March can be unpredictable when it comes to the weather, but no matter what Mother Nature is doing outside your window, it’s natural to crave a fresh start this time of year. The first official day of spring is March 20, so usher in the new season with a bit of spring cleaning, fresh flowers and — if you can get outdoors — a little dirt under your fingernails.
Plant a tree. Spring and fall are the best times to plant trees because wet weather and cooler temperatures make it easier for root systems to get established. Be sure to check with your local nursery to determine which species will do best in your microclimate and to get detailed planting instructions. If your area has a late date of last frost, you’ll need to wait until all threat of it has passed before planting.
Inspect your home’s exterior. Once winter storms have passed, carefully inspect the exterior of your home for damage. If you had an ice dam on your roof during the winter, now is the time to repair any damage it caused, and make changes to your roof to prevent ice dams in the future.
Simplify the table. Cupboards feeling overstuffed? Simplify your life by paring back on dishes and glassware, letting go of mismatched and chipped pieces and sets you no longer love or use often. Keep a basket of fresh cloth napkins within easy reach of the table to make it more convenient than grabbing paper napkins, and invest in a living centerpiece (potted succulents work well) that will stay fresh and green with little maintenance.
Spring-clean the kitchen. Give your kitchen a fresh start by cleaning some of the areas we often skip during quicker daily cleanup sessions: Clean small appliances; wipe grease and grime from the range hood, backsplash and light fixtures; clean grout; and vacuum hard-to-reach places (like under the stove) using an attachment.
Clean slipcovers and soft furnishings. Smaller slipcovers and washable rugs can be laundered at home; drop off larger pieces with professionals. When laundering items at home, be sure to check the instructions carefully and err on the side of caution. Most items like curtains and slipcovers can be put back while damp — for the best fit and to prevent wrinkles.
Get ready for tax time. Tax deadline isn’t until April 18, but getting your ducks in a row this month will make things a lot less stressful. Sort through paperwork, update your files and gather all important documents in one place so you’re ready to go.
Treat yourself to spring blooms. Spring flowers such as daffodils are plentiful and inexpensive this month, so keep an eye out for bargains. And if you have blooms popping up in the garden, why not snip a few to enjoy indoors?
Make a garden plan. There’s still time to get your garden growing! Sketch out a plan and jot down ideas for this year’s plantings, as well as any ideas you have for changes to the hardscape, like putting in a new path or fence. Start some seeds indoors, or pick up seedlings at your local nursery. Check botanical gardens for spring plant sales too, as these can be great places to find native plants that do especially well in your region.
Tidy the entryway. Put away any lingering mittens and wool hats and make room for those mucky spring boots. A clean boot tray lined in river stones will help water drain away from your footwear. Clear off the hooks (or hangers, if you have a coat closet) and be sure to put out an umbrella holder stocked for spring showers.
Clean up patio furniture. Outdoor furniture can get really grimy over the winter, so be sure to give everything a good scrubbing before you start using it for the season. Launder washable outdoor cushion covers, and replace worn-out pieces if needed.
Tune up lawn and garden tools. Sharp tools get the job done. Take your lawn mower and clippers in for a sharpening and tuneup before you begin work in your garden.