10 Home Chores To Do Annually

Sing me some graces, there is such a thing as over-cleaning! Here are ten chores around the home that you really only need to do annually, minus special circumstances. Let’s dive in!

10 Home Chores To Do Annually

1. Curtains & Drapes

Unfortunately, we don’t mean the dusting part. You’ll want to dust at least once a month, but when it actually comes time to getting them cleaned, you only really need to do that once a year. You can take them in to get dry cleaned or follow the instructions on their tags if you choose to wash them at home.

2. House Gutters

Gutter guards can be a great investment, especially if you live around trees that shed all year long. These can keep your gutter cleanings minimal, generally about once per year. You’ll want to do this in the autumn when all of the leaves from the trees have already fallen.

3. Fireplace & Chimney

After the winter, you’ll want to give your fireplace a thorough cleaning. You can use a shop vacuum to clean up the embers. Make sure to wash down the fireplace tools as well. Go an extra step further and schedule an appointment with a chimney sweeper.

4. Carpets

We wish we meant vacuuming, but that’s pretty much a weekly or biweekly task for most households. In this case, we mean a deep clean. The best time to get this taken care of is right after summer.

5. Outdoor Furniture

The best time to clean outdoor furniture is when you bring them out of storage for Spring. Of course, if messes up happen while you’re using them, you want to clean the spots right away, so you avoid an accumulation of stains in a short period.

6. Mattress

Mattresses have improved through the years but they still need a little bit of attention. At least once a year, give your mattress a thorough cleaning and change the position of it.

7. Kitchen Cabinets & Pantry

Early November is a great time to clean out kitchen cabinets, drawers, and the food pantry to get them ready for the holidays. Do a section of cabinets at a time and empty them out completely. Wipe down the shelves and reline with shelf paper if needed.

8. Linen Closet

Just once a year, empty out your linen closet and give it a thorough cleaning. Take time to vacuum away dust and spiderwebs and reline any shelves.

9. Garage, Basement, & Attic

No one is expecting you to have a perfect garage, basement, or attic. However, a good cleaning at least once a year can help you keep an eye on things, such as moisture or insect problems. It can also feel good to get rid of junk that tends to accumulate in these hidden spaces.

If you’re in the market to sell your home, you can always give me a call, and I’ll refer over some preferred vendors that can help you knock out your cleaning tasks.

6 Ways To Winterproof Your Home This Fall

brown snow covered house

If you want your home to make it through the winter months unscathed, you’ll need to take the proper measures to protect it. In other words, you need to winterproof your home.

But if you wait until you’re hearing Christmas carols on the radio to take the necessary steps to protect your home, you’ll be too late. Here are 6 ways to winterproof your home this fall so your home is ready for the cold temperatures, snow, and whatever else the season wants to throw at it:

1. Store patio furniture

Winter isn’t the time for barbecues and dining alfresco, so it’s important that you protect your grill and patio furniture in the winter months — that way, they’ll be ready to roll when the weather starts to warm.

Take your patio furniture and grill and put them into storage. This is especially important if you have aluminum patio furniture, which can rust once the snow hits. If you don’t have a place to store your grill and furniture (or if your furniture is made of a more durable material), you should at the very least cover it up to protect it from the elements.

2. Empty and store hoses

You’ll also want to store your garden hoses before the temperature drops. If you leave your hoses as is, the water in them can freeze, which can cause holes and leaks.

Drain each of your garden hoses and store them inside until the spring.

3. Protect your home from chilly winter air

One of the trademarks of winter is cold air, and if that cold air finds a way into your house, you’re likely to find yourself shivering no matter how high you turn up the heat.

It’s important to seal off your house to keep cold air from getting in. Look for any gaps in the walls or foundation and seal them with foam or caulk (you can also use caulk to seal any gaps around windows). If your home is notorious for being cold in the winter, you’ll also want to check the insulation. Your attic and basement should be insulated, and if the insulation is old or improperly installed, it can cause dropping temperatures in the colder months.

Redoing or adding insulation isn’t cheap, so if you’re unsure of whether your insulation needs an upgrade, consult an insulation professional and get an estimate.

