Home Maintenance To-Do's for January

There is one general rule on home upkeep that can save you thousands of dollars each year: home maintenance is ALWAYS cheaper than home repair. Here is a list of home maintenance tasks you have to do this January (in spite of the bitter cold and the draining holidays that just recently ended, we know!) IF you don't want to end up spending more on your home:

1. Clean up after the holidays

The days of endless parties are over, and it's time to clean up. Starting with your Christmas decor, remove your holiday lights and wrap them around a rod or hanger to keep them from tangling. Strip your tree of all the decor and bring it out to your compost pile (for Austin residents, you have this option, too!).

You also have to clean up the kitchen from top to bottom, and conclude with setting the oven to self-clean, then wiping the inside with a baking soda-vinegar drenched cloth to rid it of the holiday smell (that might smell good now, but not-so-good later if you let it linger!).

TIP: If you don't have the time or energy, consider hiring a cleaning crew who can do the job in a day, ranging from $200 to $300 per service. Its best to get referrals from friends who entrust their homes to these professionals.

2. Keep pipes from freezing (and bursting!)

Exposed pipes are bound to freeze as temperatures drop. And a frozen pipe left alone has dire consequences. If you don't want your cozy, home winter wonderland to turn into a freezing water park, wrap some heat tape around the exposed pipes and control the temperature to keep them from freezing. Don't forget to shut off water valves and open spigots to drain existing water if you are planning on leaving home for a few days.

TIP: Too late and the pipes have frozen? Use a hair drier or heating pad to help thaw them down and wrap with thermal tape as directed. If a pipe bursts, shut off the main water valve and call the plumber (who usually charges $45-$150/hour, which is why it's better to maintain than repair!).

3. Inspect your home for possible storm damage

Wind, snow, and ice can cause damage to your home's roof, siding, gutters and yard. While conditions allow it (don't wait for a snowstorm to do this!), check out your roof's shingles, gutters, siding and yard and replace faulty materials as necessary.

TIP: DONT climb a ladder to inspect your roof-- you might do more harm than good and get yourself injured. Instead, use binoculars or a drone to get a closer view without causing additional load on a potentially-damaged roof.

4. Do the DEEP CLEAN

There are some places at home that people don't see but are filthy all the same. Now's the right time to get that once-a-year deep clean done. Most common areas that are neglected by regular cleaning are range hood and grilles, refrigerator coils, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and HVAC vents. 

TIP: Professional cleaning can be an option for these babies, if you are not up to the task. However, for lighter tasks, your dishwasher and microwave can come in handy for some washing and disinfecting work!

5. Declutter

The start of the year is a perfect time to let go of your unnecessary clutter and baggage, both figuratively and literally! A general rule of thumb is that, if something hasn't been touched in a year, is unused, and you have no inclination to use it in the near future, it's best donated, recycled, or even disposed of through a garage sale.

TIP: Make this task easier by subdividing sections of your home and taking care of each one every day (or even every weekend, if you're "busy"). If you're hesitant of letting things go, think of all the new stuff you could buy and store after freeing up all the space (remember though, that you'll have to do this in January 2018 AGAIN if you're just buying things on impulse).

Need more home maintenance tips? Realtor.com® has more of these useful tips for you! Access the original article from which this post was based by clicking here:

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