Household chores can be challenging to keep up with. In addition to everyday tasks like cleaning the dishes and wiping the counter clean, there are larger maintenance chores, like cleaning the inside of the oven and decluttering the closets, that often fall by the wayside. While the most tempting response is to say that you’ll “get to it tomorrow,” the longer you wait to do these household tasks, the more they will pile up and become unmanageable. Here are a few tips to help you tackle the dreaded household tasks you’ve been putting off.
Organizing Your Closet
It's easy to pile your laundry on the floor or shove those shirts you never wear to the back of the closet, but everyone needs a good closet cleanout now and then. To tackle this seemingly daunting task, ensure you have a clear space to work and take everything out of your closet. Then, separate similar items into piles, such as t-shirts, jeans, and sweaters. (If you want to take this further, separate those categories by color.) Make sure to also make piles for anything you want to donate or throw out. Once you have your piles, hang everything back in the closet in an orderly fashion or place them into drawers and other organizational bins. To keep this task from becoming unmanageble, try to clean out your closet after every season at minimum, in order to prep your space for the changing weather ahead.
Replacing Bathroom Caulk
On average, caulk should be replaced every five years, especially in moist environments like the bathroom, where mold can quickly build up. Replacing caulk is surprisingly easy with the right tools. To remove the old caulk, apply a chemical remover to soften it and then scrape it out with a sharp tool. Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and let dry. Then, apply new caulking with a caulk gun and wipe away the excess. (Tip: Outline the areas with painter’s or masking tape to create straight lines.) Let the caulk dry for 24 hours before using your tub, sink, or shower.
Cleaning Your Oven
There are several benefits to cleaning the inside of your oven, such as a decreased fire risk, improving the appliance’s performance, and keeping your food tasting fresh. To start, check if your oven is self-cleaning. If it doesn’t have that feature, you can deep-clean your oven with a paste made from vinegar and baking soda. After letting this concoction sit for a few hours, use a sponge to wipe away debris. Most oven manufacturers recommend doing this around every three months, depending on how often you use it.
Removing Water Stains
Before covering water spots on your ceiling with a fresh coat of paint, it’s essential to make sure there isn’t an underlying problem, such as a leaky pipe, a faulty bathroom fixture, or a ceiling leak. You'll also want to ensure the water is fully dried and check the space for mold. Once you’ve fixed the issue, wipe the stains with bleach to clean and lighten them before applying primer and painting.
Replacing Weather Stripping
Weather stripping is one of the most valuable tools for reducing energy costs, but it can wear down over time. If you notice windy drafts under doorways or unusually high energy bills, that may be a sign to replace the weather stripping. After tightening the hinges, measure the door jambs to know how much stripping to use. Clean the area thoroughly with soapy water and install the weather stripping to seal cracks.
Changing the Oil in Your Car
Oil changes make a huge difference in the quality of a vehicle. Neglecting to change your car’s oil can cause your car to overheat or cause serious damage to parts of the engine block. Make sure to replace your car’s oil — either by doing it yourself or going to a service station — every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first.
Cleaning Behind Large Appliances
Food crumbs and other waste can fall into the cracks behind large appliances, leading to unpleasant odors, mold, and pests. Every three months, unplug and move your appliances so that you can reach behind them. Using a mop and fiber cloth, sweep and wipe up thoroughly before carefully returning the appliance to its original spot.
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