With the hope of warmer weather, many people start to think about cleaning up and organizing their homes. But don’t overlook what you really should be cleaning up: your yard and garage. Attack these 4 main problem areas and you’ll find yourself ahead of the game come spring.

1. Garage Floor and Car

Winter tends to be an especially dirty time for your garage. All that snow and slush you bring in with your car has dirt and other minerals in it. These deposit on your garage floor and stay there all winter while you try to keep warm inside. With the warmer weather, make sure to remove all that dirt and debris from your garage floor so it will be ready for the warmer months.

While you’re at it, make sure you take your car to get washed. The salt and sand that is used to keep the roads from freezing also takes a real toll on the under carriage of your car. Make sure to get that all rinsed off so it doesn’t corrode your vehicle.

2. Pruning and Garden Prep

The dormant winter months have kept the plant asleep, but now it’s time to wake it up. For many plants, just before spring is the best time to prune. This way you can get your plants ready for the new growth and even stimulate it a little bit. This Old House’s Roger Cook recommends starting now so you can get a head start on your spring projects and summer enjoyment.

If you plant a garden each spring, take the time now to check out your plots. If you have grow boxes or other areas you always plant in, check to see if there are any weeds or debris in them that need to be removed. Check the soil quality and decide if you need to buy some new topsoil or fertilizer for them. Plan out which vegetables will be going where and make sure to rotate where you put everything in order to avoid mineral depletion in the soil. This might also be a good time to start composting your yard and kitchen waste. This is better for the environment and for your garden.

3. Scrap Metal

Many people find that they have scrap metal lying around on their property that they just haven’t gotten around to yet. Not only is this mess unsightly, but if you’re not using it you could be missing out on extra money in your pocket. In places from Toronto to Edmonton, scrap metal recycling centers are willing to pay to take it off your hands. So take that old construction material, worn out farming tools, or whatever you have and turn it in for some money.

4. Fence

The harsh weather and constant water exposure might have left your fence worse for wear. Walk the perimeter of your yard and inspect for damage. Keep an eye out for loose posts and water damage. Also take note of the condition of your fence’s paint job. If it’s time to give it a new coat, it will be easier to do it now instead of later when plants have grown up in front of it again. You can get it all sanded and prepped now, and then once temperatures rise above 50°F you can get out the paint.

Once your yard is prepped for the spring, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your normal spring chores will go. A little clean up and preparation goes a long way when it comes to yard work, and you’ll be glad you got a head start.

Barbara Johnson works in real estate and enjoys finding her clients the perfect homes. In addition, she shares her home improvement and gardening tips with others through blogging. She relies on General Recycling for her metal recycling needs.