Early Garden Planning ~ It’s not too early to consider the backyard garden. If you’re growing from seed, flip through seed catalogs now and start them indoors soon; if you’re using starter plants, create a timeline of when you’ll plant each variety.
Tax Time ~ Did you make major home improvements last year? Recent tax break extensions mean that you could recoup up to $500 on energy-efficient upgrades like insulation or new windows and doors. Homeowners can also get deductions on mortgage insurance premiums. Read up on recent tax laws to make sure you get your biggest refund possible.
Add Old House Charm ~ It takes hard work to turn an old house into a functional modern home. But fortunately for old house lovers stuck in a newer building, a few simple steps can add “old” interest in a weekend. Crown molding and trim adds a historical look, beadboard ages a bathroom gracefully, and built-in bookshelves offer convenience and personality.
Love Your House ~ Given a little TLC, your house rewards you with a good-looking space you’ll love to return to at the end of a day. Choose a small project this month that will make you smile, whether it’s re-staining the kitchen cabinets or waxing the hallway floors. The satisfaction you’ll get from the results will make the work well work it.
Re-grout Your Tile ~ Cracked, old grout is unsightly—not to mention a breeding ground for dirt and bacteria. But with a power tool like the Dremel Multi-Max (or patience and a hand tool) you can remove worn grout. Once it’s out, simply mix up fresh grout, apply to the tile, and press it in the cracks with a grout float. A damp sponge removes the resulting grout haze for a like-new look.
Clean Your Cleaning Tools ~ To keep a cleaner home—and prepare for spring cleaning—get your tools squeaky clean. Chances are you’ve been neglecting your tools, which can inadvertently spread dirt and gunk through your house. Take charge by changing your vacuum filter, washing your mop head in the washing machine, and washing and drying your broom bristles.
Improve Your Home Theater ~ If the rain, sleet, and snow has you hiding indoors, a home theater will help you make the most of it. Upgrade your space by building a DIY entertainment center to hide cords and accessories, or install better speakers for movie nights in surround sound.
Hang Your Hat ~ By mid-winter, the entryway is usually overtaken with boots, coats, and scads of scarves and gloves. Clean it up with by converting your closet into a mudroom: Simply remove the door and fit it with shelves, cubbies, and a storage bench. For a more subtle change, buy an extra coat rack or build a DIY organizer for boots and shoes.
New Kitchen Storage ~ A cluttered kitchen can disrupt a cook’s workflow. Take control of disorganized pots and pans and disorderly drawers by buying or DIYing new solutions like a metallic knife rack or a pull-out pot holder.
Mold and Mildew ~ For most, February is spent indoors, which makes indoor air quality a chief concern. So, battle mold and mildew in all its incarnations to help your family breathe easier. First, have the mold tested by a pro if it’s making you sick; it could be black mold. If not, clean it the DIY way with hot water and baking soda. Mildew in the shower can be prevented with a simple spray of vinegar or tea tree oil and water.