After being cooped up all winter, most of the country has cabin fever and is itching to get outside. Spring is the perfect time to beautify your home — and yourself.
And keep in mind that beauty applies to functionality as well. Something that looks nice, but does not work is not necessarily beautiful. So do not leave aside the clogged drain that has been plaguing your master bathroom all winter in favor of interior paint and new carpet. If that drain clog gets worse, the resulting flooding can make your house look like a floodplain.
Likewise, after a winter trapped indoors, you might feel like you need some beautification as well. Whether it is some outdoor activity to bring a bit of color (but not too much color) to your face, a good workout, or a visit to the spa, do not become so focused on your home’s needs that you forget your own needs.
Here are a few ideas for beautification projects for you and your house to take on this spring:
Clean the Yard
Spring cleaning is not just an indoor activity. Your yard has been taking a beating all winter and could probably use some cleaning. In much of the U.S. snow covered up fall leaves in November. While the even layer of white might have concealed the mess for a few months, it is now time to rake the leaves and bring beauty to your yard in time for summer.
Likewise, you no longer have cold and wet weather to blame for any clutter in your yard. Your used boat for sale sat in the driveway all winter because you could not tow it away in the snow. Now is the time to find it a new home.
If you cannot find a buyer willing to take it, consider donating it. The IRS allows you to take a deduction for the boat donation and it could be substantial. If the boat is used for the charity’s mission you can deduct the fair market value of the boat. For example, if you donate a boat worth $5,000 to a non-profit children’s camp for use as a boat, you can deduct $5,000. Conversely, if you donate the boat to charity so they can sell it to raise money, you can only deduct the sale price or $500, whichever is greater. So, consider donating it to a charity that can use it. They will appreciate it more and you will get a larger tax deduction.
Design a New Garden
Spring is the perfect time to reconfigure your landscaping. Nothing has grown yet and anything that you plant now will grow according to its natural cycle.
Landscaping is a home improvement project that has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) because the cost is relatively low and its contribution to both the beauty and potential sale price of your home is high. Realtors often advise homeowners to increase their curb appeal and it is easy to see why. According to the National Association of Realtors, 97% of realtors say curb appeal is important to buyers they represent.
Among the highest ROI landscaping projects are planting trees, fertilizing the lawn, and adding a new garden design. Beware, however, that if your goal is to add value to your home, there are some projects that will cost more than they add.
The most notorious is a swimming pool. While swimming pools increase the enjoyment of the homeowners who install the pool, it can be a barrier to selling the home. Because of the perceived effort that goes into maintaining a pool as well as the safety risks to pets and children, adding a pool could end up adding little, if any, value to the home.
Install a Deck or Patio
A deck or patio is often a worthwhile investment. A deck or patio will give you a place to entertain guests this spring and summer. Moreover, it can add value to your home in the event that you decide to sell it.
Between the two, a patio has a higher ROI primarily because it is usually less expensive to install. Even accounting for tree stump grinding, grading the ground, and pouring concrete, a new patio is less expensive in both materials and labor than a wood deck. Moreover, a concrete patio will likely have a longer lifetime and will have more uses than a wood deck. For example, you would be unlikely to let your kids skateboard or play basketball on your wood deck, but those are perfect for a concrete patio.
On the other hand, wood decks can bring a great deal of beauty to your yard. And with new materials such as waterproof composite or plastic deck boards, a new deck can look like wood but have a much longer lifetime and require much less maintenance than a wood deck.
Winter is hard on a house’s roof. Wind can loosen or damage shingles and roof tiles and falling debris can damage the roof’s structure. Worse yet, ice and snow can seep into your roof and create cracks and roof leaks through a cycle of freezing and thawing.
One way to manage the cost of a roof repair is to hire a roofing company to inspect your roof. An experienced roofer can walk your roof and identify any damaged shingles or tiles, loose flashing, cracks in the chimney, and bent gutters. Often, roof repair can focus on a few trouble spots without completely replacing the roof.
However, even if your roof requires extensive repair, the cost of not repairing your roof could far exceed the repair bill.
- A leaking roof can lead to water-damaged drywall and carpet
- The cost to heat and cool a home is higher when the roof is damaged because of drafts
- Water leaks can allow mold and rot to form in your home
- Roof damage can allow insects and rodents to enter your home
However, if the worst case scenario has happened and your roof has been damaged beyond repair, you will need to reroof. You should also check and see if you need gutter repair. Spring is a good time to start a major project like reroofing your home. Long, warm days allow framers and roofers to complete the project as quickly as possible. This minimizes the inconvenience to you and your family so you can enjoy the function and beauty of a new roof.
A question often arises whether the new roof should be built over the old roof or if the old roof should be removed before installing a new roof. While it may be less expensive, in most situations you should have the old roof removed before building a new roof.
A few reasons why:
- Removing the old roof allows the roofer to examine the roof decking (the wood the shingles or tiles attach to. If the roof decking is rotted or damaged, it may need to be replaced as well and may indicate further problems in the roof framing.
- Shingles and roof tiles can hide mold. Mold can severely damage a home and make it impossible to sell without expensive mold removal.
