Spring Planning With HGTV's Ed Del Grande

We're all familiar with springcleaning, but perhaps we're less knowledgeable on the concept of spring planning.

A lot of these spring planning tasks for your apartment or home take time to complete, with the benefits not felt til summer or fall, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get to them now. In fact, the projects listed below need to be started now to help in summer, fall and with flood and hurricane season.

Making preparations for spring showers and the critters they inevitably bring now can help you cope with unforeseen events -- and also make your home just more comfortable.

Host of HGTVPro.com Ed Del Grande gives us some planning and design tips to help get your place in the best shape for the months ahead.
Repelling Ants
"April showers bring May flowers," and those showers bring something else, ants and other small creatures in your home. And an invasion can end up being a problem all summer long. However, if you nip it in the bud, and keep your regimen going, you can have a bug-free spring and summer. "Carpenter ants try to come in the house and they are a trick to get rid of as they keep on coming." So Del Grande suggests using a bait trap -- "It's different from spray which kills the ants on the spot. With these ants you want to get to the nest, not kill individual ants. When you use traps, the ant takes it back to the nest and kills them all. You don't know most times in an apartment where the nest is, so this can really work well."
Staying Powered
"Standby generators are a great trend in home improvement for condos and apartments and private homes," says Del Grande. A standby generator is a mini-power-system that is detached from the house and turns on automatically in case of power outages. "For brownouts and blackouts in the summer, they can really save you." Ask your landlord for them now, as they take about 6 weeks to install. "You want it for those hot summer months and hurricane season, so it might be too late if you wait. If you work out of your house, you can't afford to have the power down for days on end. They are also great if you have special needs people living at home and they need to keep tanks going or climate controls operating. The electric companies can't handle the load anymore."
Removing Rainwater
For anyone with a basement apartment or a just a basement, this next tip is for you. There can be heavy flooding in summer rains, and also hurricanes in parts of the U.S., so you want to make sure you have a sump and a pump. If you're like me and you've never heard of one, Del Grande explains these devices are simple to use and life savers for below- ground spaces. "You have a sump, which is placed in an area of the apartment or basement where the water will collect. And then you have a sump pump that will be activated if the water level gets too high in the basement and will pump out the water before it causes damage." You want to protect your belongings, and this is a great way to do so. "It's a project to ask a landlord about. And if you are moving into a space below ground, ask the landlord if there is a sump and sump pump installed. And if not, ask them to. Many are installing them now."
Extending Gutters
To help avoid flooding, most apartments and houses have gutters that push water away from the foundation, which definitely helps out below ground apartments and basements. Del Grande notes that many residences, however, do not have gutters that push the water far enough away from the house. "There are gutter extensions you can buy for $5 or $10 dollars to push it away four feet from the house, the recommended amount. It's worth it." $10 bucks seems like a small price to pay to avoid flooding!
Sealing Cracks
Have cracks in your sidewalks or walkways? Filling in the cracks of walkways that lead to your house not only improves the properties' look, it also heads off other problems. New cracks develop in the winter so get to a hardware store, buy some crack sealant. It will help prevent weeds from coming up and prevent further damage from water getting in.
Saving Space
Del Grande has some space-saving tips since spring is a good time to make some room in your home. "Everyone needs storage space," and Del Grande suggests some tips to maximize your space with little effort. "In the kitchen, one thing that seems to double your space is a Lazy Susan. You can get stuff in the way back and it keeps the food supply turning more often rather than leaving the stuff in the back you never see or eat. It's especially great for renters as you want to make the space you have more efficient for cheap!" For the bathroom Del Grande suggests switching out a plane mirror over the sink. "You can get medicine cabinets where the medicine cabinet is the mirror, and they have designer lines with accessories that match -- your toilet paper roll, towel bars, etc. The medicine cabinets mount on the wall so you don't have to cut a hole, which is, again, great for renters."
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