Congratulations on your new house! It feels so adult to finally be living in your own house. But with your own home comes a number of new responsibilities. Once you’ve completed the daunting process of moving, unpacking, and setting up all of your utilities and Internet, there are still some things all homeowners should regularly be doing. Here are five things you need to do every month in your new house.
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1. Check Your Air Filters
The air filter isn’t something you think about all of the time. However, if you want your air to stay clean and allergen free in your new house, checking and regularly changing your air filters are a must. Also, regularly changing your air filters will ensure that your heating and cooling system runs efficiently. This will save energy and your money in the long run.
Now, your filter doesn’t necessarily need to be changed once a month. Most filters last several months. However, if you’re using your A/C or heating particularly often one season, they may need changing more frequently. The simplest rule of thumb is that you should change your filter when it looks dirty. I know, unhelpful. But that’s why it’s important to check them once a month. That way when it does look like it’s time to change it, you can do so. And when it comes time to buy a new filter, check out sites like Groupon or Ebates, which can have deals on air filters.
2. Cut the Grass
If your new house has a lawn, cutting the grass regularly is a must. And honestly, it probably needs to be done more than once a month. If it’s a large lawn and you live in an area that gets frequent rain, once a week is more like it. Yes, I know it’s a pain. But think of it this way: it’s a good workout, and it’s a good excuse to get you outdoors. If you’re cooped up all day every day in an office job, you need something like cutting the grass to get you out and about.
And beware; depending on where you live, how often you cut the grass can become a sticky issue. In my neighborhood growing up, neighbors were very particular about how tall other people’s grass was getting. It may seem nosy, but it does make the neighborhood look worse if some people don’t keep up their yard. So just avoid all of the neighborhood drama and plan to regularly cut your grass. Besides, won’t it be nice to come home to a nice lawn every day?
3. Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator
It is so easy to let your fridge become disgusting. You leave in leftovers you forget about, a bottle starts leaking, and you can’t deal with it right now, life happens. That’s why once a month you should make sure to clean and organize your refrigerator before it gets too gross. You want to start your new house on the right foot, after all. And trust me, nothing is worse than having to throw out something that’s over a year old. Or placing a jar on something that’s mysteriously sticky.
Take an hour each month to sit down and throw away anything that’s expired. Once you’ve done that, clear everything off of the shelves and wipe down all of the surfaces. Even if you haven’t spilled anything, it’s still good to keep your fridge clean and germ-free. You are placing food in it after all. Then, once you put your food back in it, try and make it organized. Put vegetables in one drawer and fruit in another. Place bottles in the door. The more you can keep similar foods together, the easier it will be to find something on a night when you just can’t take one more thing.
4. Inspect Your Drains
You never want to let your drains get too clogged in your new house. Trust me; it can be a huge hassle to have to have someone come by and unclog them. That’s why you should inspect them each month to keep them from getting too bad. If anything is draining slowly, your first step is to try to get whatever’s clogging it out, if possible. You can try using a pipe cleaner to push debris through the plughole. Your next step is to pour down a cup of baking soda, followed by hot water. You can also use a plunger, or a wire coat hanger bent into a hook to try to get out the clog.
Hopefully, by checking your drains once a month, however, you should be able to keep them from getting too bad. You can also practice some preventative measures, like not washing your hair down the drain and cleaning out kitchen debris regularly (if you don’t have a garbage disposal).
5. Review Your Finances
Finally, it’s essential to go back and review your finances each month. Buying a new house is a big decision. You probably have monthly mortgage payments you have to keep up on now. Plus, all of your other monthly expenses, from groceries to student loans to credit card bills to utilities and Internet.
Each month, take an hour to check to make sure all of your bills are paid and assess whether you’ve stayed on budget. (If you don’t have a budget, check out this article for tips on how to create one!) If you haven’t stayed on budget, figure out why. Do you need to work on cutting your spending next month or was it due to an unforeseen circumstance, such as a car repair? Make sure that you’re saving a little each month as well so that you can pay for any unforeseen maintenance emergencies. (Or other emergencies!) By taking a little time to review your finances each month, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the next month and stay within your financial means.
Buying a new house is a big decision, and with it comes lots of new responsibilities. By keeping up these five monthly tasks, however, you’ll be well on your way to having a great home. Enjoy the new house!