Bob Vila’s 10 “Must Do” Projects for June
Warm, sunny June days are the perfect time to upgrade your outdoor space, and conquer indoor maintenance that’s easiest accomplished in nice weather. Here's what we're working on this month.
The first day of summer is almost here, and memories of the long, cruel winter have all but left our collective consciousness. Since June is a great month to gather outside with friends and family, the first order of business is to make sure your outdoor space is comfortable and beautiful: Consider installing new sprinklers and a fire pit, and adding some budget-friendly summer style to the front porch, deck, or patio. If you need more room to accommodate bikes, mowers, and garden equipment, now’s also a good time to order—or build—a storage shed.
Inside the house there’s also plenty to do, including dumping and decluttering stuff that has outlived its useful life. Washing window screens, too, will give you better views of your blooming garden.
1. Install a Smarter Sprinkler
The key to a lush summer lawn is water: water early, water deeply, water often. Consider automating this landscaping chore by installing a timed sprinkler system. Today’s smart sprinkler systems can even adapt their watering schedule to the rain forecast. That means you’ll pay only for the water your lawn needs, and not a drop more.
2. Wash Window Screens
It’s the season for open windows, but if your screens are grubby and dusty, even a light summer breeze could be bringing dirty air into your house. Keep your home clean and healthy by giving all of your window screens a good washing. To do so, first remove them from the window, then lay them on the driveway and rinse them with a garden hose. For seriously dirty screens, scrub them gently with a solution of mild dish soap and water. Rinse them clean and let them dry before reinstalling them.
3. Install a Backyard Shed
Maybe you need some extra storage for lawn and garden gear, or perhaps you yearn for an outdoor structure that can serve as an unconventional hangout or home office. Whatever the case, a simple shed will fit the bill. A prefab model is a breeze to install in an afternoon, or build your own using a set of simple shed plans.
4. Get Rid of Old Paint
It’s always a good idea to keep leftover paint on hand in case of scratches and scuffs. If, however, you’re holding on to old paint that no longer matches anything on your walls, or that’s too dry and lumpy to use, it’s time to toss it. Resist the urge to stack old paint cans at the curb with the regular trash. Paint contains toxic chemicals and must be disposed of at proper facilities. Contact your local sanitation department for disposal information.
5. Clean the Mattress
Be honest: When was the last time you made it a point to clean your mattress? If you can’t remember, you are overdue for a refresh in order to eliminate dust mites and deodorize your sleeping quarters. Remove the mattress cover, and use a vacuum attachment to clear away crumbs, pet hair, and more from the cushion top. Then sprinkle the surface with baking soda to deodorize. Let that sit for at least a couple hours before vacuuming clean. Open the windows in the bedroom, too, to air out your bed a bit as you work.
RELATED: 9 Ways You’re Ruining Your Mattress
6. Add New House Numbers
Stylish house numbers are an important component of a facade’s curb appeal, but their main function remains one of practicality and safety. In an emergency, first responders may need to rely on house numbers to pinpoint your home, so be sure yours are big, bold, and legible from the street. Before settling on the size of your new house numbers, stand at the street, face your house, and try to read the numbers. If they’re not immediately legible, increase the size so your house will be easier to identify in an emergency.
7. Refinish Floors
Undoubtedly, the best time to refinish the floors is before you even move in. But if you’re past that point, it’s also a good project to tackle in fair weather, when you can open the windows to help ventilate the room. Simply move furniture and fixtures into a garage, screened porch, or covered patio until the finish has set. You can even try to time your renovation project to coincide with your vacation plans. A few days away, and your floors will once again be ready to walk on when you return.
8. Build a Fire Pit
There’s nothing quite like gathering the family around a backyard fire on a warm summer night. If you don’t have a fire pit of your own, making one is a simple affair. First, contact your local government to find out if there are any restrictions in your area, then set to work designing yours. Be sure to ask for help from a local home center when choosing stones or bricks for your fire pit, because not all materials can withstand high heat.
9. Pare Down
Summer is the perfect time to simplify your life—and home. Keep your dwelling quarters bright and breezy by removing junk that’s been weighing you down. Pick one or two modest goals, like arranging a disorderly box of photographs into an album, or carting last summer’s reading materials to a used-book shop or donation center.
10. Dress Up the Porch
Take some time to refresh your front porch for summer, and improve your home’s curb appeal in the bargain. A classic porch swing, an outdoor rug, planters and hanging baskets—even draperies and a chandelier—can transform an ordinary space into an extraordinary one. Best of all, you can easily add style on a budget.