Adventures in Homeownership: The 'Honey-Can-You' List

A few tips to help keep the peace when completing the list of outdoor spring chores

With the weather we have been having lately, I am ready to put out my lawn chairs and make some fresh lemonade. But, it’s MARCH…and I need to keep reminding myself of that. With gardening still two months away, it is traditionally the time to start that dreaded “honey-can-you” list. Whether it is the “honey, can you fix the (insert multiple items here)” list I make for Dave or the self-directed “honey, get off your lawn chair and get to your…..” list I make for myself (because I always want to enjoy the summer weather instead of my adult duties as a homeowner….), the key to a happy, productive season is planning. Let me say that again, PLANNING!

As I have mentioned before, this summer my gutters need to be replaced, and my house needs to be painted. The plan is to have a professional replace the gutters and to paint the house myself (or, more accurately, promise pizza and beer to entice my friends to help). I know how important it is to do my homework now, so when it’s time to start the job we can get right to work. A list can help prioritize and plan out the summer, allowing for a good balance of work and play.

I know, you’re thinking…where do I start? For me, it’s simple. It makes sense to have the gutters replaced first, since the contractor will be using ladders and ripping off my old gutters to install new ones.  If any of the already peeling paint falls off during their work, they will actually be doing me a favor. (See, smart planning.) When you prioritize your list, think practically, and be proactive about what can happen. Don’t have your house painted and then replace the roof, because when the roofing crew rips up the shingles, they’ll likely take some of the paint off the house where the paint and roof meet…and you don’t want that to be your new paint.

You may be thinking, how am I supposed to think of everything? Well the truth is that you live and learn. I’m fortunate because I hear stories on a daily basis from clients that I use as life lessons. But if you are not as lucky as I am, here are a few suggestions. Home Repair Resource Center is having their 17th annual on Saturday, March 24th from 9:30 am-1:30pm at Cleveland Heights City Hall. There will be “ask an expert” tables where you can talk to professionals about your do-self or contracted repair. These contractors will be happy to go over your repairs with you and help you plan things out. There will also be workshops on wet basements, rain barrels, and using color and accents to brighten your home.  The best part is that the Fair is free!  You can find the schedule at www.hrrc-ch.org .

If you can’t get to the Fair, or are afraid you’ll need a little more help, you can always contact your local building department and city inspector. They will be able to answer safety and code questions to make sure you do the repair right the first time. Also, if you’re as lucky as I am, you can ask your parents. Since, more than likely, they have done most of the repairs that you’re trying to complete, you can benefit from their life lessons while you spend some quality time with them….

Best of luck with your “honey-can-you” list, and I hope to see you at the Fair!

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