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First Impressions - does your home make a good one?

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IT’S TIME to shake off the winter blahs and start an important outdoor organizing project. Put on your rose-colored glasses for spring, and give your home’s entry a fresh look.

Start curbside, checking the street gutter for debris. Check the driveway for weeds popping through the cracks, as well as drifting advertisers. If you have a nonworking car, truck, boat or RV, seriously consider donating it for a tax deduction.

Garage door
A broken garage door will keep your car in the driveway, not in the garage where it is protected from weather and theft. Does the door need to be replaced, or would a routine service call make it operational? True, parking the car in the garage causes a domino effect — now you need to make room for it. Don’t lose your focus. Getting the garage organized can be Phase 2 of your spring organizing fling.

Walk this way
Is the walkway to your front door inviting, or do you need to dodge overgrown plants, spent blossoms, forgotten toys or rusted bikes? Maneuvering around such things creates unnecessary struggle and blocks the flow of energy to your home, say feng shui experts. Confine hoses with a wall hanger or hose pot, or opt for a compact coil hose.

Porch pointers
Make sure light fixtures are free of cobwebs, and consider replacing those that are weathered. Tip: If your fixture has clear glass, use clear light bulbs for a cleaner, brighter look. Make sure you have adequate wattage to provide bright — but not glaring — light to your porch. Remove dead potted plants, and relocate unhealthy ones to a less visible spot for care. Install hooks for items like the dog’s leash. Shake or vacuum the doormat, or splurge on a new mat. Sweep and spray the area with water to wash away dirt and leaves. Wash down the porch walls and walkways to freshen the area. If your entry is enclosed, and your family removes shoes before entering — the best way to minimize dirt indoors — tuck a shoe rack out of sight, perhaps under a bench.

Door details
There are several ways to improve the front door without buying a new one. During our remodel, we painted the door, upgraded its hardware and added a brass kick plate. My friend Michelle saved her door by removing the decorative brick-a-brack, sanding, painting and replacing hardware for a more current look. Does your door have glass sidelights or cutouts? Clean the glass, and replace any cracked panes.

Ding-dong dead?
A broken doorbell tells visitors you lack respect for your home and yourself. If you or a handyman can’t fix your doorbell, visit the hardware store and get a new one; it’s fast and easy to install. If your bell works, consider upgrading the button plate with a fancier brass or lighted style.

Whether patriotic or decorative, replace flags that are torn or faded.

Other clutter
Repair or discard broken sculpture or water fountains; fill empty bird feeders; pick up and make a rack for garden tools; tidy remnants from the kids’ (or your) last project and fill or store empty plant pots.