Rainy-Day Crafts for Kids

Inclement spring days can be torture for younger kids stuck inside, especially during spring break. Parents can keep kids entertained (and give them a chance exercise their creativity) by engaging in a few fun craft projects. Better Homes & Gardens suggests decorating a lunchbox and making braided or button bracelets. Bottle-cap magnets and decorated picture frames will be handy for posting other masterpieces and family photos to the fridge and walls, while handcrafted greeting cards will let family and friends know that the kids care. The options are limitless, even if other activities are rained out.

Use Rainy Days to Catch Up on Chores

Rainy spring days are a great time to take care of those little household cleaning chores you might have forgotten to do for a while, says BrightNest. You can clean the oven and replace burnt-out light bulbs. Clean the coffeemaker using a 1:2 vinegar-and-water solution. Wash that shower curtain, or clean your garbage disposal using vinegar-and-lemon ice cubes. And finally, change your furnace’s air filter; it’s recommended every three months, and most saw heavy use through the winter. With allergy season is almost here, you’ll breathe easier.

It’s Finally Spring (Cleaning) Time

Spring begins — officially, at least — tomorrow, March 20. And the news couldn’t be more welcome for people in many parts of the country after enduring what turned out to be an unexpectedly severe and snowy winter.

As the temperatures warm and the days lengthen, however, you might discover that a few things on your late-winter to-do list have gone undone. After another cold, snowy day, you may have decided the couch was too comfy to leave and binged Netflix instead of starting a new project.

Now’s the time to shake off those winter doldrums and snap into action. There is no time like right now — the very start of spring — to begin a spring-cleaning plan. Wait, and you might miss a perfect summer day.

The weather is just getting good enough for you to begin a thorough, whole-house deep-cleaning. Start with the windows; recipes for a cleaning solution vary (dish soap or vinegar and water are two good options), but authorities including Clean Mama agree that using a squeegee and lots of rags is the best plan of attack.

Once the windows are clean, the spring sunlight will reveal just what else might need a deep-cleaning. Pick a mild day and fling open those windows, then go room by room and dust from the top down, clearing cobwebs, moving to flat surfaces such as shelves and tables, and finally, vacuuming.

Once you’ve dusted and vacuumed, wash all of the linens that have been busy catching winter dirt, including throw rugs, bed linens and blankets. Vacuum and/or shampoo any upholstered furniture that has gotten dingy and dirty during the darkest nights.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff that has piled up in the last six months, set aside some time to #declutter as you clean, the Sylvane blog says. “Clutter has psychological influences. It signals to your brain that work isn’t done.”

Put that decluttered extra stuff in boxes and bags and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. It only takes a few minutes to arrange, and takes most of the hassles out of decluttering. Plus, the donation is tax-deductible.

Finally, wash and wipe all of the hard surfaces inside your home: backsplashes, counters, cabinets and appliances in the kitchen and bathrooms, wood and tile floors, and utility shelves. Feeling ambitious? Powerwash the garage floor and deck.

Starting is the hard part, but the beginning of spring provides a fantastic reminder that a deep-clean may be in order. Once you begin, you’ll be able to shake off the winter doldrums and enjoy a fresh, decluttered space all season long.

Early Spring Planting Produces a Sumptuous Salad

Once your soil is ready for planting — meaning it is dry, free of ice crystals and crumbles easily — you can start planting spring vegetables, Eartheasy says. Early-spring crops offer the makings of a great salad: lettuce, mustard greens, Swiss chard, peas, spinach and leeks. To keep the table stocked with healthy, homegrown vegetables for months at a time, add varieties that take a longer to mature, such as broccoli, cabbage, radishes, kale, onions and new potatoes. “If you expect a hard frost, cover seedlings overnight with anything you have on hand: an overturned bucket or cardboard box, large flowerpot, a portable garden cloche, or a clod frame.”

Plan Your Garden for Continuous Color

Once your soil is prepared and supplemented with compost and other organic matter, it’s time to plan your plots. Real Simple suggests consulting the USDA’s plant hardiness zone chart before picking out flowers and vegetables; your local garden center can also recommend plants based on how much sun and shade your garden gets. To keep a flower garden blooming throughout the season, mix mostly perennials with a few annuals, says Yard Crashers’ Chris Lambton, and maintain it throughout the season. “It’s also good to plant according to height, making sure that taller plants don’t block the sun from shorter ones.”