Make 2014 a year to remember by conducting regular maintenance of your abode, and turn your residence into a home, sweet home

When it comes to new year resolutions, I’ve always been a proponent of proactive endeavors over giving things up. For example, I might resolve to make dinner at home five times per week rather than saying “I’ll give up going out to eat” so often. Small, measurable acts always work better than general tasks.

Writing things down in my calendar helps me to stay on track. With the beginning of the new year upon us, now is a great time to bust out the planner and set it up for success. While you jot down your tasks for the year, remember to include a checklist for things around the home that need regular maintenance. Get started with these items.


Once a month:

• Clean your garbage disposal. Throw some cut-up lemons down there (no bigger than the usual size of food your disposal can handle) and follow with ice cubes. The ice will help clear food debris and also sharpen your blades. Remember to let the water run from 30 to 60 seconds after you’re done.

• Revisit your fire extinguisher(s). Make sure you can access them easily and that they show no visible wear and tear. Check with your family members or housemates to make sure they know where to find them, too.

Once every three to six months:

• Clean your washer. Run a large, hot and heavy cycle with 1 quart of vinegar and 1 cup baking soda. Leave the top open and let it sit for one hour after it mixes, then allow it to finish. Follow it up with a cold cycle using another quart of vinegar.

• Give the house a deep clean. Get all the household members to pitch in and attack walls, appliances, drawers, cabinets, windows, floor corners, basically every square inch inside and outside the home. If you live near the water, pay special attention to anything that could be damaged from humidity or salty air.

Once a year:

• Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. If you have detectors that are hard-wired, replace the backup batteries.

• Vacuum refrigerator coils. Disconnect your fridge from water lines and power before beginning. Then, use a brush attachment to carefully vacuum dust and debris on the coils.

• Clean your dryer exhaust. You can do this yourself, but remember to unplug any power and gas connections before you begin. If you feel uncomfortable, you may hire a professional to clean it for you.

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