The hot days of summer are just around the corner — can your home take the heat? Just like winterizing your home each year to prepare it for cold weather, there’s a series of steps that you can take ahead of time to get your home ready for summer. May is a great month to jump on this project, and below is a list of 10 ways to get started now:

1. Pack and store your winter items

Before you start breaking out your summer clothing and gear, pack up your winter clothing and accessories (coats, scarves, snow boots) and store them away for next year. Similarly, fold up and store away any heavy throw blankets, comforters, heavy curtains, or anything else that you won’t need or plan to switch out during the summer season.

2. Lighten up your space

Spring and summer are good seasons to lighten up in terms of overall color scheme and fabric choices. Trade in heavy curtains for lighter-weight alternatives to let the sunshine in, switch out warm winter throw blankets and bedding with cooler fabrics and consider adding pops of lighter, brighter color throughout your home to celebrate the new season. For summer interior inspiration, check out Harper Bazaar’s 11 Ways to Add a Touch of Summer to Your Home.

3. Repair siding

Does your home have wood siding or shingles? If so, now is a good time to check for rot or damage that may have occurred this past winter. HGTV recommends a nylon scrub brush and all-purpose cleaner to eliminate dirt and mold on engineered wood, vinyl, or aluminum siding. For more information, check out their videos on how to repair wood siding or vinyl siding repair.

4. Clean gutters

Dry, warm months of spring and summer are the ideal time to inspect and clean out your gutters to resolve any potential issues before the arrival of heavy fall rain and leaves. Take time now to remove any existing leaves and debris and check for any breaks or leaks in your gutter or downspouts.

5. Prep your outdoor dining area

Take the time now to get your outdoor dining area ready for your family and guests: take out and dust off the patio furniture, scrub down the grill, sweep and clean your patio or porch, and start tidying up your lawn and flower beds. If you live in a smaller apartment or condo with a limited (or no) yard, Apartment Therapy has some great tips for playing up small outdoor spaces or bringing the outdoors inside to enjoy summer greenery indoors. Related tip: once you’ve prepared your outdoor space for summer, check out our tips for hosting a fun and festive garden party!

6. Wash windows

You would be surprised how much grease, dust and dirt can collect on windows during the winter months. Start summer off on a bright, fresh note by wiping down windows and ledges, and hosing down screens.

7. Get planting!

A few weeks ago we discussed gardening tips for April — a month known for unpredictable weather and occasional frost. A lot of these tips (how to pick the right mulch, for example) still apply in May and June, but now you have many more options for planting vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and basil that thrive in hot weather (and make delicious summer salads). Additionally, if you started any plants in indoor pots in the early days of spring, now is a good time to transfer those to your outdoor garden.

8. Freshen up guestrooms

This is an especially important tip if you’re a Northern Virginia resident living within driving distance to any of Virginia’s beautiful beaches — you’ll probably start getting calls from friends or family members who want to visit! Run your guest bed linens and towels through the wash if they’ve been sitting idle for a while, add a few simple, decorative accents to the room like seashells or small vases with fresh cut flowers, clear our your guest room closets and stock up on extra clothes hangers.

9. Check your A/C system or window units

If you have central air conditioning, a heating and air conditioning professional should inspect your A/C system at least once a year. Late spring is a great time to get that done, before the temperatures rise. If you have window A/C units, test them out to make sure they’re functioning properly and clean out the air filters. Once you have your window units running regularly, you should clean those filters out at least once every two weeks this summer to reduce dust and allergens in the air.

10. Get your sprinkler ready

Not only will your sprinkler keep your grass hydrated this summer, but if you have kids, it’ll potentially provide hours of hot weather fun for them, too (what’s better than running through a sprinkler in 90 degree heat, right?)! Check your sprinkler now to ensure it’s ready for action when the hot temperatures hit. --------- Looking for more tips for home and family? Check out our recent post on how to choose the right neighborhood for you.