January Home Maintenance

Last week, we focused on creating a home maintenance calendar to ensure that you keep your home in tip-top shape all year round. Now that you have your calendar started (and presuming you’re going to be way too busy over the holidays to get much maintenance done), let’s take a look at some key tasks to jot down for January.

The Interior Walk-Around
Start off the new year right by giving your home a good once-over. Carry a Phillips and a flat-head screwdriver with you, as well as a notepad and a can of WD-40. Pick a corner of the house to start with and go through each room checking for and tightening loosehome maintenance electrical outlet covers, light switch faceplates, door handles, and cabinet pulls. Look for scuffs, dings, and loose or missing hardware on your furniture. Test the GFCI outlets by pressing the “test” button (this should cause the “reset” button to eject) and make note of any that don’t test properly.

As you exit each room, oil the hinges on the doors if they need it. Jot down necessary repairs as you go, making note of things like cracked grout, nail pops, paint dings, loose banisters or newel posts, creaky stairs, dripping faucets, peeling vinyl, loose tiles, and dried caulk. When you’re done, you can make a list of all the necessary supplies and pick them all up in one trip to the home improvement supply store.

Have a two-story home? Take the time to ensure that your fire ladder (every two-story home should have one of these over-the-sill devices for safe exit in case the stairway becomes blocked by a fire) is accessible and hasn’t become buried in a closet. Check that there is no furniture blocking the window to be used as a fire escape route, and look out the window to make sure nothing will block your exit.

Heading Outside
Once you’re done inside, head out to your yard and take a walk around your property. Of course, if you live in a snow-prone area, there isn’t that much home maintenance you’ll want to tackle in January. But it’s still a good idea to walk around and check things over. Lubricate locks as you circle the house, and check that your window screens are firmly in place and free of damage. Test your outside lights, and look for burned out bulbs. Walk along any footpaths and check for cracked concrete or other tripping hazards. Check the caulking around your windows, and make sure all exterior pipes are still properly covered.

Clean your gutters or make an appointment to have it done. Look for icicles, as these are signs of clogged, frozen gutters, which can cause serious damage. If you’re composting the fall’s leaves, turn your compost bin if necessary. Look for any weakened, damaged, or fallen tree branches that need removal, and make sure all plants that need to be trimmed back have been tended to.

Now What?
Once you’ve done your start-of-the-year walk-around, compile your project list along with a supply list and head out to your favorite home improvement warehouse or local hardware store. As you cross off your projects over the next few weeks, remember to make notes in your home maintenance calendar. Record the maintenance you performed and then flip forward to write reminders in the calendar so you can follow up later in the year as needed.

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