Clean, De-Clutter, And Organize Your Patio Or Porch

You can have a clean, organized, and de-cluttered patio and porch by using these simple tips.

Spring often reminds us of two areas of our home that we have neglected throughout the winter months: the porch and the patio. Porches and patios often get neglected and accumulate what doesn't easily fit into other parts of the house - that old chair that grandma donated, piles of old magazines waiting to be thumbed through when we get a little spare time, the spinning wheel purchased at the flea market because it was such a bargain, and dead plants in cracked plastic pots. But in reality, the entrance to our home, or the place we go to worship the outdoors should be a revered place, not a dumping ground for clutter nor a magnet for dirt. Make it your goal to organize, clean, and de-clutter your porch and patio this spring. Here are some tips to help you accomplish that goal.

In your porch, remove anything that was not originally intended to be there. Don't use your porch for storage. If an item ends up on the porch just for storage, it is probably an indication that it should be disposed of either into the garbage or donated to goodwill. If you aren't sure what to throw and what to keep, try this experiment: Remove everything out of your porch, every single item, by taking it into the main part of the house, or out onto the lawn. Then, one item at a time, bring back into the porch the things that you love most. At the point where you have to start thinking too much about where you are going to put an item, is probably the point where you should look at what remains in your yard or the main part of your house and decide if the item is worth keeping at all. If you can't part with it but don't want it in your porch, find alternate storage for it. If you can part with it, but it is still a good item, donate it to goodwill. If you can part with it and it is ugly, broken, or pretty useless to humanity, just throw it. It really is that simple.

Now, with the things you love in your porch, look at how you use them. Are they conveniently located? Do you have a nice conversation area in your porch? Do you have storage in your porch where you can keep a blanket to throw over you on a cool evening and where magazines can be kept? Do you have a plastic tub where toys and outdoor game items are kept and easily accessible? Because porches are usually small areas, items that serve more than one purpose are especially important to have. For instance, an old trunk can serve as both a storage area and as a coffee table. In addition, it is a good idea to keep a receptacle for garbage in your porch to help keep the area clean.

After organizing your porch, it is essential to put it on a regular cleaning schedule with the rest of the house. If your porch has windows, it is especially important that they are kept clean. Use an ammonia based cleaner to clean the windows inside and out. It is also helpful to wipe the cleaned windows with crumpled newspaper to help get rid of stubborn streaks. (Window maintenance in a porch is especially important because the purpose of the porch after all, is to let in sunshine and to enjoy the out of doors while remaining in a sheltered environment.) After cleaning the windows, wipe down the walls routinely as porches tend to not be as tightly built as the rest of house and tend to accumulate dirt. A mild soap and water mixture is usually sufficient for a pre-seasonal and post-seasonal cleaning. Maintenance in between seasons can be a wall dusting. If the porch is not enclosed, use a soft bristled brush to sweep down the walls, overhang, and rail areas and remove the accumulated cobwebs routinely. Wet mop the floors often to help prevent dirt from being tracked into the house and to create a welcoming environment as an entrance into your home.

For patios, it is just as important to practice good organization and cleaning. Patios ideally should have two storage containers for outdoor use located within the patio area. One of the containers should be for placing outdoor recreational equipment like balls, volleyball sets, and water guns. The other storage container should contain outdoor cooking supplies such as charcoal, and optional grill accessories.

Often containers with plants and flowers are located in patios. Regular watering, fertilization, and removal of dead plant leaves is essential for the aesthetics of the patio and for helping to maintain a clean floor in the patio area. There are many greenhouse products which can assist in keeping the correct water levels in your outdoor plants if you are not able to attend to them daily during the peak season. These products are worth the investment both in the longevity of your plants and in the beauty of your patio.

Patios need frequent sweeping and, depending on their location, possibly frequent scrubbing with a power washer or water hose with good pressure. Wash your patio furniture down with a cleaning solution recommended for the type of furniture you have. (Many plastic, aluminum, and wrought iron patio sets can be cleaned with the same solution used in outdoor house washing cleaners.) If you have a treated wood fence and flooring in your patio area, make sure you clean and seal the wood once a season to extend its longevity.

Keeping the patio and porch clean and organized is one of the few ways to extend the enjoyment of the outdoor seasons. It takes little time to do and is worth the effort.

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