Spring is here! (At least, according to the calendar. We received about an inch of snow overnight, which I hope will be the last snow until the late fall.)
For the five of us in central Iowa, spring means that it’s time to get outdoors again after a long winter. We usually gorge on the outdoors on the first nice days of spring, doing things like going to state parks and enjoying the neighborhood.
Of course, the warm weather of the spring means that you’re going to have tons of little opportunities to fix up things that didn’t make sense a few months ago. Typically, outdoor tasks are a lot less appealing when the weather is freezing, but give yourself a nice day and there are a lot of tasks that seem appealing. Give yourself a few nice days and it’s clear that there are indoor changes to be made as well.
Here are eight tasks that you should strongly consider taking on over the next few weeks as spring blooms.
Properly inflate your car tires
Proper inflation of your car tires plays a huge role in automobile efficiency. For every 8 PSI that your tires are below the recommended inflation, you lose 1% of your fuel efficiency. Given that it’s so easy to fill up your tires, you should do it often.
The problem is that it’s a cold task. I don’t particularly like standing next to the gas station in zero degree weather trying to fill up my tires, so it’s something that often slides through the winter.
Because of that, it makes a lot of sense to take advantage of the first nice day of spring to head to the gas station and air up your tires to the recommended pressure.
Change the settings of your ceiling fans
During the winter, your ceiling fans should be rotating in a clockwise direction in order to distribute heat throughout the room evenly. During the summer, ceiling fans are more efficient running in the other direction to blow air straight down on people in the room. So, you’ll want your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise.
You can assess the direction by standing underneath the fan and watching the blades. Are they moving clockwise or counterclockwise? If they’re moving clockwise, you need to find the little switch on your fan that changes the direction and flip it.
Doing this little task significantly improves the cooling of your home in the summer because it makes slightly higher temperatures more tolerable. You can move your thermostat up a degree or two while still leaving your home quite livable.
Check your attic fan (and install one if you don’t have one)
In the summer, an attic fan blows super-hot air out of your attic, making it easier for your house to stay cool. You’ll want to go up there and make sure that the fan is plugged in and operating.
If you don’t have one in your home, you may want to consider one. The actual process of installing a fan is fairly complex, so you may want to evaluate whether it’s worth hiring someone to install it.
Clean up your yard
Cleaning up your yard has several benefits. It improves property value for you. It also improves property value for your neighbors, which can facilitate good neighbor relations. It can also make your yard more pleasing to you, which raises your own internal sense of well-being.
Get out there and clear out the trash and dead weeds. Trim plants and trees that look uneven and unappealing. You don’t have to be a master landscaper to take things from an after-winter mess to a presentable spring yard.
Thoroughly clean your car
In winter, cars tend to get covered in ash, salt, and other road maintenance substances. Those substances can be really hard on automobiles, bringing forth rust and eventually structural damage to the vehicle.
You can wash your car at home quite quickly with a garden hose and some appropriate soap and brushes. You can also just run it through an automated car wash, which will do a solid job.
Make sure all of your car’s fluids are at the right level
Not only can this help you identify problems before they turn into a major crisis, it also is a very gentle way to help someone to understand more about how their car works.
Most of the fluids in a car are very simple to check. Your owner’s manual contains very specific instructions on how to check each of these fluids and assess whether they’re at the right level. If you find one that’s low, then you know that there’s an issue that needs to be resolved before it turns into a crisis, saving you money.
If you want to go a little further, try changing your motor oil if it’s time to change it. It’s also a simple process and it can save a surprising amount of money.
Get a short haircut
A short haircut works well in spring as you no longer need the longer hair to keep your head warmer. A short haircut also typically requires less maintenance, less hair care products, and lasts longer before the next needed haircut.
Our family always gets spring haircuts (in fact, we all already have). When I washed my youngest son’s hair last night, I only needed a drop of shampoo to get it nice and clean. Just a week ago, it took quite a bit more. Repeat that over many baths and you get the picture.
Not only that, we won’t have to get our hair cut again for months – literally.
Clean your home and make a “yard sale” pile
A spring cleaning is a great task for home cleanliness, but it’s also a great task for reducing clutter. Cleaning out closets and cluttered spots should produce a pile of things that you don’t really need – and that’s a great source for a yard sale.
A yard sale can turn that unwanted stuff into cash. You can choose to take on a yard sale yourself, or you can find a neighbor or friend who will run one with you or allow you to sell your items at their sale.
Spring has arrived – and with it, opportunity.