The last few chilly days are soon to be behind us, and the warming temperatures bring flowering plants and trees as Central Oregonians emerge from their winter slumber and begin to gravitate toward the outdoors. Winters can be harsh here, and it takes some spring cleaning and maintenance to get homes in tip-top shape so they can be enjoyed thoroughly, inside and out.
Spring maintenance and cleanup doesn't have to be a mundane chore; it can actually be a great time to add value to a home and create a cleaner, safer environment for your family and four-legged friends. People living in Central Oregon love being outdoors, and with busy lives it can be difficult to keep up on the tasks around the home.
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Create a cleaner and healthier indoor space with a new spring-cleaning tradition. Ditch the toxins used in some household cleaners and use homemade healthy cleaners. Do a quick online search to find plenty of healthier, safer and easy-to-make homemade cleaners that perform very well. Reusing cleaning bottles over and over also saves loads of plastic from entering the landfills. Instead of using harsh fragrances and air fresheners, use natural essential oils in a diffuser. To cool off at night, crack windows and run a ceiling fan which will save money on air conditioning costs.
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Everyone loves a beautifully landscaped lawn, but it can take a lot of time and water to keep that grass looking green. Consider replacing some of the lawn with decorative rock and drought-tolerant plantings. Instead of decorative flowers on the patio, try planting useful herbs or other vegetables, fruits and berries. Consult with an irrigation expert and make sure the sprinklers are on at appropriate times and for proper durations. Living in a high desert, water usage should be a consideration as there is an end to the supply. If it's time to repaint or refinish a deck, try a water based, eco-friendly product that will perform just as well as oil-based alternatives.
People want the best of both worlds: a beautiful home and outdoor space that's easy to maintain and is in great condition for impromptu dinners and drinks with friends after riding at Phil's trailhead all day. Lower-maintenance living also adds value to the home. Improvements such as synthetic decking or a hard paver patio are easy to keep clean and looking great year after year. Lower-water-use landscapes with proper natural weed barriers will keep the outdoors gorgeous with much less water and work. Providing a hardscape at the entrances to a home, like a paver walkway or flagstone patio in conjunction with a dirt-trapping doormat will actually keep floors cleaner for a longer period of time.
When embarking on spring maintenance projects, remember to keep in mind the three R's: Reduce, Reuse (or Repair) and Recycle wherever possible.