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    Home Maintenance Calendar

    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 home.

    • 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.