Whether you’re a new homeowner or you’ve been paying a mortgage for twenty years, household maintenance is a regular part of life. Long-time homeowners likely have a maintenance schedule in mind, be it stored in spreadsheets or memory banks; but new homeowners could use a leg up on plotting out what to do in their homes and when to do it. Below, you’ll find tips and tricks to help you organize your cleaning and maintenance schedule so that you can preserve and improve the look of your home while creating a comfortable environment for you and your family.
1. What Season Is Coming Up?
Many homes require certain changes or preparations for the changing seasons. For example, you may need to assess the insulation on your water pipes
and add more if it’s old and crumbling. Without insulation, you run the risk of ending up with frozen or burst pipes – and fixing such issues costs far more than the time and investment of insulation. To remember what maintenance needs to be done, think about the next season that’s approaching and begin making necessary changes and performing regular upkeep. Other common seasonal tasks include washing windows, checking insulation in the attic, sealing windows in plastic, caulking up any holes or seams where air may escape, and switching out your HVAC filter.
2. Create Lists
Creating lists makes it easy for you to remember tasks
-- especially if you divide the lists into seasons to match up with the ideas in the last section. For each season, draft up a list of regular maintenance tasks as well as things you’d like to get done (like repaint the living room). This will give you a clear-cut plan of action throughout the year for keeping up with everything.
3. Keep a Detailed Spreadsheet of Dates
By this, we simply mean to keep a spreadsheet where you can log when you’ve performed maintenance and have replaced certain parts of various household features. Enter things like when you’ve changed the HVAC filter and when it will be up for another replacement. Include other things like when you last had the chimney and fireplace inspected—if applicable—the carpets professionally deep cleaned, or the batteries changed in the smoke detectors. This allows you to track what you do each year and will remind you when to perform that task again.
4. Delegating Tasks Out Among Everyone
Big or small, there’s almost always a lot to do in any house. Keeping on top of everything and remembering what needs to be done can be tricky. Don’t try to tackle everything yourself. Instead: divide and conquer. Take some time, and draft up a list of common household maintenance tasks, and then begin to divvy it up among your family. Give some lighter, easier things to the kids (think unloading the dishwasher and dusting), and leave the big maintenance tasks to the adults. By delegating tasks this way, each person is responsible for a set amount of chores and maintenance, thereby lessening the amount of things that each person needs to remember.
5. Defining Standards
Whether you like it or not, everyone has their own standards for cleaning and maintenance. While one person will wipe down kitchen counters and sweep the floor once a day, another may be satisfied with wiping things down once a week. Everyone has different standards for different reasons. Now, you might disagree on what clean looks like, but you should define standards for cleanliness and household maintenance as a group to make sure that everyone is on the same page and ready to do their tasks.
As a new homeowner, it might feel like you’re overwhelmed with all the things that require maintenance in your house. If, however, you do a bit of planning (and you stick to the plan), that maintenance should become easier with time. One of the biggest challenges regarding maintenance is simply knowing where to start. If you take the time to map out what your tasks are and how they’ll get done, you’re already in a far better spot than when you started.