May is finally here and after what seemed like an endless winter — don’t they all? — we have finally entered into lovely spring weather and more chances to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.
For most of our homes, after a long winter, many of our outdoor spaces have fallen into their own hibernation and need a little spruce up!
For me, sitting outside and enjoying a cool crisp evening while watching my kids play outside is about as good as it gets — until I start noticing lots of cobwebs, clutter and weeds around me. Sound familiar?
Now is an ideal time to take time to tackle the outdoor spaces in your life so that you can turn your backyard or front yard into a wonderful place of outdoor solace.
Here are a few tips to get you started so that your outdoor spaces can help you live a sweeter, simpler life this spring!
Marie Kondo wasn’t just talking about the indoors: OK, I confess, I have not actually Marie Kondo-ed anything in my house. Yet.
That being said, her notion of eliminating anything that does not bring my family or myself joy is very appealing and I am very excited about having the summer months off to tackle this very goal.
While most of her strategies involve closets and drawers, the concept of simplifying and decluttering can be applied to many of your non-living spaces, too.
Let’s talk about garages, friends.
Could yours use a little help?
Most of us tend to tackle garages a little at a time as we have time — and then things just clutter up and seemingly undo any of our progress.
Set aside enough time to just get it done. The danger of doing a little at a time is never finishing.
Purge items you have been wasting valuable storage space on and plan to either donate or sell anything that still has use.
Cleaning the entire area at once is the key to keeping it that way and the space will be a great place to keep anything you need to store for outdoor enjoyment.
Organize by category not by space and don’t stop until you have touched everything in this space.
You will be amazed at how wonderful it will feel to have open space — not to mention how many “lost” items you will find! You may find you can use your garage for something other than storing junk — like parking a car or two!
This also goes for sheds and storage barns too!
Create Storage for Outdoor Furniture: I have a huge phobia of bugs and nothing ruins my Zen for sitting outside than finding that I am sharing my lounge chair or hammock with an unwanted eight-legged friend.
A great way to extend the life of your outdoor furniture and seating is to purchase deck boxes to house cushions and umbrellas when not in use.
This makes the outdoor space look nicer, helps with weekend mowing jobs and protects it from weathering and staining from bugs, birds and Mother Nature.
Before you decide on how much storage you need, take a look at what you have. Do you have a table and chairs that you never use?
For some reason, if it is outdoors, we seem to think that it is not really taking up any space! It is. Get rid of any seating areas that have fallen into disrepair or that simply are not being used and enjoyed by your family!
The lack of clutter will enhance your enjoyment of your porch, front yard or back deck/backyard area!
Once you know what seating items you plan to keep, you can get them stored when not in use!
If you are a DIYer, there are a ton of You Tube tutorials to help you make your own deck boxes.
If you are like me, head over to your nearest home improvement store and purchase a few for your outdoor areas!
How Does Your Garden Grow? When I speak of your garden, I am not just talking about flowers and vegetables — I am referring to any of your plants, trees and shrubs in your outdoor landscape.
Now is a great time to assess the situation in your yard and see if any plant life needs to be pruned, replanted or replaced.
Toss that half-dead plant into the compost bin and tidy up the debris of an unfinished garden project.
Get rid of any unraked leaves from last fall and take time to assess plants that have been underperforming — replacing fruit trees that produce poorly and getting rid of plants or shrubs that look sickly.
Prune back bushes and shrubs before the weather gets too hot — they will bloom better and be easier to maintain in the long run.
Now is a great time to visit your local garden center to add some pops of color that you might find are needed — after all, this is your home oasis and you should be able to enjoy it!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)