Spring is within reach, even though the icy roads, piles of snow and obscenely cold weather say otherwise. But there are some advantages to having spring wait just a LITTLE bit:

Hold off on spring cleaning. If the birds aren't chirping and the weather isn't conducive to hanging winter jackets, quilts, curtains and the like on the clothesline, it's too early to clean. Boots are still tracking grit through the house and carpets are looking sad after barely surviving another winter. Once we have no need for hats and scarves and snow boots are a distant memory, grab your cleaning supplies and have at it.

Stay cozy. Windchills below zero? Keep those heavy throw rugs down and don't dismiss your down comforter just yet. Give them a good shake every now and again, but wait a few weeks to wash them and tuck them away for the season. If you're itching to be out with the old, start the hunt for the spring pillows and curtains that are stored deep inside the basement in one of the many, many plastic totes.

Longer-lasting blooms. Last year my tulips were up way too early and didn't last nearly long

Later spring = longer bloom time.

Later spring = longer bloom time.

enough. Maybe this year there won't be as big of a gap between the end of tulip season and the beginning of annuals planting. Once you go green ...

Daydream while looking out the windows. But don't wash them. Plenty of time for that. Wait until there's a near zero chance of snow and sleet to brighten your view. Meantime, grab a cup of coffee and ponder all the gifts spring will bring.

No dog duty. Literally. Anyone with a pet is in no hurry to see what's left behind when the snow melts.

Leave the yard alone. Early and unseasonably warm springs bring the temptation to start raking lawns way before the lawn is ready for it. Now you have no choice. Use the extra time to finish that book -- guilt-free!

Clothing clarity. With this cold snap, at least you know where you stand. When the weather is 50 one day and 15 the next, the mudroom/entry/hallway gets crowded with everyone's ... stuff. Winter coats, spring coats, thick gloves, thin gloves, snow boots, stylish boots -- once spring hits, the coat tree loses its branches. Keep the sweaters front and center; the linen will just have to wait.

But this is Minnesota; a week from now it could be 60. But I won't be washing windows yet. Putting away my Christmas lights? Perhaps.

What are you doing -- or not doing -- to get your home ready for spring?