4. Get the right thermostat

One of the most important ways to protect your home in the winter is keeping it at the proper temperature. But “proper temperature” is relative; obviously, you’ll want your house warmer while you’re home, but it’s fine to turn down the heat while you’re out. But if you turn OFF the heat, you run the risk of the temperature dropping too low.

A programmable thermostat will allow you to control the temperature in your home at all times. You can program your thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you leave, and raise the temperature before you get home so you get to return to a nice, toasty environment. Many of the new thermostats even connect to your smartphone, allowing you to control the temperature in your home straight from your mobile device.

5. Switch to winter fabrics

When the winter chill kicks in, you’re going to want lots of warm, cozy fabrics to keep you warm. Replace your summer linens with more substantial fabrics, like velvet, fleece, or faux fur, to match the season. Put a throw or blanket in one of these fabrics in each room so you always have something on hand to wrap yourself up with when the temperature drops.

6. Replace your furnace filter

Old, dirty filters will make your furnace less efficient, driving up your energy bills and making your home more difficult to heat. Replace your furnace filter this fall to ensure that your furnace is in tip-top shape when winter hits.

Colder temperatures are on their way, so it’s important to protect your home while you still have time. And with these winterproofing tips, getting your home ready should be a cinch.

Achieve Feng Shui In Your Home!

If you take the time to dig into the philosophy around feng shui, you’ll understand that it doesn’t come off as esoteric as one my think. It’s based around the simple practices to make a home feel healthier and a lot more organized. It also helps you to connect to your home, in a way that can affect your mood and well being. Feng shui is as common as “spring-cleaning,” or decorating to make a home feel much more comfortable.

This ancient Chinese tradition can be incorporated into your own home. It can be done in a modern holistic approach, while still honoring the age-old traditions that come with feng shui. It’s not about transforming the structure of your home, but instead making it to evolve into a space that refreshes your home – and in turn your health. The following feng shui tips will do a little more than just bring some harmony into your home, they can potentially increase the value of your home’s selling price.

Let’s get into to the best feng shui decorating tips for your house below!

1. Slow Down Your Home’s Energy Flow:

The the back door and the front door have a direct line of sight, that means the energy in the home, or the chi, will flow through the home too fast. Instead of it going straight out of the back door, you want it to undulate throughout the whole home in a graceful and even manner. The best way to slow down this flow is to place a patteren rug on the floor in front of the front door, add artwork on the walls, or add a round entry table to the foyer space.

2. De-Clutter Your House:

Decluttering your home may seem like an obvious enough solution, we can all be guilty of letting our content accumulate in our home, that may not have a specific function. Clutter is more than just unappealing visually, it’s an anchor for the energy in a home. An excessive amount of clutter can stop you from having clarity of thought, and even weigh you down emotionally. Feng shui isn’t focused on having a perfectly styled home, but instead, provide a happier and healthier environment. Be sure to have the correction organization throughout your home. From paying bills, to recycling content, and even something as simple as a designated spot for your keys. It’ll help you feel less frazzled and feel more efficient in your day to day routine.

3. Front Door Path Must Be Kept Clear:

The front door in a home is an important factor to feng shui. It’s the main portal through which the energy from outside will enter into your home. You want to make sure the energy flows uninterrupted through the front door, without “metaphorically” running into a wall. Keep your front door area free of clutter and consider installing a mirror near the front door. This can hold the meaning that you are expanding the energy in the space, which in turn expands the opportunities within your life – and prevents you from feeling limited.

green leaves in pond

4. Balancing The Five Elements

Whether present physically, or symbolically, the five elements you can find in a home are earth, fire, wood, metal, and water. The fire element can be brought into a home with warmer tones, or physically through a fireplace and burning candle. You want to ensure there is a balance between all of the elements. People can easily be drawn to an element that can cause an imbalance in their life. For example, if a person were to find themselves rather aggressive, they’d want to avoid a large amount of fire elements – such as a bright red wall. If a person is lacking motivation in their life, it’d best suit them to add more fire elements. Look at the elements within your home in a symbolic manner, and see what you need to change to create a more balanced emotional life.

