Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" Projects for May

May is a practically perfect month for home improvement. Across much of the country, the mild weather makes it just as feasible to work on the outside of your home as it is to redo the interior. So whether you're working for the perfect lawn or a clean, streamlined kitchen, here are 10 projects to take on this month.

  1. Sharpen Mower Blades

    Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades

    Not only does a sharp blade keep your mower in tip top shape, but it can actually improve the look of your lawn. Dull blades can tug and rip grass instead of trimming it gently. Lawn that looks ragged may mean it's time to take the mower blade to the hardware store for a professional sharpening. If you choose to DIY instead, you'll need a grinder and some thick work gloves.

    Related:  7 Tips to Keep Your Lawn Mower in Perfect Working Order

  2. Renew Kitchen Cabinets

    Reface Kitchen Cabinets

    New kitchen cabinets can make an old kitchen looks decades younger. Even if you can't afford to rip yours out and start fresh, you can still reap the benefits of a remodel. Explore the cheaper option of refacing your cabinets, or simply refresh a dull finish with a coat of bright paint. Finally, take your cabinets into the modern day by swapping out old hardware for newer options in brass, copper, or classic black.

    Related:  Painted Cabinets - 14 Reasons to Transform Yours Now

    Zillow Digs home in Falls Church, VA

  3. Ready the Grill

    Clean Grill

    If your grill has been hibernating under the awning of the patio, pull it out and prep it for the season ahead! Check gas grills for any clogs or obstructions in the burner jets and ensure you have ample fuel. If you own a charcoal grill, clean it of any ash and grease. Put in the work now, and you can enjoy a spontaneous barbecue without any extra whenever the sun's out.

    Related:  10 Morsels of Grilling Wisdom from the Pros

  4. Cool Down

    Check Air Conditioner

    In many regions, mild May weather means many homeowners can comfortably do without air conditioning. Even so, now is the perfect time to change the filter in your central AC, install window units, and wipe down the blades of your ceiling fans. If you suspect performance or efficiency problems with your air conditioning, call a pro now. Better to resolve any problems this month before summer temperatures soar.

    Related:  Blades of Glory - 10 Ceiling Fans with Sharp Style

  5. Paint the House

    House Painting

    Get ahead and up your curb appeal game with a new paint job. Before you even pick out your paint colors, there are a few things to do. First, check your siding for any damaged or rotting boards—you'll need to replace these before you paint. Then chip away and sand any flaking paint so the fresh paint adheres properly. Finally, remove dried, old caulk from around windows and doors and reseal with a paintable sealant.

    Related:  8 Exterior Paint Colors to Help Sell Your House

  6. Clean Out the Garage

    Clean the Garage

    The garage is often a multipurpose storage room, but that doesn't make it the household dumping ground. If yours is overrun with clutter, take a sunny afternoon to roll up the door and conquer it. Go through all the shelves and bins, sorting out trash, items to donate or sell, and things to keep. Make sure you're properly disposing of old paint, batteries, and chemicals. Check local listings to determine the correct way to dispose of these and other hazardous waste materials; your city may even offer special porchside pick-up.

    Related:  10 Bargain Organizers for a Tiny Garage

  7. Install Garden Lights

    Solar Garden Lights

    Whether you need a little extra security lighting in your front yard or you'd like brighter illumination around the back patio, solar garden lights are a great bet. Buy or DIY, these little lamps are easy to install. Plus, because they're powered by the sun, they'll never ramp up your electricity bill!

    Related:  14 "Bright" Ideas for Lighting Your Backyard

  8. Clean Appliances

    Clean Microwave

    With fans and air conditioning on running overtime, it's not uncommon for homeowners to see a spike in their electricity use each summer. Here's a fast and easy tip for even the most efficient of homes: Clean your appliances! Dirty refrigerator coils and splatter-caked microwaves need more energy to run, while sparkling clean appliances require less power. If you need a bigger energy boost than cleaning can offer, perform a household energy audit.

    Related:  How To - Clean Any Appliance

  9. Inspect the Deck

    Refresh the Deck

    Congratulations—your deck survived another winter. As you get ready for a season of entertaining and outdoor leisure, take an afternoon to do your part to extend its life. Give surfaces a clean sweep to prevent staining and repel pests. Repair or reseal worn wooded boards and patch chips in a concrete patio. If you find mold or moss growth, treat it with a deep cleaning.

    Related:  Get Inspired! 17 Sensational Deck Designs

  10. Pest-Free Patio

    Mosquito-Repellant Plants

    Backyard pest prevention starts now. Mosquitos breed in standing water, so be diligent about dumping rain and runoff from from pots, furniture, and birdbaths. Consider adding mosquito-repellant plants like citronella grass or marigolds to your flower beds. For the brave-hearted DIYer, try installing a handmade bat house. These gentle creatures eat swarms of bugs each night leaving your backyard much more comfortable.

    Related:  10 Natural Ways to Combat Summer Mosquitoes

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  12. Don't Miss!


    If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!