Category Archives: DIY

Spring Home To-Do List

After the grueling winter us Chicagoans experienced this year, many of us are itching to get outdoors and feel a little sun this spring. No matter where you live, answer spring’s siren call with these cleaning, freshening and gardening projects to keep your home in top shape.

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1. Inspect decks, fences and paths. The driveway, back deck and fence can take a beating over the winter. Take a walking tour of your property — if you notice any damage, schedule repairs.

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2. Clean the siding. Spring clean your home’s exterior by washing it thoroughly. Using a regular hose with an attachment to dispense soapy water is the gentlest option; depending on the type of siding, you may be able to use a power washer for a deeper clean.

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3. Declutter your living space. The transition from one season to the next is a natural time to sort through and pare back belongings. This April focus on decluttering the communal living areas of your home — the living room, dining room and kitchen — so you can enjoy coming home to a simple, restful space.

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4. Make a green commitment for Earth Day. Living a bit more lightly on our planet doesn’t need to be difficult. For instance, the next time you need to shop for a piece of furniture, seek out a reclaimed piece or shop vintage. For an everyday change, get in the habit of using cloth napkins instead of paper at the dinner table, or keep a basket of rags (cut up old T-shirts, for instance) on hand for wiping up spills.

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5. Refresh your entryway, inside and out. Erase the last traces of winter road salt and slush with a good cleaning. Then refresh the area around your front door with new entry mats and a reorganized storage zone.

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6. Enhance a view with flowers. Speed along spring by strategically planting flowers where you can view them from inside. Consider potted flowers on a patio, window boxes on the porch or a flowering vine planted just outside the bedroom window.

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7. Set up outdoor rooms. Get those outdoor tables and chairs cleaned and set up in the backyard (or on the porch) where you can enjoy them. While you’re at it, consider stocking up on outdoor entertaining essentials, like unbreakable plates and versatile mason jars — having what you need on hand makes it easier to throw impromptu parties.

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8. Plant a cut-flower garden for homegrown bouquets. Consider setting aside a small, sunny area of your backyard or side yard to plant flowers for the express purpose of cutting. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to planning a cutting garden, but do try to plant flowers that will bloom at different points in the year, so you’ll always have something to cut.

9. Make a clean sweep of your cleaning tools. Broom looking ragged? Ironing board seen better days? You just might feel a bit more inspired to spring clean if your tools are fresh and in good condition.

10. Tidy up outdoor supplies. Hoses, rakes and spare plant pots tend to sprawl across the yard in spring. Take a morning to straighten things up and take stock of your supplies. If you do a lot of gardening, consider investing in a potting bench or toolshed to house your supplies.

Tell us: What is on your home to-do list this Spring?

DIY or Hire a Professional?

Reality home improvement shows and publications are making Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects quite popular. For some, a small DIY project can be rewarding and fun – if you are prepared and have the proper skills. For others, the “reality” may be far from entertaining and may lead to frustration and inconvenience.

    Before you start knocking down walls and buying books about wiring, let’s explore the
    following questions:

  • Do you have a clear idea of what you want your project to look like?
  • Do you have the time to complete this project?
  • Do you know everything you will need (materials, tools, etc.) to complete the project?
  • Are you familiar with building codes and the permit process?
  • Do you enjoy physical labor?
  • Do you have all the tools you will need?
  • Do you have the necessary skills for this project? If not, do you have the time and
    resources to learn these skills?
  • Do you know where to purchase the necessary materials?
  • What if the project takes longer than originally expected? Are you (and your family) prepared to handle the resulting inconvenience?
  • Will you need assistance with this project? If so, who will assist you?
  • Do they have the time and skills required for this project?
  • What about safety? Do you understand all the safety issues associated with this project?
  • Are you familiar with the architecture and structural makeup of your home (i.e., which walls are load bearing and how knocking down one wall will affect the rest of the
    structure)?


    • Consider the hidden costs in the time and tools associated with doing it yourself. It is
      possible that you may actually decrease the value of your house if the result isn’t up to
      professional standards.

      It’s easy to look at the cost of hiring a professional remodeler thinking only about labor and materials. But remember that a professional remodeler offers an important service – years of experience, the right tools, a network of suppliers and subcontractors, an in-depth
      understanding of building codes, regulations, cost estimating, scheduling, and the latest
      construction techniques.

      Hardin Builders, Inc. has delighted homeowners who have entrusted us to build or remodel their dream home. Our passion is to create distinctive luxury homes that reflect the
      individual character and lifestyle of each owner. We are committed to making your home-building and remodeling experience rewarding and flawless. It is our goal to be your
      homebuilder for life.

      Have more questions? We’re here to help. Leave a comment or Contact Us.