5. Remove Any Negative Symbolism:

From books to traffic signs, symbolism bombards us daily. In every day life, we are guided by the symbolism that surrounds us, which is enhanced even more so within our homes. An intimate environment represents an individual’s fears and challenges. If you have trouble finding clarity, see if you have a lot of stuff cluttered in your home. If you have low self esteem, check to see if mirrors are hung too high, which equates to you never measuring up. If you find yourself unable to get out of the single life, do you surround yourself with single decor? I.e. single vases, single chairs, single person in pictures/art. Figure out the challenges you face on a daily basis in your life and look at the symbols the content in your home hold, to understand what changes need to be made.

6. Maximize The Natural Light:

Natural light can make a person much happier and more positive. You want to enhance as much natural light in a home as possible, which can be done by placing mirrors directly across from windows to help reflect the light throughout your space.

 

The Lifespan of 20 Essential Household Items

Has your air conditioner ever failed on a hot summer day? It’s a struggle no homeowner wants to deal with. When you own a home it’s important to budget annually for repairs that might be needed and anticipate when things might need to be replaced.

If you take care of your home, your appliances and fixtures should last longer. This means keeping them clean, performing regular maintenance and preventing unnecessary wear.
Even the most well-kept homes will need repairs at some point and it helps to know how long you should expect your items to last. We’ve put together a list of how long certain household fixtures and appliances should hold up.

Exterior:

Fixtures outside your home can suffer the most wear and tear of anything you own because they are constantly exposed to the elements. However, they are usually some of the most sturdy and are typically built to last. These are the items you will likely have to pay more for but luckily not as often.

Window Unit Air Conditioner: 10 Years

The typical window unit air conditioner can last anywhere from 8–12 years depending on how much it’s used and how well it’s taken care of. Be sure to turn the unit off when it’s not needed and clean the air filter often.

Garage Door: 12 Years

You can expect 10–15 years of reliable service from a garage door depending on how often it’s used. To prolong its life, apply lubricant spray to door springs every three to six months.

Siding: 30 Years

Siding can last anywhere from 20–40 years depending on the material used, weather conditions in your area and how well it’s taken care of. For instance, aluminum siding will last 15 years but needs to be repainted when it fades every five or so years.
Wood siding that is painted or stained every five years should last decades. But vinyl siding is a popular choice because it can last up to 40 years and is virtually maintenance free!

No matter what material you use to keep your siding clean to prevent dirt and mildew that can shorten its lifespan.

Roofing: 25 Years

Most homeowners will need to re-roof their house every 20–30 years, although the type of shingles you use will impact this number. A metal roof can last even longer, up to 50 years, although it’s more expensive upfront and therefore less common.

To get the longest life out of your roof ensure you check it after inclement weather and be sure to repair it quickly to avoid more damage.

Deck: 35 Years :

Depending on the type of wood, your deck can last anywhere from 20–50 years. However, the average deck lasts around 35 years.

Seal your deck and keep up with minor repairs to keep it strong and sturdy for many years.

Interior:

Maintaining the interior of your home can keep it looking stylish and new. Even the most diligent cleaners will at some point have to replace worn out fixtures. Doing so proactively can help you avoid an emergency situation.

Carpet: 10 Years

Carpet in your home typically has a 5– 15-year lifespan. It will eventually begin to wear out (in the most traveled areas) and it will need to be evaluated. If you notice it’s starting to look dirty, matted or has a foul odor, it’s time to replace it.

It’s a maintenance best practice to steam clean your carpet often (before it becomes visibly dirty).

Faucets and Fixtures: 15 Years

Properly cleaned and maintained faucets and fixtures can last anywhere from 10–20 years. However, if they are not properly cleaned they can last less than 10 years. If you want to make them last, clean out hard water residue often.

HVAC System: 20 Years

It’s best to replace your system around 15 years which means saving up the money and having a professional in mind to fix it.

To get the longest life out of your HVAC change the filters often to avoid overworking your system.

Windows and Skylights: 30 Years

Windows and skylights last so long that often people forget they need to be replaced at all. Good windows will last most people from 25–35 years or more, but you will know it’s time to change them when they start looking warn, begin to suffer damage or are not insulating your home properly.

