Ongoing maintenance of a home can be hard to keep track of. With busy lives and complicated schedules, it’s easy to forget important tasks that keep your home tiptop.
Coming into the new year, we hear talk of personal goals and resolutions, so why not think about your home. Here’s a calendar of new year’s resolutions specifically for your house. It really is the little things that, if not kept up, lead to big problems down the road.
After all the holiday gifts flood in, it’s time to thin out. For every new item you receive, get rid of a few you no longer need. Be mindful to recycle, re-give or donate whenever possible.
I donated these towels to the Bloomington Animal Shelter and the books to Middle Way House.
Your oven and stove have been through a lot over the holidays. Time to give them a good scrub. I find a mixture of dish soap, white vinegar and baking soda will get even the worst baked on grease off your oven and cooktop.
While you’re cleaning the kitchen, give your garbage disposal some love. Run a few trays of ice through in the disposal. This freezes food remnants and pulls them away from the blades and actually sharpens the blades as well. After that, grind up some orange rinds to freshen it up.
Time for spring cleaning. I wipe down all my baseboards, window sills and the top of furniture and cabinets. I get under the furniture and sometimes even launder draperies and upholstery. I wash my windows and after they are spic and span, I get my screens back in place so I can open up the windows and let the fresh spring air in.
When the weather warms, get yourself outside and prepare gardens and clean up your yard. Rake away any leaves and trim back shrubs, perennials or trees, spread fresh mulch, and fertilize and aerate your lawn.
Make sure to have maintenance performed on your air conditioner so it will be ready for high performance during the sweltering summer months.
Before your garage gets too busy, give it a good clean. If you’re feeling ambitious it’s best to empty the garage out. This makes sweeping it out super simple. Before you put anything back, give it a look over and get rid of any broken tools, toys or items you no longer use. If you decided it’s still worthy of garage space, organize it so you are ready for a busy spring and summer. While you’re outside check your gutters and remove any debris that collected over the winter.
This is my favorite. Finally, the weather is warm enough to get plants in the ground. Plant annuals and any new perennials. If you are into edible gardens, this is also the time to get some veggies and herbs going.
Empty all your cabinets and pantry and wipe down the shelving. While you have the shelves empty get rid of broken or chipped dishes and out of date pantry goods. Empty out your fridge and freezer and clean them top to bottom. Don’t forget to vacuum behind the fridge along with the coils, and wash the floor under it.
Scrub your deck and, if needed, stain or repair. Take extra care to look for any dry rot, insect damage or water damage.
Check all your bathroom and kitchen plumbing for leaks and repair any cracked grout or damaged caulk.
Have your carpets cleaned. Be sure to let them dry fully before putting down rugs or large furniture. I like opening up all the windows and airing out the house while they dry.
Maintenance your furnace and plan a schedule to change your furnace filter as needed.
Replace the batteries in all your smoke detectors and test them to ensure they are still in working order. Smoke detectors are only good for about 10 years. If yours are older, they could be at risk of not being functional. The current safety code requires that smoke detectors are hard-wired into the homes electrical panel with battery backup. This is great insurance!
Remove your window screens, label and store them for winter. While there aren’t any screens in the windows; give them a wash.
If you use a wood burning fireplace, this is the time to get an annual chimney sweep and to get some wood prepped for winter.
Tend to your yard, rake your leaves and clean up your garden beds for winter.
Clean out your gutters. Make sure all leaves and debris are removed from the roof, gutters and downspouts. Many roof leaks begin because of collected leaf litter in the roof valleys and bad drainage because of full gutters. After all the gutters are clean, clean your siding and wash away any mildew.
Before all your holiday guests descend on your home, run around and touch up all your painted baseboards, doors, windows and cabinets.
It may seem like a lot, but doing just one or two maintenance items a month can keep your house in prime condition.
This story first appeared in the Herald Times on January 6th, 2018.