There’s no doubt about it: maintaining a home is a tiring undertaking. It’s all fresh and new when you first move in, but within a few months, the familiar chaos will have begun to take over. You can find yourself stuck in a pattern of feeling like you’re never going to be able to catch up; as if you could do nothing but chores and maintenance tasks for a month and you’d still be way behind.
Okay. Let’s be calm about this. Yes, it’s tough. Yes, juggling life, a family, a career, and a home – well, it’s a lot for one family to handle. There’s always something demanding your time, on top of all the other 40,000 things that are demanding your time. You find yourself, for lack of time, putting off the cleaning jobs you know are necessary and making do with the peeling paint on the stairs. It can feel like you’re not going to be able to keep up, but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and admit defeat.
You’ve got this.
All you need is a plan of action. Actually – that’s not quite fair, you need a bit more than a plan of action. You need to also commit to the idea of following that plan of action to the letter. The plan itself? It’s largely worthless; it’s the doing everything according to your plan that can truly give you a feeling of control over the household maintenance that otherwise threatens to swallow you whole.
Breaking household tasks up into groups is the best way of managing the running of a house. For the sake of keeping things simple, let’s ignore the daily chores – such as putting washing on or wiping down after making food – as these are self-explanatory, and done in the moment. Instead, it’s everything else we’ll focus on; from the deep cleans to the home improvement necessities that you can’t afford to neglect.
So, without further ado, let’s look to the things you should do…
It’s often best to set aside one day per week for all the small tasks that have a tendency to mount up during the week when you’re busy with all things.
- A good clean is a necessity to ensure you don’t allow problems such as black mold to settle in and wreak havoc on house and humans alike. This clean should go a little deeper than your usual daily run-through; move furniture, lift rugs, get all the washing through the machines and run the dishwasher until everything is sparkling.
- Go into rooms that aren’t used often and whip a duster around. You’d be surprised how quickly dust gathers, especially in rooms that aren’t being used. If you keep this as a weekly chore, then it won’t have the chance to build up and potentially cause allergy problems.
- Clean the windows, both interior and exterior. This is especially necessary during winter, when the sludge and mud can be frozen onto the windows and ruin your view.
- Clean the garbage can. Yes, it’s just a receptacle for trash, but it’s amazing how quickly garbage cans can build up a layer of grime that soon begins to smell. Your kitchen bin should be included in this sweep. If you don’t want to get up too close, then taking everything outside and giving them a blast with a pressure washer is a good course of action.
The daily tasks are a necessity to keep your house running smoothly; the weekly tasks are designed to scoop up everything that gets missed. The monthly tasks, therefore, focus on going a little bit deeper.
- Get onto a ladder and clean the heights of the house, right into the corners of the ceiling. This is relatively easily done with a vacuum pointed in the right direction. We can all probably agree that spider webs are not particularly welcome decor in most homes.
- Check your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are in working order. This is an important safety step; you want to ensure you’re protected. So even if they run off a mains supply and you can presume they are in working order, make the time to make sure that’s the case.
- Grab a broom and go and sweep up outside. It’s not a fun task, but it will make a big difference to the appearance of both the front and rear of your home. If you have gravel, sweep it back into place while removing any mud or grass that has found its way onto walkways.
- Wipe down your front door and ensure there’s no mud on the front step. We all want our houses to give a good first impression, which is tough to do if your door is looking a little worse for wear.
- Clean the light fixtures and power sockets around your home. These are traps for fingerprints which you might not even notice, so find the time to go and ensure they’re still in good condition.
- Stain removal is a monthly task that you might not relish, but which your home will look better for doing. Most modern carpets can be spot-cleaned, so take advantage of this feature. For wood and laminate flooring, a monthly run over with a steam cleaner will tackle dirt that your usual cleaning regime doesn’t run deep enough to get to.
- Straighten your wall art. Whether it’s by people brushing past it or just the house moving by itself; wall art has a tendency to slide and become uneven. Go through your home in one sweep and ensure everything is straight enough to pass a spirit level test.
Once a year is the kind of task we all like, isn’t it? Get it done, tick the checkbox, and forget about it for 12 months. However, just because these tasks are infrequent doesn’t mean that they can be seen as unimportant. In fact, some of the tasks that fall into this category are among the most important in terms of ensuring your home doesn’t fall into disrepair.
- Run a pest sweep at least once per year. That means taking to the eaves of the house to inspect for signs of termites, or heading out into the yard to ensure only beneficial critters have made your garden their home. If you find any signs of an infestation, then get on to the likes of AtkinsInc.com/pest-control/ as quickly as possible. These are issues you really don’t want to leave to fester.
- Go and inspect all of the walls of your home, moving furniture to give yourself the best view. If you had issues in your foundations, would you know how to spot the telltale signs? Or which cracks in the wall are benign versus the ones that can be harbingers of something more serious? Learn to tell the difference at Property24.com/articles/when-to-worry-about-cracks-in-walls/12619 and then scope out every area of your house on an annual basis.
- Investigate your storage areas, such as the basement or the attic. We’re all prone to just throwing things into these areas to be dealt with at a later date. Far too often, that ‘later date’ doesn’t come until we’re contemplating a house move. Thus, we have to spend hours that should be being spent packing going through the accumulated mess. So rather than let everything pile up, ensure you go through everything at least once per year.
- Check the gutters. It’s not a pleasant job, but it’s one you need to grab a ladder and do. It’s best to time this job for sometime during the fall, when leaves are likely to fall into gutters and cause potential clogs. It should be relatively simple to remove any obstacles or identify any cracks, so this isn’t a task that’s going to take a long time – but not doing it could cause untold problems.
- Look for small decoratively-related problems that can make a house seem unsightly. That’s things like chipped wood floors, peeling paint, or loose tiles in the bathroom. Spend a day fixing everything back to its best standard and then give yourself a pat on the back.
There’s no doubt that keeping a house going is not the easiest of tasks, but here’s the good part: it’s one of the most rewarding. That satisfying feeling when you can sit back, knowing you’re on schedule, is one of the best in the world. With this kind of system, you can always be confident that everything is dealt with. There’s no need to suddenly remember something needs doing, and lose an afternoon that you had otherwise planned to do more enjoyable things during. Instead, everything is neatly calculated and part of a timetable, so you know everything will eventually be attended to. It might be a rather strict way of living, but it’s one that will have benefits galore if you can make yourself stick to it.
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