While owning your own home is great— you can have the pets you want, decorate as you wish, and you probably have more space than you did as a renter–it can be a little overwhelming. Instead of just calling a landlord to fix things that are broken or not having to think about things like air filters (yes, that’s a thing, and yes, hopefully your building manager was up on that!), it’s now all on you. You know you need to do the dishes, cut the lawn, and fix anything that’s not working (…or not, it’s your house!), but how can you prevent problems in the first place?
Easy: Do a little preventative maintenance– it’s much less expensive to be proactive than reactive and taking care of your investment is part of #adulting
The easiest way is to keep up on these tasks is to associate them with roughly 6 month interval. You can use a holiday, a season, or something else, but we suggest doing these tasks during daylight savings times. You already have to remember to change your clocks so that might help you remember to do your other homeownerly duties.
There are a bunch of things that should be done outside your home, but because of the range of climates and geographic-based home needs, we’re not getting into that now. What needs to be done outside on a house in March in Phoenix is completely different than a home in Wisconsin, but there are a variety of interior tasks that are the same across the board.
This checklist is by no means comprehensive. Some of this stuff should be done more often, but adulting can be hard and housework isn’t as much fun as brunch and SundayFundays (#sorrynotsorry) so take this as a beginner’s guide to homeownership, not a master class.
Systems and Stuff
Heating/Cooling System: Change the air filter
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide: Test alarms and check batteries (if they have batteries–some won’t)
Garage door auto-reverse: Make sure door will reverse if closed on something or if something is detected by the photo-electric sensors (please use a 2×4 or something, not your foot or body!)
Water Softener: Check your salt levels.
Water Filter: Check and replace if needed.
Hot Water Heater: Flush it. Read a how-to article based on whether you have a gas or electric heater. Being dumb can lead to a mess or scalding burns. Don’t be dumb.
Dryer Vent: Check dryer vent and remove all the lint you can. Test it by starting up your dryer and making sure there’s good airflow wherever the exhaust comes out. Replace dryer hose or have it professionally cleaned if you’re having issues.
Garbage Disposal: Clean it by freezing white vinegar in ice cube trays. Grind them up. Done. Boom!
Dishwasher: Pull the racks out. Pull the sprayer part out. Pull the mat out. Pull it all out. If you’ve never done this before, be prepared to be grossed out!
Range Hood Filter: Take it off and give it a good scrub. If this is the first time or first in a long time, this is also going to be gross. Use an automotive degreaser. Alternatively, new ones are typically less than $20. Maybe just buy one.
Refrigerator Coils: Vacuum refrigerator coils. Yes, it’s a pain to move the fridge, but is so worth it to keep it working and cut energy costs. This is super important if you have high-shedding pets!
Faucets and Fixtures: Soak shower heads and faucets to remove buildup. Put vinegar or another cleaner in a plastic bag. Submerge the shower head/faucet and rubberband in place. Soak until it’s clean-able.
Bathroom Vent Fan: Cut the power at the breaker. Pull it apart. Use a vacuum with a brush. Put it back together and be amazed at how much better it works.
Drains: Use a hair clog tool to remove any large chunks and then finish with chemicals or vinegar and baking soda, depending on your preferences.
Vacuum Mattresses: Remove all bedding and use an attachment to make it easier.
Closets: Organize closets and donate whatever you don’t need/want/use