4 Ways to Make Your Home Sparkle on July 4

House with U.S. flag
Photo by val lawless / Shutterstock.com

The Fourth of July is a time for barbecue, fireworks and fun. But for many of us, it’s also an extra day off. So, why not use the holiday to tackle some summer maintenance? You can make the house look nice before your friends come over. Or, maybe wait and rope them into helping.

First, take a walk around the yard and jot down some notes on what needs a touch-up. We bet there are a lot of tasks you can handle yourself, which will help keep costs low.

Here’s a checklist to get you started:

1. Painting

Retouching paint is cheap and easy, but repainting an entire house isn’t. So, the best way to save is obvious: Do more to touch up your existing paint, and you’ll do fewer complete repaints.

Just remember that buying the cheapest paint probably means you’ll end up doing the job more often. While you want to shop around for a good deal on paint, don’t settle for the cut-rate stuff just to save a buck.

Right now, Lowe’s is offering rebates on paint and primer, exterior stain and sealant, and resurfacers.

Through July 4, you can get $10 off gallon cans and $40 off 5-gallon buckets at the Home Depot.

Lower-cost options include the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Freecycle, Craigslist, and friends or neighbors. Obviously, the more common your paint color, the easier it’s going to be to find it cheap or free.

2. Gardening

Mulch works like fallen leaves in the forest — it returns nutrients to the soil, slows the growth of weeds and helps the soil retain water. You can find mulch at many different retailers, from Home Depot and Lowe’s to Walmart and Target.

And don’t forget to tend to your garden this Independence Day. For more tips on sprucing up your plants, check out:

3. Sealing

Cleaning and treating unpainted wood and other home surfaces will make decks, fences and patios last longer and look better. How often you need to clean and apply stains and sealants depends on both the material and the climate, but it’s usually at least every two to three years.

You can tell if wood needs sealing by dropping water on it: If it’s soaking in rather than beading up, it’s time.

4. Pest control

Mosquitoes can be a real buzzkill — so don’t leave them any breeding spots or playgrounds in your yard. They like pools of still, stagnant water and are attracted to non-natural scents, such as scented candles and garbage.

So if you have a bird bath or a pond, try surrounding them with plants that mosquitoes dislike such as rosemary, marigolds and lavender. If water collects in certain parts of your yard after a rain, see if you can improve drainage by using a shovel to level the ground, or encouraging run-off away from your house.

Other tips for keeping mosquitoes away include:

  • Make sure the lid on your garbage can fits snugly or replace it.
  • Remove scented candles or anything else that emits a perfumed smell.
  • If you leave a water bowl out for pets, keep it empty when they’re indoors.

For more tips, check out “7 Cheap Ways to Avoid Mosquitoes.”

For other crawlies, make an all-natural pesticide instead of buying expensive, harmful chemicals. Hot pepper sprays, used dishwater or 1 teaspoon of liquid soap added to a gallon of water all will do the trick. Marigolds will get rid of beetles, while mint, garlic and chives will discourage other harmful insects.

Do you have more tips for quickly getting through chores this July 4? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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