Nature takes care of the hard work: sending up colorful arrays of flowers, thickening the crowns of trees with leaves, greening up the lawns. For all the rest, you’re responsible. It’s March--time to freshen things up.
Banish the Clutter
One of the most rewarding tasks of spring cleanup is getting rid of unnecessary items. Take stock of each room in your house and identify the clutter: the things you don’t use, don’t like, or don’t want. Then get down to work. Separate the clutter into piles to be recycled, donated, sold or thrown in the trash. Pay particular attention to spare rooms and basements, where unused items tend to pile up.
Some municipalities offer free large-item pickups once or twice a year, such as Tidy Town in Shawnee (visit cityofshawnee.org for more information). For Prairie Village residents north of 75th Street, collection of large items will take place on April 13th, and on April 20th for those south of 75th. If you live in Kansas City, Missouri, you can schedule a bulky item pickup any time of year by calling 816-513-1313.
Keep Water Where It Belongs
April showers can bring more than May flowers. Seal any cracks in your home’s foundation to avoid basement flooding. For large fissures, you may want to call a contractor.
An opposite but potentially more serious problem may arise if you don’t regularly water your foundation. The current drought has been particularly hard on houses. As the soil dries out, it contracts, pulling away from the house and destabilizing the foundation. This causes the house to shift and can result in thousands of dollars worth of damage, as many unfortunate homeowners have experienced. If you’re not sure how to properly water your foundation, contact me for resources.
Another way to regulate the water around your house is to keep your gutters clean of debris and in good repair. Sling a hose into the gutter or wait for a rainfall and check the downspouts; is the water getting through, or are there blockages? What about leaks? Make sure the downspouts direct the water at least six feet away from the foundation.
Give Nature a Hand
Want to spruce up the landscape before the arrival of the first tulips and crocuses? Rake up the rest of last year’s leaves from flower beds, add compost to the soil and top with a layer of fresh mulch.
It’s not just the soil near your foundation that is likely to be hard and compacted, but under your lawn as well. Consider aerating, which helps lawns absorb water, nutrients and oxygen. If your lawn is a cool-season grass such as Kentucky bluegrass, wait till the fall, but for warm-weather grasses such as zoysia and Bermudagrass, the time to aerate is now. And, don’t forget the trees during your spring clean-up. Add mulch around the base of younger trees, keep tree roots watered and prune while leaf buds are still dormant.
The last step needed for spring clean-up? Wipe down your patio furniture. Spring is one of the best seasons in Kansas City. Take a seat outside and enjoy it. After all your hard work, you’ve earned it.