Be sure to clean window tracks twice yearly to prevent buildup and prolong their life.

Countertops: 15-100+ Years

It’s smart to invest in stone countertops such as granite or quartz because they last so much longer than laminate or cement countertops. Laminate countertops will last anywhere from 10-12 years, while a well-maintained stone countertop can last over 100 years!

Keep your investments safe by avoiding contact with hot surfaces or cutting directly on them. Reseal your stone countertops often and they can last a lifetime.

Appliances:

The appliances in your home are some of the easiest things to fix and some of the more inexpensive to replace. While some people replace appliances as newer technology emerges, it’s most cost-effective to use them for the duration of their lifespan.

Microwave: 9 Years

A microwave can last a long time if properly cared for. Usually, they last anywhere from 5–15 years and sometimes even longer depending on usage. When using your microwave, clean it often and avoid slamming the door. Never run your microwave without something inside, as it can cause serious damage.

Dishwasher: 10 Years

Depending on the make and model, a dishwasher can last anywhere from 7–12 years. If you start to notice your dishwasher isn’t washing well, give it a good cleaning before giving up on it.
To properly clean it, unscrew the drain and clean the filter monthly to prevent clogging. Once the filter is clean, empty the dishwasher completely (racks and all) and running it with a cup of distilled white vinegar inside it.

Washing Machine: 12

The average washing machine lasts between 10–15 years depending on the brand and how well it’s maintained.
To stretch its usable years further, check your washing machines water hoses for signs of wear or weakness a few times each year.

Dryer: 12 Years

Similar to your washing machine, your dryer should last anywhere from 10–15 years. If you buy them together, they likely will be ready to replace around the same time. If you notice it’s making strange noises or emitting strange smells, it might be nearing the end of its life.
A good maintenance best practice is to clean your lint trap before every drying session.

Oven: 14 Years

Ovens these days will last anywhere from 10–20 years. Don’t wait until you start ruining meals to replace your oven.

To ensure it’s running properly, inspect coil burners for deformities and replace any damaged ones.

Miscellaneous:

There are other household items that may not necessarily be fixtures or appliances but are important and should be maintained nonetheless. Things like your mattress and sprinkler system are more obvious because you use them often. However, smaller things like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and electrical wiring can cause damage if not properly maintained, so it’s important to keep your eye on them.

Mattress: 8 Years

Your mattress is typically used more than most other things in your house and can collect dirt, dust and grime. It’s important to get a new mattress if yours starts to look or smell dirty, or if it’s losing its firmness.

Most people get a new mattress every 7–10 years which is a good rule to follow. Make your mattress last longer by rotating it 180 degrees from head to foot every two to six months.

Smoke alarms: 9 Years

Three out of five home-related fire deaths occur in a house that has malfunctioning smoke detectors. It’s important to not only replace batteries every year but to replace the detectors and alarms every 8–10 years.

Fire extinguisher: 10 Years

It can be tough to tell how old your fire extinguisher is if you didn’t buy it yourself as some don’t have expiration or purchase dates on them.

A good way to tell if it’s working properly is to check its pressure gauge monthly to ensure the needle is in the green area of the pressure scale. If it’s damaged, has low pressure or you think it might be older than 10 years, it’s probably best to replace it.

Sprinkler System: 20 Years

If you’re lucky enough to have a good quality sprinkler system it can last you anywhere from 10–30 years! Take good care of it to ensure you’re on the high end of that scale. Get your backflow checked annually and drain the system of water during the winter if you’re in an area that freezes.

Electrical Wiring: 100+ Years

Old wiring can cause serious safety issues for you and your family. The good news is that wiring systems can last a lifetime if properly maintained. Buy an electric socket tester and routinely test your electrical outlets’ voltage.

If you start to notice low voltage, get a tingling sensation when you touch the walls, smell burning anywhere in your home or have ungrounded outlets around your house it might be time to replace it.

In general, as long as you properly maintain your appliances, fixtures and household items you should get fairly long lives out of most of them. If you also save the recommended 1% of your home’s value every year for repairs you won’t be blindsided when a costly repair does need your attention. Use this list to anticipate your product’s lifespans and enjoy stress-free home repairs.