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More Time at Home for Spring Sprucing

Businesses find ways to help 

Now that all Marylanders are spending a LOT more time in our own homes, our attention is shifting to those home and garden projects we’ve been putting off. 

Local businesses stand ready to help complete those indoor and outdoor tasks by adjusting how they serve customers in a time of social distancing. 

The View at Home 

Perhaps the view your coworkers get during virtual meetings has you considering a change to the space that has suddenly become your home office. 

Pick a new paint color or really make a statement by adding wallpaper. 

“We are taking custom orders for paint and we will have it out on the curb waiting for you,” says Mark Coale, owner of Maryland Paint & Decorating in Annapolis. “All of our inventory is available.” 

If you need a little help deciding what works best in the space, the design team at Maryland Paint & Decorating can assist without entering your home. 

“Decorator Laura Avallone and I have color swatches at home and can help you pick colors by speaking over the phone or through video chat,” says Cindy Morris, a design consultant with Maryland Paint & Decorating. “We can get wallpaper or fabric samples shipped directly to your home,” Morris says. “It may be a little slower getting to you, but most manufacturers are still operating with skeleton crews in the warehouses.” 

If your coworkers complain that all they see of you on the video chat is a dark shadow (as happened to our CEO/Captain during this week’s Bay Weekly meeting), it’s time for more–and better–lighting. Working from home means you’re burning through more light bulbs, too.  

Switching to LEDs can help you save money. Electricity co-op SMECO is offering members a free energy efficiency kit, including six LEDs and an efficient-flow showerhead. LEDs use less energy than standard bulbs, and have a longer lifetime and faster switching time. SMECO aims to have 70,000 households using their energy efficiency kit this year. 

Clear the Clutter 

Once you’ve given your space a facelift, perhaps you’ve found a few things you don’t need. Start sorting items into keep, trash and giveaway/sell piles. Be ready for when consignment shops and charity donation sites reopen. 

Local consignment shop Second Wind Consignments in Deale may be closed at the moment, but you can start picking your 20 items to drop off  (by appointment) for them to sell for you—and look forward to the commission check once doors reopen. 

Looking for a little guidance? To give you an idea of what sells, visit a local online auction site, Bunting Online Auctions in Dunkirk. 

“We have published the current auction that we were working on to give people a sneak peek while they are bored at home,” says owner Dawn Bunting. “We have more here and in our storage unit. We’ll be adding some (items) every now and then.” 

Bunting suggests people specifically target areas of the house they have been meaning to clean out and set aside items they do not need, want or enjoy. “Bring them into the auction house when we reopen,” Bunting says. “If we do a slow reopen, we’re considering a low-contact pick up.”  

That would likely mean you’d schedule a pickup over the phone; leave the items on the porch and a Bunting team member would come pick them up and leave you a receipt.   

Need a little more guidance to get your space optimally organized? One personal and professional organizing company now offers suggestions from afar. “We have added virtual services for remote consults,” says Dixie Schneider, owner of Organize. 

Here’s how it works: You’ll use a service such as FaceTime or Zoom and walk the organizers through your home. They’ll then give you an estimate to use their services. “We give a few pointers for free during the virtual consultation,” Schneider says. 

Curb Appeal 

Warmer weather—and cabin fever—will likely drive you out into your yard. Maybe this is the year you compete for “best lawn” in the neighborhood.  

“Now is a key time to wake your grass back up from dormancy and is a critical time to put down crabgrass pre-emergent,” says Kevin J. Dell’Oro, president of Lawn Doctor of Annapolis. “It’s important for the health of your turf and for the Bay that you apply anything on your lawn in the correct amount and at the correct time.” 

You may have some unwanted company in the yard. “Ticks have begun to emerge in Maryland, brought on by a mild winter and now an early warm-weather spring,” Dell’Oro says. “Sprays and granulars targeting ticks directly are important tools. Homemade tick tubes can help control ticks in your yard. The premise is when ticks attach to mice who have used the materials from a tick tube, they will die and help reduce the population.” 

Clean As You Go 

As you’re making everything fresh and new, don’t forget to keep up the spring cleaning. “Centers for Disease Control-approved cleaners are listed on their website to combat this virus specifically,” says Lucia Tucker, owner of Cleaning Maid Easy in Deale. “Rubbing alcohol works great as a disinfectant if all else fails.” 

Tucker shares how she and her cleaning team protect their own homes. “Remember to leave boxes on the porch for a short period of time, leave shoes and purses at the door and wash your hands as soon as you get home,” Tucker says. “Opening windows when you can makes a difference. Little things matter.” 

Local businesses will be ready to offer even more assistance once things get back to normal. 

“We know staying home doesn’t always equate to getting everything we want done, especially with kids,” Tucker says. “We will be prepared with whatever you need.” 

Keep Your Lawn Healthy this Spring  

  • Step 1: Measure the square feet of your turf to know the amount of area you need to treat. 
  • Step 2: Determine the right amount of fertilizer required (the recommendation is a pre-emergent treatment, with weed control and slow-release nitrogen). 
  • Step 3: Read the label (this is critical to figure out the rate at which you should put down fertilizer). 
  • Step 4: Apply fertilizer with a spreader using the manufacturer’s recommendations for correct calibration (usually in pounds/thousand sf). 
  • Step 5: Water the fertilizer into the soil. 
  • Step 6: Mow after 24-48 hours (or before) and keep blades at 3-3.5” high (this helps lawn’s health significantly). 

How to Make Tick Tubes: 

Materials: 

Cotton balls 

Toilet paper tubes 

Disposable bowls 

Permethrin insecticide (found at most hardware stores) 

Rubber gloves 

Step 1: With rubber gloves on, pour bottle of permethrin insecticide into a disposable bowl. 

Step 2: Soak cotton balls in permethrin and put into a separate bowl for drying. 

Step 3: Let cotton balls dry (1-3 hours should suffice). 

Step 4: Stuff (loosely) a few cotton balls in the tubes. 

Step 5: Place tick tubes about 50 feet apart around your property particularly in areas around wood piles, rock walls, dense shrubbery, etc.