Spring-Cleaning and Home-Maintenance Checklist
By Sam Tamkin

Spring is here, and that means it’s spring cleanup time. Making a list of all the things to clean and repair or maintain can be daunting, so I use a spring-cleaning and home-maintenance checklist to make my job easier.

The first thing I do is walk around my home to see what needs to be done. As I go, I check off items on a couple of different lists: need to repair, need to clean, need to buy, need to unclutter, and, finally, need professional help.

Need to Repair: This list includes repairs I need to make inside and outside the home, including trimming bushes and trees, repairing siding, repainting and touching up paint, removing mold or mildew from siding, reseeding grass areas, picking up dead branches and debris left from the winter, sealcoating the driveway, and fixing or adjusting the garage doors. I also make a note to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and the filters in the air conditioner.

Need to Clean: The next list is for things I need to clean. Lawn chairs will need to be taken out and cleaned. The porch will need to be swept and washed down, and if winter has left garbage or other debris around the property, it will need to be picked up and thrown out.

Need to Buy: This is the list I take to the hardware and landscape stores. I know I’ll need plants and flowers to give the yard and the front of the home color during the coming months. I’ll also need grass seed for the lawn and insect-control products to keep pests in check in and around the home.

Need to Unclutter: This list includes all the rooms in the home. I ask everybody to go through their rooms and look for things they no longer use, care for, or need. We then pile up these items to either sell at a garage sale or donate to a charity.

Need Professional Help: If I can’t get to all of these items or I am not able to undertake some of the repairs, I’ll have to call someone in to help out, such as a landscaper for the trees and a pest-control company for the insects. I have an exterior door that has taken a beating from many winters. I could try my hand at it, but I think I’ll call a professional to replace it.

My checklist involves several different lists to keep everything organized. You might not need everything on my lists, or you might have maintenance chores I don’t have to worry about. (Do you clean your pool or do special landscaping every spring?) Leave your spring-cleaning and home-maintenance tips and suggestions in the comments.

Samuel Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney with more than 20 years of experience working with residential and commercial clients. Sam received his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign-Urbana and currently practices as a real estate lawyer in Chicago.


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