Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less
1. Check outdoor lighting. Make sure all outdoor lights are in working order, including porch lights, landscape lighting and motion-sensing security lights. Replace bulbs or schedule repairs as needed.
2. Give potted plants some TLC. If you have potted plants that stay indoors over winter, bring them out once the danger of frost has passed. To help your plants acclimatize, find a protected spot out of direct sun for the first several weeks outdoors.
3. Inspect kitchen and bath fixtures. Keeping an eye on these areas can help prevent costly water damage and repairs later on. Make a plan to regrout or recaulk around counters and tile as needed. If you come across any slow leaks, have these repaired as well.
4. Check safety devices. Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month and replaced every 10 years — even if they still appear to be in working order, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace it if necessary.
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend
5. Get ready for grilling season. Giving your grill a deep cleaning before the start of the season will help it work more efficiently and prevent flare-ups. Clean the grates and interior with a grill brush and wash the exterior with warm, soapy water. Clean and organize your grilling tools (tongs, spatula, skewers) and pick up charcoal or propane if needed.
If you have a gas grill, be sure to check the fuel line for cracks and clean out any clogged burner holes.
6. Maintain and repair garden paths. Create neat edges, pull weeds, fill in gravel paths with fresh gravel and replace or reposition broken steppingstones.
7. Clean walls and touch up paint. Use a dusting attachment on your vacuum or an electrostatic duster to remove dust from walls, paying special attention to corners and baseboards. For a deeper clean, wipe down walls with warm, soapy water after dusting. Rinse with clean water, using a lint-free cloth. Touch up paint as needed on interior walls and trim.
8. Clean items on open shelves. Infrequently used items stored on open shelves can get pretty grimy over time. For items with a thin layer of dust, swipe with an electrostatic duster. If there is a thicker layer of dust, of if the items are in the kitchen (where cooking grease can be an issue), wash each piece in a tub of warm, soapy water. Rinse and allow everything to dry before replacing.
9. Refresh bedrooms. Rotate the mattresses on all beds and flip over if possible. Dust nightstands, lamps, headboards, blinds and decor. Swap heavy duvets for lighter-weight bedding for the warmer months.
10. Thoroughly clean the laundry room. Run the washing machine with a specialty tub cleaner (or with vinegar for a natural solution) on a hot water cycle. Wipe the rubber rim inside the washer and dryer doors and remove lint from the dryer vent with a vent brush or vacuum attachment. Clean countertops, mop floors and restock supplies.
Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month
11. Plan to paint or stain your home’s exterior. Longer days and generally milder weather make May a good month to think about house painting. Contact painting pros to find out if they are currently working or will resume later, and reserve a spot on their schedule. If your home has a wood-shingled exterior, replace any damaged shingles and have a fresh coat of stain applied if needed.