By Emily Young
Bringing warm weather and long days, summer is the perfect time to tackle home improvement projects. You don’t need to worry about sleet or snow derailing your plans, and you can take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight.
Some homeowners schedule major renovations for the summer—like remodeling the kitchen or landscaping the backyard. But you can make positive changes to your house even if you don’t have a lot of spare time or money. These simple summer hacks will help you create a happier, safer, and more comfortable home.
1. Clean Out Your Clutter
When you open the shades and emerge from winter hibernation, you start to notice how much stuff has accumulated over the last few months. What you need is a good summer cleaning, especially if you’re planning to host any backyard barbecues or overnight guests.
Enlist help from friends or family, and lead a day of decluttering. If taking on the entire house is too intimidating, start with just one room. While sorting through items, ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this? Do I need it still? Does it make me happy?” Separate everything into distinct piles: Keep, Donate, Recycle, and Throw Away. Take discarded items to the trash or a secondhand store immediately, and revel in how open and light your home feels.
2. Go Greener
An energy-efficient home is not only good for the planet but also good for your wallet. Even if you’re not ready to install solar panels or switch to low-flow faucets, you can still implement beneficial green upgrades in your house.
Install a programmable thermostat so you only run the air-conditioning when people are home. Updating your house’s insulation helps it stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Replace drafty windows and broken shutters, and swap out incandescent lightbulbs with long-lasting compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). You’ll make your home more ecofriendly and save on your monthly energy bills.
3. Boost Security
Home security is always a priority, but it’s even more of a concern for travel-heavy times like summer. Before you leave on a trip, you want to know that your house is in good hands and that everything will be there when you return.
Think about what will give you peace of mind while you’re traveling. Do you need a straightforward alarm system with window and door sensors? Are you interested in surveillance cameras or 24-hour professional monitoring? Do you want complete remote access to security controls? Research home security systems, then find and install the best one to suit your needs.
4. Enjoy the Outdoors
It’s a typical summer dilemma: you want to spend more time in your backyard, but it’s too hot during the day, and bugs are a nuisance at night. Instead of letting your home’s outdoor spaces go to waste, look for ways to solve the problems that keep you inside.
Create more shaded areas. Plant trees along the perimeter of your yard to provide natural shade, or add a wide umbrella, awning, or pergola to cover your patio furniture. If you have a larger budget, invest in a screened-in porch that protects guests from both the elements and the bugs.
For additional relief from mosquitoes, try a combination of outdoor deterrents. Set up circulating fans to keep the air (and the bugs) moving. Dispose of any standing water that could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and place citronella candles or lanterns in strategic locations throughout the yard.
5. Give Your House a Makeover
After enduring months of winter weather (and perhaps years of wear and tear), your home’s exterior could use a little TLC. Freshen it up, and you’ll notice an immediate boost in your curb appeal.
Grab a sturdy ladder, a pair of work gloves, and a garden trowel, and clean out all the debris that’s accumulated in your gutters. This job is best done in warm, dry weather, and your future self will be grateful during the next big storm.
Next, hire a professional—or if you’re confident in your DIY abilities, rent equipment—to pressure wash your house. Pressure washing can rinse away unsightly layers of grit and grime on siding made of wood, brick, aluminum, steel, and traditional stucco. Do a deep clean of the outside windows with a bucket of hot soapy water, a squeegee, and a chamois. If your exterior is due for a complete facelift, replace the siding or touch up the paint.
This summer, savor spending time at home, both inside and out. Complete just one of these home improvement hacks, and enjoy the rewards for the rest of the coming year.