Believe it or not, spring is actually just around the corner. Though the 9 degree mornings and frozen front walks may have you fooled, soon enough we’ll be taking the shorts out of the closet and swapping the duck boots for flip flops. Unfortunately, that also means spring cleaning! Whether you live here year round or are getting the summer house ready for company, dusting off the winter doldrums takes time and effort. As real estate agents, many of us own or manage rental properties that require our attention every spring. Here’s a few of our favorite tips and tricks to make the cleaning or reopening go smoother:
Find a Trusted Handyman
We’re convinced that there’s nothing a trustworthy handyman can’t or won’t do to help you out. Our agency has a couple on speed-dial for our listings, and our agents know more than their fair share. A good handyman can help with turning the water on for spring, making repairs from this winter’s many storms, doing some basic tree trimming and otherwise handling some of the heavy lifting you can’t or don’t want to do. Inevitably, there’s always one or two unpleasant surprises each spring that need to be handled. If you’re a second homeowner and can’t make it down in time to handle some tasks, the handyman can make your arrival much more pleasant by taking some work off your plate.
Invest in “Smart Home” Technology
You’ve probably seen the ads on TV touting thermostats that connect to the internet, lights that can be turned on from a smartphone and other space age technology. Well, here’s the cool thing – it all works! Whether you work full-time on Cape Cod or simply want a warm home to come down to on a Thursday or Friday night, smart home technology can make that happen. It’s also a safety tool – it can alert you to the big things, like break-ins, but also gives you the ability to monitor smaller mishaps that make for headaches. Much of this technology is available with your cable TV service. It has the added benefit of upping the resale value of your home – if this technology is already built in, today’s tech-savvy buyers won’t have to add it.
Get an Early Start
Take it from us – you want to have this stuff taken care of. Get out there on the first nice day in March and get some big chunks of work taken care of – handling downed branches, raking leaves and making the endless runs to the transfer station. Having a clean yard is a huge psychological boost and makes it a lot easier to do work on the house itself. We strongly suggest cleaning out the gutters during this round of cleaning. You’d be surprised how much stuff builds up over the winter, and you definitely want to have them clear before the always-rainy April hits. Taking a Saturday to get a good chunk of the cleaning done will make everything else easier further into spring.
Go With Mesh Baskets – Not Trash Bags!
If you’re like us, you take your yard clippings and scraps to the local transfer station. For years, we filled green trash bags with our clippings and had to deal with shaking them out and properly disposing of them afterwards. That is until we discovered the wonders of mesh gardening buckets (or baskets). Collapsable and portable, they hold between 40 and 45 gallons worth of whatever junk you can throw in them and do the job of about two trash bags a piece. Depending on the size of your property, you should always have at least two of these versatile haulers on hand to make disposing of yard waste easier and cleaner. They also do double duty as leaf haulers in the fall! Most hardware stores on Cape Cod carry them. The cheaper old-fashioned plastic versions work just fine as well.
Bribe Friends to Help You
We are not at all above bribing friends and family to help us with our spring cleaning! Take it from us, few can resist the temptation of lobster rolls, a cookout or a cold beer or two, even when earning one involves raking or painting shingles. You can save a lot of time (and money) by DIY-ing most spring cleaning and touchup tasks with a team rather than by yourself or with your significant other. We once re-painted a one-story beach cottage in about 1/2 a day thanks to extended family that couldn’t say no to lobster rolls and fried clams. In total, paint, food and drink cost us around $200. Can’t beat that!