New Year, new to-do list! Actually, we’re starting to organize and clean up the house after the holidays and I took a good look at everything and realized there are some things we’ve been neglecting to do. You know, things that should get done on a timely basis… but that you always forget about? I created this annual house to-do list if you’re in the same boat as us, so let’s be productive together!
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Change Air Filters
You should change out the air filters on your furnace every few months – but for some reason, I always forget halfway through the year. There are some services that will ship you air filters when you need them, but I’m hoping this will be the year I remember :) (I tried to get Subscribe and Save from Amazon for these, but ended up just getting this pack of filters. Make sure they are the correct size for your furnace).
Replace Light Bulbs
This was the task that we needed to do the most! It seems like everytime a lightbulb would burn out, I’d always think “oh, we’ll replace that soon”. Sooner turned to later and wouldn’t you know it there were almost 10 dead bulbs throughout our house. Oh, and I also discovered that the ceiling light/fan in our dining room had a little string to turn all the bulbs on, and here we went thinking that half of the ballasts didn’t work (yes, for the last 5 years!).
And think about installing LED bulbs so that you don’t have to change them out every year. (We still have a mix of halogens and fluorescents to swap out).
Test Smoke Detectors
I hear this all the time… “don’t forget to test the smoke alarms” but what exactly does it mean? Well, most smoke alarms have a little button that says “test” on it, and all you have to do is press it. WARNING – there will most likely be a loud beep, followed by the alarm actually going off for a few seconds! Don’t do this during naptime :)
(Oh, and check the expiry date on any fire extinguishers you may have too).
Replace Batteries (Locks, Alarms, Thermostat, etc.)
If you did the smoke alarm test and didn’t hear a beep, you probably need to replace the batteries! Usually, when the batteries die, they chirp for a few days to warn you, but sometimes you might miss it if you’re on vacation or away from the house for a while. We recently had to replace a smoke alarm completely because it was old and/or didn’t work when I put a new battery in, so make sure you check the date to see if you have to replace them completely.
Also replace the batteries on any locks you might have (like our new back door lock at the rental home), the thermostat, etc.
Toss Expired Items
Time to look around the house and go through some old items. Even if you think you’re on top of using everything on time, sometimes things expire before you have a chance to use them.
Have any pills or medicine that need to be thrown out? There are most likely some local drop-off locations that you can take advantage of (usually right at the pharmacy). It’s really easy to do this when it’s the New Year, and it’s much better to create an inventory list of things you have to stock up on now, rather than finding out in the middle of the worst cold/flu ever.
Look at expiry dates for sunscreen, lotions or anything else that may be around in the bathroom. It’s also a good idea to go through your supplies once a year and toss things that you hadn’t even used at all. (For example, even though makeup might not have a date written, there’s still some general guidelines you can follow).
Go through the entire pantry (or your cabinets) and discard anything that’s past the due date. Getting close to the expiry? Bring those items to the front and make sure to use them up, or be honest with yourself if you’re never going to use an item and donate it.
We’re pretty good with keeping up with the stuff on the main shelves of our fridge (I don’t buy in excess and rarely, if ever, have to throw anything out). But the door of the fridge (where the condiments are kept) usually starts to get a little out of hand.
Along the same idea, make sure to go through any coupons that you haven’t used!
I do this more often than once a year, but I think I might go through a bit more digital files than the average person. Do this on a schedule that makes sense for you, and regularly clear out anything that you no longer need. Make sure to keep your paper files and anything you need for taxes for a few years, but now’s a good time to organize them all (I just went through an audit, so this is definitely something I always need to tackle!).
When was the last time you took a good look at your closet and clothing drawers? I try to go through stuff as often as possible, but I just got the Husband to do a big purge of his stuff (a huge bag full that he no longer wears!). I donate all clothing that is still in good condition or save some cotton shirts for rags.
Some people may clean more than we do (ha, a lot of people probably!) but I do like to do a big deep clean at least once a year. Things that you don’t do on a regular schedule, like washing curtains, cleaning the windows, washing rugs, scrubbing grout by hand, cleaning ceiling light fixtures, etc.
Book a Service Check for Furnace/AC
I’m going to be honest and say that we haven’t done this… but we only got our AC installed two years ago, so think we’re good for a little bit (I’m assuming they checked the furnace at the same time). You may also need to consider getting your chimneys sweeped
Other Annual House To-Dos
I tried to create a generic list for whatever season/climate or type of house you have, but there may be some items that don’t apply to you (or that you need to do in addition to this list). I know when summer rolls around we have to do a lot more outdoor tasks, things like staining the deck, re-sealing the driveway, prepping the garden, etc.
If you can, plan to do a walk-around of your house and write down any problems or issues that you see. You can do the same thing inside, just make sure to devote some time to actually address the things you wrote down!
Want an easy way to remember everything I’ve included here? Download this PDF printable and go through everything (I’ve even left some space to write down extra items!).
This annual house to-do list should be a great start in getting your home organized and ready for the new year! I included a few links to the printable above, so please download it and fill it out as you go through the tasks. Looking for more? Check out these things to do when you move into a new house, and these tips for getting rid of things if you want help to declutter :)
Can you think of something I’ve forgotten? Leave a comment and let me know!