It’s that time of year again! Spring has finally sprung here on Cape Cod, and it’s time to get ready for the warmer summer months. Year-rounders and summer folks know the drill; time to rake the yard, clear the gutters, stain anything that needs staining (this year, everything), paint, paint and paint some more. Hard work, yes, but worth it for that first lobster roll and Cape Cod Red on the back porch.
We’re here to help. No, we’re not going to get on our hands and knees to stain your deck for you – though some agents might go that far to get a listing or sale – we’ve assembled some tips to help you make the most of your spring cleaning.
1.) Bribe Friends. Many hands make light work! Rather than trying the whole kit-n-kaboodle on your own, tempt friends and family with a weekend on Cape Cod and some food and drink. Instead of paying $2,000 for a new paint job on your cottage, offer neighbors and cousins lunch and beverages on you – for a crew of 6, you can do a $2,000 job for $300.
2.) Start Early in the Morning. Suck it up and get moving early. Like everything else on Cape Cod, spring cleaning takes way too long if you get up too late. Let’s say you start at 8:30 on a Saturday; four solid hours of work puts you right at lunch time, and, combined with tip #1, can get a lot of work out of the way by your first break. On warmer days, it also helps to avoid direct sunlight that can tire you out quickly and make some of your work surfaces (especially decks) uncomfortably hot to the touch.
3.) Organize your workspace. This is especially true if you’re going to be staining or doing any work underfoot. Plan where to leave your supplies so you’re not stuck reaching awkwardly or worried about stepping in any wet paint/stain or freshly laid mulch. Take an extra five minutes before your start to figure out where everything is going, and how you’re going to work your way through the project. A well-laid out space can eliminate much of the headaches associated with cleaning and manual labor and make the whole project move faster.
4.) Ask the experts. If you’re unsure about the best way to tackle a project, or what products work best in a Cape Cod climate, ask at your local hardware store. Certain types of paints, stains and sealants work well with certain types of wood, and making sure that your chosen product will stand up to direct sunlight will save you money and headaches in the long run. For some projects, it may be best to spend the money and hire a professional.
5.) Get it done before Memorial Day. Trust us on this one. You’re going to want to plan to take at least one weekend in April or early May and knock out as many projects as possible before tourist season starts here on the Cape. Getting it all done early prevents sitting in traffic and lets you get to the stores while they’re not busy and mobbed with people trying to get last minute projects done. If you’re hiring a professional, now is the time to do it. Landscapers, painters and handymen are frequently all contracted out for the summer, and it can take a long time for them to get around to your projects. The time you take now will pay off later.
Do you have any good tips you lean on every year? Leave a comment and tell us!