- The added weight of two roofs might damage the house’s frame, drywall, and foundation.
- Water can become trapped between the layers of roofing, creating problems with roof leaks, water damage, and mold that might otherwise have been avoided.
Fix Leaky Pipes
Freezing temperatures can cause pipes and pipe joints to loosen or crack. Spring is a good time to stick your head under the sinks and walk around your crawlspace and basement looking for water leaks. You can even call a plumber to do a quick inspection to look for leaks.
Some might not consider plumbing repair a “beauty project.” However, consider the alternative. A leaky toilet can ruin a bathroom floor and, depending on which end is leaking, make your entire house smell like sewage. A clogged drain can cause rust and limescale to form in your sink and make your home humid enough to encourage mold growth on the walls.
Moreover, keep in mind that homeowners insurance might not cover inside water damage that you were aware of. That leaking faucet or shower head that causes a wall to collapse might be your responsibility rather than your insurance company’s responsibility.
Get Some Exercise
While you are beautifying your home, do not forget your own beauty. One of the healthiest things every American can do is to exercise for about 30 minutes five times a week. Rather than driving or motorcycling to the grocery store, jog or bicycle. Get outside in the yard with your kids to chase butterflies or play tag. Walk the dog instead of watching the same re-runs on TV.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the most common cause of death in American adults is heart disease. Exercise is excellent for reducing blood pressure and controlling weight, which lower your risk of heart disease. Moreover, exercise reduces stress and improves mood. Exercise helps your body to control blood sugar levels and insulin release, reducing the risk of Type II diabetes. Exercise strengthens bones, improves balance, and builds muscle, increasing both beauty and fitness.
One problem with winter is that being stuck inside all day can lead to some bad eating habits. As a result, people end up eating too much processed food, too much fat, too much salt, and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables. Poor eating habits can lead to health issues down the road. To save yourself from an emergency room visit, it’s important you make necessary changes.
Fortunately, spring and summer bring fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Strawberries, raspberries, and asparagus will come on first, followed by cherries and the first green beans of the year. Summer brings blueberries, apricots, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant. Peaches, corn, and squash will arrive later in summer. With all the options for fresh fruit and vegetables, most people will have no excuse for not eating better during the spring and summer.
Eating healthy can have many effects, bringing better health and beauty.
- Vitamin C beautifies skin texture and may reduce wrinkles. Vitamin C can be found in berries and citrus fruit.
- Foods high in zinc, like nuts, improves nail and hair structure.
- Vitamin A in carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash, helps the body eliminate toxins.
- Leafy greens are high in vitamin K which not only brings beauty to skin, but improves brain function too.
- Drinking enough water not only aids digestion and keeps you hydrated but also keeps skin healthy.
Once you have spent half a year eating healthy, you will carry those good eating habits into the winter when you can still find frozen or freeze dried options like freeze dried maqui berry powder.
Visit the Dentist
Almost every person agrees that a healthy smile improves social and professional prospects. Whether it is a superficial effect or not, people with straight teeth and a healthy smile are more socially confident and, as a result, take the risks that lead to more social and professional opportunities.
Adults and children alike should visit the dentist twice a year for teeth cleaning and a dental examination. Dental care and hygiene can make a huge difference in the look of your smile.
If you have crooked teeth, however, orthodontics may be needed. Traditional braces and plastic aligners like Invisalign can be used for patients starting as soon as the permanent teeth have come in. However, orthodontics are not just for teenagers. Adults can also use orthodontics to close gaps in teeth, rotate teeth in their sockets, straighten teeth, and improve bite alignment.
When selecting an option for orthodontics, Invisalign aligners have a few advantages over traditional braces:
- The clear plastic aligners are less noticeable than metal brackets.
- Aligners can be removed for eating and brushing teeth.
- Plastic aligners are more comfortable and less painful than traditional braces
- Depending on the treatment plan and the number of hours you wear your aligners, treatment may be completed in less time than traditional braces
Women spend about $150 per year on beauty. This does not seem like much. Breaking it down, this is only about $12 per month. You probably spend more on parking than on beauty products.
If you have been cooped up all winter, you might decide it is time to get out a bit when the weather warms up. Treating yourself to something you like, such as a visit to the day spa or a trip to the beauty salon for a makeover, can improve mood and reduce depression. Moreover, your self-confidence will skyrocket. This all leads to a happier life.
You do not just have to focus on beauty products. Go shopping for new clothes. More likely than not, your clothes could use an update either because they are worn out from the prior summer or because styles change so quickly. Taking a bit of time to see the new fashions and pick out a few new outfits can also boost self-esteem.
Finally, rejuvenate yourself with a few days off or even a quick road trip if you enjoy travel. Go to a summer in the arts festival. Spending a little bit of time in the sun (with appropriate skin protection, of course) and relaxing can reduce stress and prepare you for the upcoming summer.
Spring is a perfect time to beautify yourself and your home. As warm weather returns and the days lengthen, you will be more motivated to work on the things you put off all winter. Moreover, with summer social events around the corner, preparing your home and yourself will give you more confidence and increase your enjoyment of the spring and summer season.