In this series of articles, Ownersite Technologies looks at the tedious, but necessary, and wise art of home maintenance. The articles provide an in-depth examination of what you can do on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual basis so that you leave no stone or unturned or repair left behind. All of these tips are geared at helping you maximize the value, reliability, and safety of your home. Of course, these are just general guidelines and many may not be applicable for your particular property. Home maintenance can vary based on the age, location, type of use, and materials used.
Many of us know the dreaded feeling. We realize that another week has reached its end, which means its time to transform ourselves into the weekly clean team with mop, duster, and vacuum in hand. It’s amazing what we can think up in terms of being busy just to avoid the weekly housecleaning chores. It has to be done whether we tackle it ourselves or we can make room in our budget for a cleaning service, gardener, and pool technician.
Benefits of Weekly Maintenance
There are a number of reasons to find room in your busy week to tackle these tasks. While each weekly task has a specific benefit, there are some general perks to keeping up with certain items on a regular basis:
- Weekly maintenance ends up making less work in the long run so that you are not hit with larger, more intense cleaning projects later on.
- It can reduce reactions to allergies and help those who suffer from respiratory issues because dust does not have a chance to take over your home. Basically, vacuuming and dusting will help prevent the dust bunnies from breeding…and we know how fast bunnies reproduce!
- Cleaning can reduce the number of germs you have lurking around your house, thereby minimizing your chance of getting ill.
- You will less likely invite rodents or insects in your house because they will be turned away at the door by the smell of a clean home. If they can’t sense any crumbs lying about, it’s just not worth the effort for them.
Whether you are a bachelor or a family, weekly maintenance helps you and your home feel good. It shows that you take pride in yourself as well as in your investment.
Laundry List of Weekly Work
Many of us may be guilty of thinking that we will skip over a few maintenance steps this week and make up for them the following week. Those that fess up to that will also admit that the intentions are there, but that never happens. The pile of work only gets bigger.
To the lighten the load, you can try to tackle this list a few items at a time spread out over the week, set aside time one day each week, or copy and paste onto a board for the service you have hired to take care of it for you:
- Kitchen: sink, stovetop, microwave, stove, countertops, and floors
- Bathrooms: sink, mirrors, countertops, toilet, bathtub, shower, and floors
- Shared Living Spaces: dusting, floors, straightening up
- Bedrooms: dusting, floors, straightening up
- Outdoors: tasks depend on your landscape and could include some or all of the following:
- Mow, trim, and blow lawns (you usually get a break in the winter from weekly duty)
- Pull weeds, sweep up leaves and debris, and trim greenery, as necessary
- Service and clean swimming pool and spa
Other weekly maintenance tasks include changing the linens – sheets and towels; straightening up, i.e., making neater piles of stuff; wiping down computer keyboards and door handles, a.k.a., “germ factories”; and spot-cleaning the walls of crayons and handprints – a sure sign of children lurking nearby!
The rule of thumb is that the high-traffic areas require the most cleaning, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, while other areas may just need a touch up like a guest bedroom. Depending on the size of your house, the number of people living there, and the size of the cleaning team, weekly maintenance can take anywhere from 2-5 hours each week.
Tips to Try
There are also some tips to remember that will make weekly maintenance a success:
- Always check equipment instructions and supply labels about their recommended use if you are using something for the first time as part of your weekly maintenance routine.
- Vacuuming involves more than just common pathways of carpet. There are also rugs, stairways, furniture, and hard floors to consider.
- Dusting – another of the least popular cleaning jobs – is best accomplished with a vacuum attachment or micro-fiber cloth. Other tools suggested for dusting simply scatter the dust and have it resettle while certain sprays dull wood finishes. Be sure to dust everything – not just around all the knickknacks – including window sills, wall coverings, framed pictures, ceiling fans, draperies or window blinds, air vents, and light fixtures.
- Consider using many of the new eco-friendly cleaners. This means using fewer chemicals that can adversely affect your home, pets, and children. It’s also helping the planet out!M
Outsourcing the Work
There are also tips for those of you lucky enough to have the money but not the time to hire service providers that will make all your weekly maintenance tasks disappear and replace them with a stunning home inside and out. Remember the following tips when hiring a helping hand:
- Get service providers through referrals and not just by closing your eyes and having your finger land on an ad in the telephone book. You want someone that you can trust and that can do a good job.
- Make sure to get a written agreement of what is included in the monthly price so that you are not surprised later on by itemized “extras” that you thought were part of the deal.
- Regularly communicate with these service providers on what needs to be done or handled differently.
- While you should have high expectations, be prepared for the fact that no one will do as detailed and good a job as you. If you have to hire people because you do not have the time, be satisfied that the job meets certain requirements.
- If you are not happy, do not let it drag on because you can’t find a replacement. Let the service provider go and start again to locate the right fit for your needs.
Tracking Weekly Maintenance
Create a family (or roommate) master list of weekly maintenance activities and assign each person a certain number of tasks. Numerous software programs are also available that allow you to chart and graph your way to an organized weekly schedule of activities. These are good reminders and great for posting on the refrigerator! This makes less work and gets everyone working together, building quality time. Start them young as well by having your children help out. You might be surprised how much they are just happy to help and you will be instilling good habits in them at a young age.
Better yet, there are companies that take maintenance reminders to the next level. Ownersite Technologies is making it their business to help you maximize the investment in your home through a valuable Web portal where you can record and track all types of information related to the maintenance and care of your home. Their low-cost site membership provides you with a helping hand that takes the tasking effort out of tracking your home maintenance records. They can even send e-mail reminders and, while this may not be necessary for weekly tasks, it might help remind your son or daughter who is away at college to clean their dorm or apartment! A little high-tech nagging doesn’t hurt.