Forget spring cleaning, now is the time of year to give your home a full health check. "By spring, we're really keen on renewal in some form or other," says Susanna Clarke, DIY consultant and former editor of DIY Week, Hardware & Garden Review, "it's an excellent time to harness this enthusiasm to get jobs done while the weather is still changeable as it means we don't have to do it in summer when we can be outside." The winter months can really take their toll on the fabric of a building but Susanna firmly believes that with a little TLC you can get your home spruced in time for summer. "Of course, it is possible to pay for them to be done, but it's not only cheaper to do it yourself, there's also something really rewarding about working so closely with your own property and learning its little quirks," she advises.
Inspired? Here are nine DIY jobs that Susanna recommends getting on with right now - and the best bit? Once done, you won't have to think about them for a whole year.
Do A Thorough Inspection Of The Outside Of Your Property
“It's easy to forget about the outside of a building, but checking it over after a winter of bad weather is a good idea because small problems can quickly become big ones, " says Susanna. "You want to look for leaking or overflowing gutters, cracked roof tiles, peeling paint and rot in windows and doors. Some things you'll be able to fix yourself, but others will need a professional.”
Bleed Your Radiators
“Central heating systems always get some air in them, which causes the radiators to stay cold and can lead to corrosion.”
Spring Clean Your Sofa
“If you've just spent a winter hanging out on your sofa watching box sets then it's time for it to get a thorough spruce-up. Remove all the cushions, give them a good thump and then vaacuum the whole thing thoroughly. Spot-clean any stains, and remove pet hairs. It'll feel like a new piece of furniture!”
Fix That Leaking Tap
“The threat of a hosepipe ban is not likely to be with us in 2013, but nevertheless it's always good to fix a leaking tap which otherwise wastes hundreds of litres of clean water a year. Usually the problem is that the washer inside is old. Replacing it will only cost a few pennies.”
Refresh Your Room
"Renovating a room doesn't need to mean something major - simply moving the furniture around can make it feel like a whole new space. Try using furniture and decorative items from elsewhere in your home too. Go a little further by painting one wall in a new colour and buying some matching soft furnishings."
Oil That Squeaky Door
“You know the one - it annoys everyone but no one has got round to doing anything about it. A squirt of WD40 into the hinges will solve the problem instantly.”
Hang Your Pictures
“Most people have a stack of pictures somewhere they have never gotten round to hanging. Now is the time, if only because of that lovely Zen-like feeling you get when another small task has been completed. Just make sure you choose the right fixings for your wall type.”
Touch Up Your Paintwork
“Wear and tear inevitably leads to small chips, marks and cracks in the paintwork and half a day of DIY will pay immediate visual dividends. For chipped woodwork, sand it with a fine sandpaper, then dab on a little undercoat and when it's dry, the topcoat. Use a fine filler for cracked walls and paint over when dry. For marks, look for 'magic erasers' from hardware stores - special white foam squares that miraculously clean paintwork when moistened.”
Refresh Your Tile Grout
A simple way of freshening up the tiles in your bathroom is using an anti-mould grout pen. DIY Expert Susanna Clark says: "You can buy special grout pens, sort of giant felt tips that mean all you need to do is draw on the grout lines for a totally fresh look."