DIY

Bob Vila’s 10 “Must Do” Projects for March

Whether it comes in like a lamb or lion, March is a month of transitions. This month is a good time to refresh the house after it has been closed tight for winter—and prepare outdoor spaces for warmer weather.
Man sitting in a window sill, leaning out the window to clean its exterior.
Photo: istockphoto.com

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With the change from winter to spring comes a new flurry of activity: The warm weather will undoubtedly draw the family outside, which is why it’s important to clean and maintain your outdoor spaces now (and maybe get some window washing done). It’s just as timely to turn your attention to cleaning the carpets and organizing your closet now, before blue skies and sunny days keep you away from your tool belt and cleaning caddy.

1. Clean the Carpets

Person wearing black sneakers using a steam cleaner on a beige carpet.
Photo: depositphotos.com

Your family has probably tracked in all sorts of ice melt, slush, and even mud throughout the winter months. Be sure to give your carpets and rugs a deep spring clean for a fresher start to the season. You can rent a carpet cleaner locally or buy your own machine. (Our researched guide to the best carpet cleaners is a good place to start browsing.)

2. Get Your Closets in Order

Woman sitting on the carpet arranging shoes into plastic containers and cardboard boxes.
Photo: istockphoto.com

As you’re swapping out your parkas and hanging up your windbreakers this month, take the time to organize your closets. Donate or sell any winter clothing you didn’t wear this year, then pack clean off-season clothes into bags, bins, or boxes—right after you double-check the forecast. If your closets need an additional dose of organization, buy or build new shelves, shelf dividers or storage bins, or install an extra tension rod to double your usable space.

3. Prep Your Patio Furniture

    Woman wearing hat outdoors painting an Adirondack chair red.Photo: istockphoto.com

Get ready for barbecue weather by rescuing your outdoor furniture. Remove flaking paint and rust from metal furniture using a wire brush and sandpaper, then repaint it for a fresh, new look. Clean patio cushions of mold or mildew using a mixture of 1/4 cup of Borax and warm water. Now it’s time to fire up the grill!

4. Stage Your Home

iStock-1426382363 must dos march Interior design decor staging designer suite condo sofa table decoration luxury unit floor home
Photo: istockphoto.com

With weather warming up, March is a prime season for home buying and selling. Listing your home? Properly staging your home can help you sell the place at a higher price. If your style won’t appeal broadly to buyers, try putting your furniture in storage, then rent neutral pieces from a professional stager until you can close the deal.

RELATED: 11 Things Not to Do if You Ever Want to Sell Your House

5. Prepare Your Garden

iStock-1340790447 must dos march Bush hydrangea cutting or trimming with secateur in the garden
Photo: istockphoto.com

It’s not too early to start your spring gardening routine: Trim dead and damaged branches from trees and shrubs. Plant summer-flowering bulbs after the last frost, and ready your garden beds for other early plantings. Be sure to lay down a layer of mulch to retain moisture and prevent weed growth.

6. Maintain Safety Devices

The Best Smoke Alarm Options
Photo: istockphoto.com

Daylight savings time begins this month, so be sure to follow the tradition of changing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on Sunday, March 10, 2024 or “spring forward” day. If you have a fire extinguisher, make sure it is accessible, hasn’t expired, and the pressure is at the recommended level. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, get one while safety is on your mind.

RELATED: Daylight Savings Time: 11 Surprising Facts About Time Change

7. Repair a Battered Deck

iStock-544684810 must dos march repairing deck
Photo: istockphoto.com

In most regions of the country, temperatures are finally warm enough to comfortably work outdoors, but it’s still not quite backyard hangout season. If your deck needs maintenance or repairs, now is the time to do them. Start by inspecting deck boards for signs of deterioration. Soft, spongy, or cracked boards should be replaced with new pressure-treated wood. Make sure that the deck handrails and posts are secure, too: If they feel wobbly or appear rotted, repair or replace them.

8. Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades

iStock-184603665 must dos march Lawnmower Blade Sharpening with File
Photo: istockphoto.com

When cutting the grass, dull mower blades are more than just an inconvenience: They increase mowing time and can harm your lawn. Dull blades tug at grass blades, leaving a lawn ragged and discolored, while sharp blades cut grass cleanly and neatly, resulting in a yard that looks lush and green. Sharpen the blades now so you can be prepared for peak lawnmowing season. You can sharpen lawn mower blades yourself, or pay a pro at your local lawnmower dealer to do the job.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Lawn Mower Blade Sharpeners

9. Level the Yard

iStock-1364640949 must dos march A woman is leveling the ground with a rake in the garden
Photo: istockphoto.com

Low spots in the yard can turn into soggy messes after spring rains. Not only do these depressions lead to muddy, damaged portions of lawn, but they also encourage mosquitoes and other pests to settle in the yard. Here’s how to level a yard: Fill large low spots by cutting pieces of sod away from the area with a spade. Set the pieces of turf aside and add topsoil, bringing it level with the rest of the yard. Replace the grass and water it to conceal your work.

10. Wash Windows

Woman wearing yellow rubber gloves washing exterior windows with a spray and squeegee.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

Whether you choose to use a store-bought or homemade window cleaning solution, improve your outlook by cleaning your windows inside and out. Apply cleaner with either a squeegee or a soft cloth. Remove and wash your window screens with mild detergent. Lay the screens on a dry surface (on the driveway, for example) to air-dry before putting them back in.