You’ve written your New Year’s resolutions and made plans for 2010. But have you taken the time to calendar your household chores? It may not sound as exciting as a summer getaway in Palawan, but mapping out a home maintenance plan for the whole year is a critical task to tackle early on. Dr. Eleanor Malicdem, associate professor in the College of Home Economics in the University of the Philippines Diliman and an expert in household resource management, says it’s important “to determine assigned household tasks to family members… [and help you] complete the chores necessary, so you can also schedule other activities.”
To help you plan your monthly tasks, here’s a schedule you can use as a guide:
Take down the Christmas tree and other décor and put them back in storage.
Remove all lights and ornaments from your Christmas tree. Sort out ornaments by kind—all Christmas balls in one box, all figurine-like tree ornaments, all ribbons, and so on. Put Christmas lights back in their boxes as close to their original packaged state as possible so the bulbs won’t break and the cords won’t get entangled.
Check if the areas you tidied up during your year-end cleaning frenzy are still well-maintained.
Dr. Malicdem says December is a good time to have a general cleaning in your house—with the holidays and New Year approaching, most homeowners feel inspired to greet the coming year with a clean abode, in addition to the need to have the house ready for various Christmas parties. Come January, after all the gatherings you hosted for the holidays, see to it that each area of your house is still in its clean pre-holiday state.
Clean up your kitchen.
Since it’s still cold in February, Malicdem says you have to check your pipes, pans, utensils, and other kitchen equipment for molds, which build up when an area has been exposed to moisture for a long period of time. Creative Homemaking suggests spraying some vinegar on the surface with molds, leaving it for 10 minutes, then rinsing with a detergent and bleach solution.
Organize your pantry.
Arrange the items on your pantry shelf according to their weights. The heavier ones should occupy the lower shelves while light, seldom used items should be placed on top. Put frequently used items at eye level. Check out Real Simple for more pantry organizing tips.
Check the wires of audio-visual equipment and appliances like your television.
“Because of the heat, some of our big equipment [might have trouble with their wires],” says Malicdem. To prevent electrical malfunction, have your appliances checked and damaged wires repaired by your trusted electrician. Don’t know one? Check out Constructionph.com Builders’ Directory for service centers near you. Since March is fire prevention month, it’s a perfect time to make sure your house doesn’t get burned down because of faulty electrical wiring.
Water the plants more.
Because of the summer heat, your plants need to be watered more. Online gardening magazine Weekend Gardener suggests watering the plants everyday if the soil regularly dries out by the evenings, especially during the summer months. Otherwise, water your plants only as needed, because they will rot if they sit on too-wet soil.
Watch out for insects and pests that may enter your house.
Dr. Malicdem says roaches and rats enter one’s house when the environment is not so clean. “See to it that there are no empty bottles [and jars lying around],” she says. “Wash them before [disposing of them].”
Do your maintenance and repair jobs.
There’s no better time to this than during the dry season. Check the roof, house gutters, and ceilings for holes that can cause leaks and other damage during the rainy season. “Hire a carpenter especially if your house is vintage,” Dr. Malicdem suggests. Summer is also the best time to repaint your house, as well as accomplish your carpentry and plumbing tasks.
Since it’s the month of flowers, why not try your hand at flower arranging? FloralCraftResource.com is filled with flower arranging basics and ideas, so beginners need not worry. Place your creation on your living room coffee table or dining table—it will make for a centerpiece which can uplift the residents’ moods.
Double-check your house for unaccomplished maintenance and repair jobs.
This is your last chance. In a couple of days, rain may start pouring. Make sure your roofs and ceilings are already leak-proof and your house gutters clog-free. You don’t want to spend rainy days indoors listening to the sound of rainwater dripping into empty pails.
Preserve your floor.
Rainy days trigger the accumulation of molds, so pay extra attention to your floor, which can get extra moist. “If your floor is [made of] ceramic tiles, take good care of it,” Dr. Malicdem says. Ceramic tiles do not absorb much water so they’re great for the rainy season. Placing a shoe rack in your porch or foyer can save your floor from mud and moisture, not to mention unwanted shoe prints.
Clean up your cabinets.
Since the kitchen is the busiest part of the house, it’s best to start there. When cleaning your kitchen cabinets, Real Simple suggests emptying them first before vacuuming the interiors. Then, wipe with a damp cloth soaked in dishwashing liquid. Dry with a fresh cloth. When you’re done with the kitchen cabinets, proceed to the other cabinets in your house.
Watch out for molds that may form on your wooden furniture.
As it’s still rainy season in August, air inside your house may be moist and molds may form on your wood furniture. Prevent this by applying waterproof coating to your wooden pieces (click here for a list of waterproofing service centers). Check out this link for more tips on how to prevent molds.
Prepare a budget and the supplies needed for general cleaning.
When the -ber months strike, you know Christmas is near, and so is the time for your general cleaning. Dr. Malicdem says you need to prepare for repair and maintenance expenses that you might encounter, like repurposing furniture. If you plan to install new curtains or carpets, you can check Shell Canvas’ curtains and interior fabrics. Homeowners who prefer to delegate their dirty work may want to hire someone to clean your house: in this case, you can try service providers like LCS Cleanserving Company.
Check to see if your holiday decorations are in good shape.
Chances are, they still will be, at least if you packed and stored them properly the year before. Check your Christmas lights if all the bulbs are working. Got busted Christmas lights? You can repair them on your own, or call your trusted electrician. If you plan to buy new holiday decorations, make trips to your favorite department stores in the morning when there aren’t too many shoppers yet.
Recycle reusable items and donate those you no longer use.
Got piles of old magazines and newspapers? Bring them to your local junk shop or recycling center and help save the environment. Donate old clothes, toys, and books to charity to help other people. After all, Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s better to give things you no longer use to people who need them.
Do your general cleaning.
Okay, don’t get overwhelmed by the term. General cleaning won’t be exhausting if you do it systematically. When cleaning, Dr. Malicdem suggests starting from the outside going in—from the garden, then the porch, living room, then to the inner parts of the house—because the outer areas are the first things that a guest sees. Don’t know how to start? Real Simple presents a spring cleaning guide to help you systematize, and here’s a list of what you need.
Decorate for the holidays.
Now is the time to put up your Christmas tree, hang your parols, and display the belen. But before putting them up, make sure they’re clean. LifeOrganizers.com gives you a step-by-step guide on how to clean different types of ornaments. To clean your artificial Christmas tree, you can either vacuum it or use soap and water.
Now that you’ve got a calendar of chores, your house is sure to stay clean all year long. Just keep in mind that maintaining the cleanliness and orderliness of the house is a daily, and not a monthly, task. Regular de-cluttering and dusting can help you do that, and keep you from being overwhelmed with so much work come general cleaning time.