We just saw snow yesterday, but ready or not spring is approaching fast. It will finally be nice enough to spend time outside, and many people will want to tackle some yard or home improvement projects this spring.

Now is the time to start planning for your yard or home improvement project, so that when spring is here, you are ready to go. What should you do to prepare?

1. Decide on what project is most important to you, and then set a reasonable budget. This will help you judge how do-able your project really is. If you can make it work within your budget, move onto the next step. Otherwise, pick a different project that you can afford.

2. Research materials. Make a list of all the materials, tools and other items it will take to complete the job. Then take that list and start doing your research on prices of materials. If you come across items on sale, you may want to go ahead and purchase them now if you have a place to store them until spring.

3. Find labor. Can you do the entire project yourself, or are you going to need help from family, friends or professionals? Figure out what kind of help you need, and if it’s family or friends, ask them in advance.

4. Make a detailed plan. How is this project going to progress from start to finish? How long do you estimate it will take? Be sure to allow a little extra time, for the unknown.

5. Set a temporary date. It’s hard to predict what the weather is going to be doing a month or two from now, or what activities will come up between now and then. But if you set a temporary date and let your helpers know, it is more likely that you will get the job done before spring is over, instead of procrastinating on it.

It may seem like overkill, but planning out your project in advance will help it go much smoother, causing you less headaches and time.