The Checklist
Everything you need to do around the house in May and June.

HOME
Vacuum dust out of your refrigerator grill and wipe down interiors with a solution of baking soda and warm water. Don’t forget to clean out, organize, and deodorize your refrigerator and freezer. Keep an Arm & Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer Odor Absorber open to keep odors at bay and food fresher, longer.

Before the big heat comes, have a garage sale. The best sales involve a neighbor or two. If you can afford it, place an ad on DallasMorningNews.com and put up signs (where permitted) to increase traffic (and profits!).

Put a fresh coat of paint on your house to protect it from the elements and to add value to your investment. Tip: Loi Huynh (our Best Affordable Painter March/April 2004), who’s painted several of D Home’s editors houses, is an excellent choice. 214-632-0828.

Before you go on vacation, set a lighting timer (available at most home improvement stores) to turn on lights randomly while you’re away. Have the post office hold your mail, or have a neighbor pick it up along with newspapers. Many local police departments (including the Dallas Police Department) will keep an eye on your house, driving by a few times a day to ensure everything is in order. Check with your local PD for your city’s program.

Have your home tested for harmful levels of radon, particularly if you live in a house with a basement. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can seep into houses from the ground and can be fatal to residents. To learn more about radon and how to test your home, contact the EPA at 214-665-7550, or visit www.epa.gov/radon.

Clean window screens by spraying with a hose and lightly scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. (Or have a professional window cleaner clean them for you along with your windows.)

Replace the filters for your air-conditioning unit once a month. Keeping the thermostat set to 78 degrees in the summer will save you money on your electric bill. Each degree below 78 can equal up to a 9 percent increase in your energy bill.

Keep grass stains from setting in your children’s clothes by spot cleaning items with denatured alcohol before washing.

GARDEN
In the herb garden: Clip leaves and sprigs off your herbs, even if you don’t plan on using them. The trimming encourages the plants to grow in smaller, more compact bushes, which helps produce more flavorful leaves. Pair the herb cuttings with your Tom Thumb-bought flowers for a pretty kitchen arrangement.

Fertilize roses each month during the blooming season.

Start laying sod for Bermuda and St. Augustine grass.

In May: Plant gladiola, dahlia, and canna bulbs. Sow sunflower, zinnia, morning glory, marigold, cosmos, and periwinkle seeds.

In June: Plant celosia, amaranth, marigolds, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, salvia, begonias, copper plant, penta, lantana, and spider lilies.

Add a blanket of mulch to plant beds during the summer months to help retain moisture and reduce the need to water.

Keep an eye on your plants for heat-related pests such as white flies, spider mites, and aphids. Treat them immediately to avoid infestation.

Click below to download our checklist in .pdf format.