The New Year is a great time of year to start fresh in all aspects of your life. Today’s post I am concentrating on things you can do to help your home run smoothly all year. I know it’s not a typical subject area for me, but when your home runs smoothly it helps the rest of your life be less hectic.
It’s hard enough for me to remember all the things that go into making my house run smoothly, add in a lively toddler and forget it, I’m lucky I remember what I need to get at the grocery store! So that said one thing I like to do at the beginning of the year is make checklists to have a handy reminder of what I need to accomplish. I don’t just make lists, I make them detailed and I put them somewhere visible to me everyday so that they are not forgotten about. I have found for weekly checklists a dry erase white board works best for me, where as longer term checklists I put on paper and attach to our calendar, in addition to noting specific dates on our calendar.
Checklists: Home Maintenance
Some of these may be obvious but trust me when you work full time and you have a little one, a check list to ensure you don’t miss anything is a good thing. I also like the sense of accomplishment I get from seeing tasks checked off, makes me feel like I am not just running around like crazy not getting anything done.
1. Sweep/Vacuum floors. At a minimum we take some time each week to vacuum floors to keep dirt to a minimum (especially since Sophia likes to walk around the house with her snacks in hand, letting crumbs go here and there).
2. Clean off furniture, including slipcovers and throw pillows, and table tops. If you have animals this is a must because hair gets everywhere and the longer you overlook it, the more difficult it will be to clean up in a pinch. Sticky rollers have become our friend with an animal in the house, they help keep our furniture clean! A quick dusting over end tables, coffee tables and tv stands is a simple task and even one you can enlist your toddler in to help learn chores. Sophia has watched us wiping off the coffee table and her highchair so many times she now actually asks for a wipe to show us she too can clean like us. We usually hand her a wet one wipe or damp paper towel and she goes to town wiping it across the coffee table.
3. Clean out your fridge! As we are writing up our grocery list we open up our fridge and pantry and toss any expired items we might have. Seems trivial but it helps your fridge from getting filled with expired items, especially when they are items you use occasionally.
1. Change out your HVAC filter, then mark on your calendar the same day each month to check & change out the filter. If you do not have pets or allergies you might be able to mark your calendar every other month to check & change the filter.
2. Clean your sink disposal. Find out how, here. Again pick a day and mark it on your calendar to clean your disposal. I like to pick the first Saturday or Sunday of the month for all of our home maintenance checks that way we take a few hours one day a month. This way everything is done at once until the next month and not spread out over the month just to continue into the following month b/c then it feels never ending.
3. Drain & clean your washing machine. Learn how here. We recently purchased a new front loading washing machine and one thing I found that after the first few months is a funky smell. I am guilty of not fully reading directions that come with appliances I have a general idea of how they work. I did some research online and did as most people said, cleaned out the rubber part that seals the door closed, and even ran through some Tide washing machine cleaner, but the smell persisted. This is when I found out about the little door on the front bottom left of my washer. I had always seen this drawer but never knew what it was for; it’s a drain! The first time we emptied the drain it was absolutely horrible. I’m not going to lie, if you haven’t done this before, you’re in for a really horrible smell most likely. We have hard water so I’m sure that doesn’t help things much either. But every since we found out about this drain, once a month we drain the little bit of water leftover and the smell doesn’t come around anymore. We also use the Tide washing machine cleaner packets once a month to keep the machine clean and running smoothly.
4. Check your fire extinguishers. It’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in the house, and more importantly that you know how to use it in case of emergency. Make sure the unit is in a safe place (handy but out of the way of little hands), and that it shows no obvious signs of wear & tear.
5. Mop/Steam floors. Some may do this weekly, and we did when Sophia was crawling, but as both Kyle and I work full time it’s hard to fit in every week so we do it bi-weekly or at least monthly. We have mats we keep our shoes on inside the door so we don’t track anything from our shoes all around the house. If we do happen to have a lot of people over (holidays, etc) we will go ahead and do a steam mop that night or the day after since we have a little one running around.
Bi-Monthly or Quarterly
1. Check your smoke detectors and carbon dioxide detectors. Press the “test” button on your detectors and if it sounds you are good, if not, change the battery and test again; if it still doesn’t work it may require minor cleaning where the battery goes in or you may need a new detector. Mark down the last time you actually changed the batteries and put in new ones (should be done annually). This is one thing I don’t remember to do, but I kick myself every time because the battery ends up dying at the worst time (like right after Sophia goes to bed, or in the middle of the night). If you mark when you last changed the battery, you will have a good idea of how long it will take to run out and hopefully be able to avoid the late night battery changes to stop the chirping!
2. If you have a water softener, check the salt levels. Add more salt if the level looks low. This is a quick minute check, and maybe two minutes if you need to open a bag and add more salt. Definitely not something you need to do monthly, but quarterly is probably a good idea.
3. If you have guest rooms, bar sinks, or other areas of your home that water runs but are not used regularly, it is a good idea to flush toilets and/or run water to prevent build up. Bi-monthly checks should do the trick!
4. Spray for bugs or get someone in to do it for you… I HATE bugs, like I am the one jumping up and down and yelling if one is near me; yup I’m THAT person. So I make sure at least once in the spring, once in the summer and again just as its getting colder out I go around the outside of the house and spray Ortho Home Defense MAX Indoor & Perimeter Insect Killer. This stuff is amazing at getting rid of bugs. Unfortunate story, but somehow a few years back we got an ant infestation in our basement near our washer & dryer machine…luckily I had sprayed the perimeter of our basement with Ortho and we found out about all of the ants by seeing them dead on the floor and not walking the walls or elsewhere. They have not been back since thank goodness!
1. Check/Clean your rain gutters to prevent build up. Depending on where to live will determine how often you might want to check your gutters. If you have a lot of trees around, I would suggest checking them more often.
2. Have your heating & air conditioning serviced to ensure they are staying in good working condition.
3. Live in an area that gets snow & ice? Make sure you are stocked on items you need to clear aware nature’s gifts when you need to leave the house! Check for end of season sales on snow shovels, snow blowers, salt for walkways, etc. Then as we approach winter/snow season make sure to move these items into a location that they are easy to access if you get snowed in (like the garage instead of putting them in a shed that is detached from your home meaning you would need to first figure out how to get to the shed and get it open before you get to the items you need to clear the snow/ice).
These are obviously just a few home maintenance check lists, you can clearly add more to suit your particular home and situation 🙂