May is here and it is the month we celebrate both Mothers’ Day and our Cottage kick off weekend with Victoria Day. This means that we need to get our outdoor spaces ready to enjoy and entertain. There is plenty to do from some “touch up” painting to replacing or preparing your outdoor cooking tools and BBQ station. So here is my list of things to put on your honey-do list to help you get things all ship shape and ready to enjoy the coming celebrations.
Repaint or stain your home or cottage’s exterior. Take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather in May and schedule a paint party. Re-paint or touch up siding and trim. Replace and repair siding and shingles as required before painting.
Inspect your exterior lighting. Ensure all outdoor lights are in working order. Don’t forget porch lights, landscape lighting, and motion-sensing security lights. Consider replacing bulbs with energy efficient bulbs or choose a lamp that will not attract moths or bugs. If you find loose electrical connections make repairs as needed.
Get ready for BBQ season. While it is not a fun job giving your grill a deep clean before the start of the out-door cooking season, doing so will ensure it works more efficiently and can prevent flare-ups. Clean the grates and interior with a grill brush and wash the exterior with warm, soapy water. Don’t forget to clean your grill tools (tongs, spatula, skewers) or replace them – they make a nice gift to yourself or for Mom. Stock up on charcoal or propane if needed. If you have a gas grill, be sure to check the fuel line for cracks, and clean out any clogged burner holes. You can easily replace a burner if it is corroded or too clogged up.
Inspect kitchen and bath fixtures. By doing regular upkeep on these areas you will help prevent costly water damage and repairs later. Re-grout or caulk around your counter tops and tile if needed. Check your taps for corrosion or slow leaks, and have these repaired as well. Remember the pH of the water in Muskoka is typically low and this will corrode the chrome and the washers over time so regular inspection will help you prevent bigger issues.
Check safety devices. Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Remember that they need to be replaced after a specified number of years so check each device to see if it needs to be updated. Replace batteries as needed. Don’t forget to check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace it if necessary.
Dust your walls and touch up paint. Use a broom with a microfiber cloth, and specialty telescopic duster or the dusting attachment on your vacuum to clean away dust from walls. Pay special attention to corners and baseboards. If you need a deeper clean, wipe down walls with warm, soapy water after dusting. Rinse with clean water, using a lint-free cloth. Touch up paint as needed on interior walls and trim.
Spruce-up your bedrooms. This is a wonderful time to rotate the mattresses on all beds and flip over if they are not pillow top. Change the heavy winter bedding for lighter weight bedding for the summer months. Once you have done all this you will need to dust nightstands, lamps, headboard, blinds and décor as you will have stirred up some motes with all this activity.
Deep clean the laundry room. Run your washing machine on the clean cycle with specialty tub cleaner or with vinegar for a natural solution using the hot water cycle. Front loading washing machines need this in particular and can get smelly if not done regularly. Wipe the rubber rim inside the door of the washer and dryer. Remove lint from the dryer vent. Open the panel of your dryer on the front below the door or from the back if necessary and with a vent brush or vacuum attachment clean out the acuminated lint and dust to prevent fires. Clean counter-tops, mop floors and restock supplies.
Prepare picnic supplies. Here comes the season for alfresco feasts so be ready! Sort through your outdoor dining supplies at the start of the season and keeping a basket of essentials within easy reach. Resupply as needed and have fun choosing bright decorative napkins and utensils. A few basics should be in your kit: a cheese knife, small cutting board, bottle opener and blanket, plus a few outdoor dishes and cups should see you through many a picnic.
Add a relaxing porch, patio or dock feature. Make your porch, patio or dock an inviting place to relax and hang out with the addition of a porch swing, rocking chairs or a glider. If you get too much sun you could add crisp white outdoor curtains to provide shade and look chic.
Look forward to spring in Muskoka as you work some of these ideas to make your Muskoka home or cottage a wonderful place to enjoy!