Summer is knocking on the screened porch door, which means it’s time to get your home entertainment-ready, inside and out. Prepping and cleaning for July 4th cookouts and last-minute get-togethers begins with making a game plan. Don’t worry, we’ve got your bases covered, so you can spend more time on the annual family Wiffle Ball tournament and less time scurrying around at the 11th hour.
1. HANDLE THE PREP WORK
It’s time to move the extra deck furniture back out from the shed, give the surfaces a healthy cleanse with warm soapy water and a soft scrub brush, and then turn your attention to the grill. First, be sure to remove any leftover residue from last summer’s many BBQs. If you have a gas grill, burn it on high for 10 minutes to help remove residue from the grates. (If you have a charcoal grill, elbow grease works just fine.) Then scrub the grates with a hard-wire brush before wiping them with a thin layer of cooking oil. Now you’re back in business. All you need is that bone-in ribeye or portobello mushrooms that have been marinating in the fridge all day.
2. CLEAR YOUR VIEW
In the colder months, windows perform the same primary task as our favorite slippers: insulating us from the elements. But once spring and summer arrive, they frame the views of blooming flowers, the kids kicking the ball around, and outdoor celebrations. But windows do need a little love before they’re ready to serve as porthole to the world outside your home. We recommend using a squeegee for streak-free window cleaning and opting for a cloudy day to avoid having the sun’s rays dry your cleaning solution of choice before you finish your handiwork.
3. GO WITH YOUR GUT
Between fall’s free-falling leaves and Old Man Winter’s wrath, you suspect that there are some things in your gutter that don’t belong there: foliage, dirt, and whatever that squirrel has been collecting. If you have a ladder, gloves, a decent hose and the know-how, gutter cleaning can be a DIY job. (Be sure to check for leaks and breaks, too.) But for those with high roofs who don’t want to get anywhere near them, look for an insured local pro to step up and do the job.
4. MAKE ROOM FOR LEFTOVERS
Pork tenderloin. Beef kabobs. Turkey burgers and chicken breasts. In order to ensure you can store this season’s overflowing bounty of grilled fare, you’ll want to purge your freezer and fridge of anything old, expired, or just plain suspicious. (Pro tip: look for anything that’s lost texture over time and dispose of it.) Give the freezer a good wipe-down while you’re at it. And if there’s a build-up of ice, fill your spare coolers with icepacks and cubes — and commence a total defrost.
5. KEEP YOUR COOL
It’s a big moment: when you finally switch your thermostat from heat to cool. You want to ensure that it’s ready to counteract any lurking heatwaves. So, be sure to change your air filter, free vents of any debris, and give the system a test run to check for funny sounds or inconsistent cooling. If anything goes awry, grab that magnet from that fridge with the phone number of a reliable professional who can service the unit before you’re in deep.
It may sound like a lot of work. But when you’re lounging on the hammock or catching up with the neighbors over some grilled salmon and a bottle of Pinot Grigio, it’s all worth it. Happy Summer!