With every new year comes old repetitive responsibilities. They don’t have to overwhelm you though as long as you have a plan, try to keep them on a schedule, and even share the duties where you can. I use an app on my phone called Google Keep. It lets me share my to-do lists with my whole house so I’m not the only person having to keep up with everyone’s things all year (like the HEPA filter in his fan, not my job). As one of us completes a task, we can check it off the list and everyone the list is shared with will know it’s done.
I actually use Keep for tons of lists and have a repeating monthly list for things that have to be done every month with a couple of items on the bottom that are yearly for January or every 6 months for January and July. It sounds a bit excessive as I try to type an explanation but once the list is made, you check off the items that are completed and when the next month rolls around, you uncheck them all and rename the list for the new month. It actually takes seconds but goes a LONG way in helping keep up with maintaining all the small things that need to be done consistently.
A paper method for tracking your to do list or even writing them on the calendar is perfectly acceptable too. The most important part is what you’re putting on your list. Everyone’s homes and lives are different but we all have some things in common so I’m going to break down the 3 lists we should all have and some of the things on mine.
- SMOKE DETECTORS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
This is by far the most important thing on my list so I want to make sure that even if you skip everything else, read this.
You should have carbon monoxide alarms if your home is not all electric with no heaters or fireplaces that are anything other than gas. That’s right, wood, pellet, kerosene, oil, natural gas, or propane etc. fireplaces and stoves put you in the category of a carbon monoxide risk. They are also recommended if your garage is attached to your home due to the gas or diesel fuel equipment used in there.
Where to put them: each bedroom, hallway, kitchen, garage, each level of the home (including basement), and any room with a fireplace.
Replace the batteries every year on January 1st. (or 2nd if you aren’t ladder ready on the 1st)
This is something I just recently found out since I’ve been working with home inspections but the detectors actually expire. It’s recommended to REPLACE smoke alarms every 10 years and carbon monoxide alarms every 5-7 years.
- Mail property tax assessment
- Pay property taxes
- Spring to do list – Gutter check and clean, deck stain coat, check the swing set, treat the exterior of house and lawn for bugs etc.
- Fall to do list – HVAC Maintenance, check weather strips on doors, clean leaves away from home, unhook all the outside hoses, prep the lawn equipment for winter, bring in plants that can’t winter outdoors etc.
2. Twice a year – January and July
These items can vary so check your owner’s manuals but mine recommend every 6 months.
- Refrigerator water filter
- Over-the-Range Microwave carbon filter
- Vacuum HEPA filter
- Room fan HEPA filter
These can also vary.
- HVAC filter
- Coffee pot water filter
- Clean the Over-the-Range Microwave washable filters (mine are dishwasher safe)
- Dishwasher, Washing Machine, and Garbage Disposal Cleaning Cycle
- Drain Cleaner – I use a monthly preventative which takes a lot less time and money than the time my kitchen sink drain clogged all the way to the main drain line right after I moved in here.
- Clean the cleaning supplies – Most of my bagless vacuum’s plastic components are dishwasher safe and I bought a spare washable filter so when I wash it, I don’t have to wait the 24-hour recommended dry time to vacuum. I just change the filter and put the other one away for a month to dry.
- Monthly pet medicines
Just don’t get too picky on what list things should be on and it all goes smoother. I can have my dogs’ heartworm meds on the same list as my drain cleaner without mixing up the 2 products. I would watch out if you’re adding kids to a list, then don’t add anything they shouldn’t be doing to it. My property taxes and smoke alarm batteries sharing a list also don’t hurt anything. I never have to worry about my husband accidentally paying the taxes before I do. 😛
As a final note, as always, I’m not an expert, just a homeowner. These are things I do personally and haven’t had any issues with. Please contact a professional if you have concerns or questions about how to maintain or repair your home.