NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 21, 2013

Spring cleaning with all the fixin's

By Rosemary Sadez Friedmann
Scripps Howard News Service

---- — Has spring sprung yet? Well, it is coming soon, anyway, and that means spring cleaning.

It always seems exciting to get things started, then part way through the cleaning the excitement fades and the reality of the work sets in, but the finished result always makes all the labor worthwhile. But what really needs sprucing up -- and what can wait another year?

Let’s check it out.

Is it time to replace some older, dilapidating things with newer and more efficient things? Let’s start with the roof.

Climb up a ladder (be careful!) or get binoculars and go across the street to view your roof. Are there missing or broken tiles or shingles? Replacing the roof is expensive, but not as expensive as replacing many more things in your house if the roof leaks or there is a storm that rips off some of the roofing. Some roofing products come with an insurance discount. For example, if you live on the West Coast and you replace a cedar roof with a fire-resistant roof, you probably will be able to get a homeowner’s-insurance discount.

How about the windows?

If you see condensation between the glass panes or your windows are hard to open or close, your energy bills are going to be higher than they should be. It might be time to replace the windows. OK, so this is another expensive endeavor, but worth the price in the long run.

The front door should be in good and attractive condition.

When you are inside the house looking at the closed front door, do you see light peaking in around the door? Do you feel a cold draft coming in when you stand close to the door? Is the door hard to close or lock? It’s time for a new door if the answer is yes to any of these questions. Again, your energy bill will be a bit more palatable if you have a well-sealed front door. And a nice and clean front door makes your home more inviting and attractive.

How are the floors? Is it time for new carpet?

Sometimes replacing the carpet in the most-used room is all you need. Carpeting isn’t cheap, so a thought might be to replace the most-used room’s carpet first with the plan of replacing other rooms in a year or so. If you have wood, tile or marble flooring, getting a professional company to refurbish is a good idea.

Sometimes furniture needs to be reupholstered, other times buying new is better.

Reupholstering is a good choice if the furniture you have is of good quality, you like it very much and it is comfortable. But buying new is another good choice, too, because reupholstering can be as expensive as buying new. Weigh the difference and decide: new or reupholstered.

Appliances are another spring-cleaning issue.

Energy-saving appliances are available everywhere, so evaluate what you have and replace any inefficient appliances you own with new energy-efficient models.

(Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.” For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at DsgnQuest@aol.com.)