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Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

Five Simple Steps to Help Homeowners Ease Into Spring Projects

(ARA) - Now, while the winter is still around, is the best time for homeowners to get a jump start on planning and prepping for their spring and summer home and garden projects; so when the weather really does warm up, it takes little effort to get the projects underway. In addition to fine-tuning home improvement and gardening plans, it is also a good idea to make certain the required tools are in tip-top shape, so the projects are not delayed. 

Here are some ways to prepare for the spring and summer seasons with just a few simple steps: 

* Plans - Sketch out those garden plans, and pick the plants that can be purchased or grown from seed. Plans don't need to be drawn to scale, but they'll provide great background information for a shopping list. Research how early seedlings should be started, so they'll be ready for transplant when the time arrives. 

Also create plans for any home projects that need to be accomplished. The depth of those plans depends on how complicated the project is. Make certain all permits are in order, if required by the community; and if a contractor is needed, a formal agreement and timeline is in place prior to work commencing. 

* Lawn tools - Check pruning shears for sharp blades - and either sharpen or replace them if they don't easily cut through a small stem of plant material. Also, review lawn mower blades. Check the oil, gasoline and starters on all gardening machinery to ensure they'll run correctly when needed. 

* House tools - A review of all home tools helps to determine if any new purchases - or replacements are needed. This is the perfect time to head to the store and purchase missing tools, add new blades to saws or replenish the sandpaper stash - eliminating wasted time running back and forth to the store. 

* Hand tools - A little care can go a long way in keeping your hands and feet - the most valuable tools found in every household - in good shape after the long, dry winter months. These tools are vital to accomplishing everything on those garden and home project lists, and they are often forgotten. O'Keeffe's Working Hands and O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet are both guaranteed to effectively relieve dry, cracked skin in even the most extreme cases. And just a little bit of the highly concentrated, hypoallergenic and odorless creams is needed. Start every project off with healthy hands, and keep them that way throughout the entire season of projects. It's the best cream for dry hands - especially after the long and dry winter months. 

* Materials - As the project season gets closer, start purchasing the materials needed ahead of time. This helps to spread the cost out, and can give an idea of how much time and effort the project will take to be completed. Get started now in matching colors, finding the perfect accessories and even price-comparing between different suppliers to help save money. 

For homeowners who haven't experienced the warm-weather-project itch quite yet, it's still a good idea to start thinking about those items on to-do lists to help with being prepared and ready to go when the season arrives. It doesn't take a lot of energy to have a successful spring and summer project season. Don't forget O'Keeffe's Working Hands and O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet to keep hands and feet in healthy shape to tackle any job.

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