Garden gnome disgusted by overgrown side yard.

3. Decrepit Garage Door

One of the first things that capture the attention of onlookers is the garage door, making it a vital aspect of curb appeal. This can be problematic because garage doors suffer a great deal of wear and tear. If replacing your garage door is not in the budget, there’s no excuse for not giving it a quick DIY paint job on a lazy Sunday.

KYIV, UKRAINE – September 02, 2014: Contractors installing garage door opener. Repair garage door opener system.

4. Front Door

If the garage door is one of the first things people look at, one of the few things it’s surpassed by is the front door. If your front door isn’t up to snuff, you don’t have to completely replace it with something new, nice front doors are expensive. But repainting it and replacing the hardware will give a much-needed facelift with minimal expense.

Close-up. Carpenter with an electric screwdriver fixes the plaque for the lock of a wooden door.

5. Outdoor Lighting

Curb appeal during the daylight hours is as important as curb appeal at night. When a property is on the market, there will be prospective buyers driving by to check out the house; oftentimes it is after work hours when the sun is about to set. If your lighting is too dim your house can look uninviting, and if it’s too bright it can be intimidating. Make sure to replace the bulbs with the right intensity to create an ambiance that is comfortable to the eye. If it’s still too dark you can light the path to your door with solar-powered lights. They are inexpensive and impose no energy cost.

Luxury house at night in Vancouver, Canada.