A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it,
and keep it in repair, the rest of his days. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
As the season warms up, I love sitting in the garden for lunch. I watch the different birds in the garden and noticed how the Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus) eagerly built nest after nest, carefully weaving the fresh green palm strands and when his work is complete and a picky female decides that it is good enough she moves in, padding the nest with feathers and soft tufts of grass. If she doesn’t accept the nest he rips it apart and eagerly starts all over again. Once the little fledglings have left, the old nest is shredded and a new one takes its place.
It is amazing to observe how much pride this little guy has in his home. If we would display half such pride in our homes and possessions we would have beautiful homes everywhere and not see houses that are crying out in disrepair with possessions cluttering precious space.
Our homes are our biggest investment and a regular maintenance schedule will keep your home looking good all the time and prevent costly repairs caused by neglect. Everything that forms part of the house, fills its spaces and that which makes it a home, shouts out for attention and makes us feel totally overwhelmed.
Focus on the benefits of good home maintenance
- Feeling revitalized and being in control over your environment
- Enjoying and being proud of your living environment and in your possessions
- Regaining focus and improving your quality of life
- A safer and healthier home
- More time for the things that really matter, you family, friends and social life
- Reduced stress
So what is maintenance?
According to the Encarta Dictionary, it is: ”work that is done regularly to keep a machine, building, or piece of equipment in good condition and working order”.
Many of us think of maintenance as cleaning, fixing and painting; but that is only part of it. Do a walk about, list everything that needs to be done in each area of your property and list the shortcomings.
Start with the exterior.
Check everything from the top down, roof, flashing, gutters and downpipes. Walls, doors and window frames, caulking, trim, weather stripping and hardware.
In the garden, look at the layout, should it be changed or are you still happy with it. Should plants or shrubs be moved? Is the irrigation system still functional or are there leaks? Toss hoses that are leaking and sprinklers you haven’t used. Check tools and equipment. Maintain play equipment, declutter and clean Wendy houses and sheds. Fix driveways and paving. Oh no, that makes me think … I still need to seal the new paving!
At the Pool and on the Patio. Check the pool for leaks. Is the pump and filter still in working order? Clean, repair or paint patio furniture. Does the canvas on the umbrella, already bleached and burnt by the sun, need replacing? Get the barbeque ready for all those braais in the summer months?
The Garage is the biggest headache. Work through paints, solvents and materials. Sort, declutter and toss. Clean the area and put the tools where they belong. Check, clean and fix electrical tools. Decide whether to keep or repair any sport equipment and cycles that is no longer used.
The Interior is the one place that is maintained most of the time. Look at the ceilings cornices, walls, skirting and build-ins. Clean or paint as necessary. Decide whether the furniture, curtains, appliances and decor items are still what you want and love. Declutter and give away that which no longer depicts who you are in the here and now! Check appliances, electricity, plumbing and security. Test your security system continually. Clean, replace or repair tiles and grouting. Clean flooring and carpeting. Don’t forget to check and clean the chandelier and lamps!
Check and clean fire extinguishers, air conditioners, fans and gas heaters. Have chimneys swept and cleaned.
If you keep postponing projects, it might be a sign that you do not really feel up to it. Hire a professional to get it done, rather than putting it off for another season or a year or two. It will give you peace of mind to know that it is taken care of. I for instance like having my carpets professionally cleaned, it leaves the whole home look and smell fresh and new.
It is not only important to do the physical maintenance but effective home maintenance record keeping is essential. Keep track of when maintenance was done, who did it and what products were used, it makes it’s so much easier to look at a record than to try and remember when things where last done. I keep a record of colours of paint used in the different areas of the house, which makes it easier if you need to do touch-ups and match colours.
Click here for a Home Maintenance Checklist to get you started. It helps to keep all documents related to maintenance in your warranty files. Remember to keep your invoices attached to your owner or instruction manual in your filing cabinet where you can easily retrieve it, should you have to contact a supplier for warranty or replacement purposes. Remember also to keep documents related to large home improvements. This might help when having to deal with capital gains tax.
Keep your garden and home well maintained and enjoy the serenity and peace that comes with it.
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