Unfortunately, once you live in a place for a certain amount of time, you are required to do certain things to keep it hospitable. Things like cleaning and maintaining everything.
It can feel like a full time job at times. Because all I WANT to do is come up with new and exciting projects. All my brain WANTS to do is make lists of all the things we can still do to make the house even better. But all my house wants is for me to dust the baseboards and pull the weeds and change the furnace filters and mow the lawn (again).
It’s very demanding, this house.
Which is all to say that the back screened porch was in desperate need of routine maintenance. And I kept looking around and trying to figure out who in the world was finally going to take care of this.
And then I realized that that someone was actually ME.
Here’s the thing about a screened porch. It gets all the great parts about the outdoors – like a beautiful breeze and sunshine. But it also gets a lot of the nastiness – like dust and grime and pollen. And because of the screens, it all gets stuck out there.
I have tried sweeping and Swiffering and mopping and vacuuming, but it just doesn’t cut it after a while. It needed a deep clean. Like a year ago. (Really, it needs a deep clean every year, but that was not something I’ve done in the three years since we finished the porch.)
But a few weeks ago, I had had it. We love to use this space for us and for entertaining. And as the weather gets nicer, I want to spend more time out there with my kids. But instead, I would look around and see so much grime, especially around the edges of the porch. So, on a random Saturday morning, I woke up and told Ryan that I was going to buy a pressure washer and get it whipped into shape. He looked skeptical, due to the fact that my plans are normally not in line with my actual ambitions.
But I loaded up the kids and we brought home this pressure washer (currently on sale) at Home Depot. I chose this one solely at the suggestion of Young House Love, who’s never steered me wrong. (And spoiler – it worked awesome and we’ve already used it for 5 or 6 other things around the house.)
So, once I had the pressure washer in my possession, I realized there was plenty of prep to take care of. Because nothing can be easy. It’s a fact.
First we had to move all the furniture off the porch. And that’s a bit of a job since we have to bring them through the house and find a spot for them to live for awhile.
Once it was all cleared off, I swept and vacuumed all the loose dirt up before hooking up the pressure washer to electricity and the water spigot (conveniently located ON the porch.)
I started by washing around all the edges of the patio – which is where the majority of the dirt and grime caked up. Then, I did a once over on all the floors before moving to the cedar posts and pillars. They were a bit mildewy in places and need to be reoiled. So pressure washing them helped to remove the build-up of 3 years.
Finally, I did it all a second time to catch anything I missed.
I wasn’t sure if I would need soap but I ended up just using water . I used the medium nozzle and it really stripped the porch of all the grime without taking off the paint on the floors.
After letting the porch dry, I touched up a few areas and swept up any loose dirt that was remaining.
And then I stepped back and realized I also needed to paint the porch floors. Otherwise, we’d just bring all the furniture back in and I wouldn’t be happy with the wear on the floors. While the porch was already clear, it was a good time to paint.
So the next day, I whipped out the porch floor paint and painted the floors during naptime. Painting porch floors is actually a super simple job and goes quickly. It also makes a HUGE difference to the look of the space. Clean and fresh.
To play it safe, I left the porch alone for 3 days before moving anything back in. I adjusted the furniture arrangement a bit to have a conversation area on one side and a kids’ area (with picnic table and water table) on the other.
In addition to our chalkboard kids table, we also have a little water table over here. My hope is that I can relax on the patio while the kids play. They do like covering everything in chalk, so fingers crossed.
Outside the porch door, we have a small herb garden in a raised wash basin. This is pretty much the only gardening I’m doing this year, and luckily it’s rained a lot because I’ve neglected it.
But it’s handy to have herbs available right on the porch to grab for dinner.
The porch is truly one of my favorite features of the house – it’s such a wonderful spot to relax in the nicer weather. It’s bug free and it’s got a killer view. And having a space that’s actually fresh and clean makes it even better.
I’m so relieved that I finally took on this project – this outdoor space is one of our favorite features of the house and now I feel like we can finally enjoy it this year without worrying about everything that needs to be done.
Now we just have to have company over before it gets dirty again. Who’s coming over?
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