The List Maker’s Spring Checklist

Not everybody is like me. My wife would tell you that she thanks God every day for that fact. But I’m a list maker and prefer to make detailed outlines of what I need to do today, tomorrow, next week, next month and so on. She, on the other hand, usually relies on her memory or some random notes jotted down on a scrap of paper. Personally, I couldn’t live like that.

Like I said, I’m a list maker and I like to plan ahead. God has a sense of humor and allows me to make plans like I’m somehow in control – and then he goes ahead and does what’s best for me despite myself. But making lists helps me feel more at ease.

To keep things flowing smoothly around the house and property I have seasonal checklists. As we start to enter each of the four seasons I search out my appropriate checklist and work my way down it making sure our home, equipment and land is ready for what’s to come. Having the tiller tuned up and full of fresh gasoline in the spring makes prepping the garden a much more enjoyable experience when the soil is ready. Making sure to clean the tiller and empty or treat the remaining gasoline come fall is even more important when the next growing season arrives. The same holds true for the wood furnace and gutters, or our cars and trucks and other gasoline engines. If you own livestock there’s some obvious benefit from preparing shelters and water sources long before the first snow flies.
To that end, here’s the spring checklist I rely on to be ready when the April showers eventually bring May flowers (and lots of grass to be mowed and trimmed, and garden to be planted, and …). My list, as well as a few items I’ve added which may not apply to my situation, is broken down in the categories of: home indoor and outdoor, yard and garden, garage and equipment.

Here it is:

Home (outdoor)
1)      Wash windows and check storm windows
2)      Remove storm windows and install screens (we have old wooden exterior doors with seasonal window/screen panels)
3)      Clean debris from gutters and downspouts
4)      Clean leaves from around central air unit
5)      Hook up garden hoses and check for leaks
6)      Clean and install window air conditioning units (if applicable)
7)      Check exterior for peeling paint, loose shingles
8)      Treat yard around house for ants
9)      Top off wood supply for next winter

Home (indoors)
1)      Wash windows
2)      Replace central air filters
3)      Shut down humidifier
4)      General spring cleaning of rooms
5)      Turn on water supply to any outside hydrants shut off in fall
6)      Clean ashes from wood furnace/stove, wipe down interior of fire box with oily rag, brush chimney

Yard and garden:
1)      Remove leftover leaves from yard
2)      Aerate lawn, fertilize and feed
3)      Clean driveway culvert
4)      Fill cracks and reseal asphalt driveway (if applicable)
5)      Check trees and shrubs for winter damage, trim and fertilize (as applicable)
6)      Prune fruit trees
7)      Check fences and foundations for any freeze/thaw heaving
8)      Inventory and repair tomato cages, bean poles, etc.
9)      Sharpen shovels, spades, pruning shears and replace handles if needed
10)   Have garden soil tested, good time to add compost and turn in with soil

Garage and Equipment:
1)      Spring clean garage and storage buildings (I tend to clutter in winter months when it’s too cold to work in unheated buildings comfortably. I do what I must and go back in the house)
2)      Check supplies of oil, windshield washer fluid, etc.
3)      Empty or treat gasoline in generator
4)      Empty or treat gasoline in chainsaw, clean and sharpen before storage. Might need it for a downed limb in summer
5)      Replace spark plug, change oil, grease, sharpen blades on lawn mowers (if not done in fall before storing for winter)
6)      Clean debris from below deck and around belts, check and replace belts if needed on lawn mowers
7)      Replace spark plug, change oil, grease and sharpen tines on tiller (if not done in fall before storing for winter)
8)      Check and lube or repair controls on all outdoor equipment
9)      Empty or treat gasoline in snowblower, wash off before storage
10)   Clean snow shovels and coat with light oil before storage
11)   Wash undercarriage of vehicles to remove salt residue
12)   Check windshield washer fluid and other fluids, including coolant in vehicles.

Looking at the entire list can seem overwhelming, but I start tending to spring checklist items in early March and usually don’t finish until late April. I go the extra step of noting the items as “dry day” or “any day” tasks. That way if we have a rainy day, which Spring is known for, I can simply look down the list and find an “any day” task to do inside the house or outbuildings.

In the good book, the Bible, the very wise King Solomon said it like this in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven.” While I’m no authority on such matters, I’d suspect that Solomon also made “to do” lists.

About doug smith

Doug Smith is a small town newspaper managing editor. He has also been a freelance writer for rural living, country life, tourism, and hunting and fishing publications for the past 12 years. He lives in an 1880s Victorian-style home in the Missouri Ozarks. He drives an old pickup truck, tinkers with old tractors, is married to a young woman, they have two beautiful and successful children, and he can be found any given day around town wearing his Buffalo plaid flannel jacket and matching Elmer Fudd hat.

2 thoughts on “The List Maker’s Spring Checklist

  1. Love this!! Would also *love* to see the other seasonal checklists. I’m a list maker, too, but I’ve only done them as daily or project related. It never occurred to me to have seasonal lists! This is a fantastic idea!

  2. I, too, am a list-maker. The bigger the project, the more detailed the task list. This one’s a great start.