Get ready for spring. Here are some things to do right now:
-- In the spring you can get away with less light, so swap your high-wattage bulb for a three-way bulb and your room will have a softer feel. Opt for energy-efficient CFL-type bulbs, which last longer and can cut down on electric bills.
-- Heavy rains plus freezing and thawing can destabilize steppingstones in your yard. Make your space safer this spring by lifting loose stones and adding enough filler to even them out. Sand or stone dust offer better support than soil.
-- Take down, clean and store storm windows for the season. Before you install screens for summer, inspect and repair any tears or holes. Install your screens and treat yourself to an early glass of lemonade.
-- Skim the bottom of garden ponds to remove fallen leaves and other debris. Get pumps and filters operating again as soon as the weather permits.
-- Get rid of old newspapers, pieces of no-longer-necessary mail and outdated magazines. Instead of letting things pile up in the future, get a gorgeous basket to put by the door and toss in your outdated papers every day. Shred anything confidential and empty the whole thing often.
-- Move your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum its back coils. This helps the fridge work more efficiently and avoids a fire hazard. Then check the seals by closing the door over a dollar bill. If the bill stays put when you pull it, the seals are tight. If not, adjust the latch or replace the seals.
-- Unplug your electronics and use an electrostatic cloth to wipe all surfaces, front, back, underneath and especially the vents. Once a month, spray compressed air into all crevices of keyboards and disk drawers.
(For thousands of other ideas visit www.hgtv.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)
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