January - Mid Winter Checklist
Holidays are over and you are trying to catch your breath. But,
if you can get started on a plan in place now , you can get a jump
on spring. The following are tips of “things to do” the month
of January. You don’t need to do everything at once – regular
maintenance is the key to a successful, well kept home. Inspect and
maintain your home on a regular basis and keep to good practices
-- it is the best way to protect your investment in your home and
keep headaches to a minimum.
Use the monthly maintenance calendar as a guide to start off your
seasonal maintenance and establish a routine. Over time, you will
establish a routine and schedule that will best suit your needs and
schedule. And, remember, if you don’t feel comfortable performing
some of the home maintenance tasks, or have the necessary equipment,
consider hiring a qualified handy person to help you.
After the work and mania that accompanies the holiday season, January
provides an opportunity to regroup and reorganize. Homeowners want
a place for everything and everything in its place after the cluttered
chaos of the holiday season. Now is the time for fresh starts and
tidying up—it's no coincidence that department stores prominently
display boxes, racks and plastic organizers this time of year. Use
January as an opportunity to fine-tune the inner workings of your
- Organize! When you clear your holiday décor
and pack your presents away, organize your everyday items as
well. Feel like you can't find room for everything after the
excesses of December? TIP: Every time you bring something into
your house, bring an equivalent amount of something out. If you
got clothes for Christmas, comb through your drawers for old
clothes you can give away. Remember: Clutter control goes a long
way towards making every home maintenance task easier.
- De-clutter Christmas stuff. Give away or toss old, broken, or
unused ornaments, decorations, lights, and those very sad ribbons.
Take down, clean, and store ornaments, decorations, and exterior
lights. Recycle or store tree
- De-clutter a closet. Pick just one and just empty it. Sort
things: save, donate or sell, toss. Take the garbage out and set
donations aside the same day. Clean the closet thoroughly.
Organize the stuff that belongs in that closet and put it back.
Maybe it’s time to try your do-it-herself skills and install a
closet organizer!! Replace drawer liners and shelf papers.
- Tighten Up!! Wander the house with a screwdriver and look for
opportunities to tighten things up. Tighten screws on drawers,
doors, and furniture. Make a list of broken electrical face
plates, missing pulls or knobs, locks that need lubrication, and
spots that need caulking around sinks and tubs. Refrigerator
handles, loose drawer pulls, screws that are beginning to work
their way out of light switches, and the screws holding your
tables and chairs together are some of the things to look for. Go
to the home improvement store and buy everything you need to make
all of your little repairs at once. If a screw hole in wood is
stripped, use small wood plugs, glue into the hole, snip or saw
them off flush with the surface when the glue dries, drill a pilot
hole, then drive the screw in—it will bite on the new wood the
wood plug provides. Tip: for smaller holes, you can actually use
wood toothpicks and follow the same process!
- Service Locks. Locks can become a problem
during the winter season. As you're tightening up the screws
holding your locks in place, lubricate the locks as well.
- Energy Audit. Unless you live in the middle of the desert,
you have probably received your first BIG winter heating bill.
Probably not a good thing to receive in the mail!! Call the
utility company to do an energy audit. You may be motivated to see
how you can improve your home´s energy efficiency. While you´re at
it, ask the utility company if they can also test for gas leaks in
your heater, oven and other gas appliances.
- Caulk. Recheck your caulking if you were following the monthly
maintenance. By now, you have probably had rain in your area, so
it’s a good time to double check and make sure you haven’t missed
anything. This is one of those little waterproofing jobs that can
prevent big rot problems. If water has already has already
penetrated, repair any water damage and make sure the area is
completely dry before applying new caulking. Caulking compounds
vary—consider what surface the caulking will be applied to, and
whether it needs to be painted. Then read the manufacturer's
instructions to make sure you've bought the right tube for the job.
- Yet another gutter-checking opportunity. I
don't want to start sounding like a broken record here, but while
you're removing Christmas lights from your home's exterior, use
the opportunity to spot-check things like siding condition and
gutter flow. Pulling a handful of leaves from the downspout now
may save you from having to muck out the whole gutter later on.
I noticed leaves in our gutter even though I had already cleaned
them out. So take the time to recheck.
- Water inspection. Also, with the heavy rains and snow we are
experiencing, look around the inside of the house, closets,
garages, laundry roofs and on the outside your eaves and make sure
there are no water leaks. If you have an attic, take the time to
look inside with a flashlight and see if any water leaks have
formed and take the time to fix. Don’t forget about the crawl
space or basement. Remember that water damage is very, very
costly. It happened to us, and now we are facing an entire room
addition demolition. So, take the time to inspect!!
- De-stick doors. Notice that some of your doors are sticking
this time of year? Open and shut your door carefully to learn
where it's rubbing. If it's sticking on the knob side, a hinge
could be loose. If it's sticking along the top or bottom of the
door, paint buildup might be the cause. Try tightening hinges
or removing paint along the top of the door. If those measures
don't work, warping or settling is likely your culprit. Figure
out where it's rubbing, remove the door from its hinges, and
sand or plane wood from the top of the door or the hinge side
to restore fit. Do this in very small increments—or you'll end
up having to replace the door you whittled down too small.