The dog days of summer have officially arrived, and it’s too hot to do much outside, so we’ll focus on prepping indoor areas for the start of school. If changing schedules are making your life hurried, don’t despair about doing it all. Just pick the list items with five owls to ensure you’re completing the most vital tasks for now, and you’ll still be ahead of the class.
Pro tip: go easy on yourself by putting a bowl of water in the microwave and warming it for about a minute. The steam will make it easier to scrub off all those caked-on leftovers.
Deep Clean Stovetop and Oven
Remove guards and burner covers to give them a good scrub and polish to make your stovetop shine. Choose a cool day to use the self-clean setting on your oven before things heat up.
Clean Garbage Disposal
If you’re standing near the sink and wondering what that smell is, your disposal is the culprit. Ensure the disposal is safely disconnected and then eliminate all that food waste with a good scrub and disinfectant.
Bedrooms and Living Areas
Create a Child Safety Kit
Keep an up-to-date description and important information about your child handy in case of an incident. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has in-depth guidelines about what police recommend including in your child safety kit.
Deep Clean Carpets
Shifting furniture to cover that spot that just won’t come out is a rookie move. Rent or use your own steam cleaner to shampoo carpets before cooler weather hits.
When school starts, your entryway will become ground zero for backpacks, coats, and all manner of mess. Start the season off organized and cut down on the inevitable chaos of back-to-school schedules.
Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Bulbs
If you haven’t upgraded your lightbulbs to new, energy-saving compact fluorescents, there’s no time like the present. These bulbs also last longer, so less work for you means this is a win-win.
Tighten and Lubricate Door Hinges
Squeaking isn’t necessarily a problem, but it sure is obnoxious. Fixing that annoyance is as simple as a little grease and a turn of the screw.
Inspect Basement and Crawl Spaces for Moisture
You might not have been down here since you stowed away your holiday decorations, so it’s time to revisit crawl spaces and your basement. Suspicious moisture could indicate leaking pipes or water damage that’ll undermine your foundation.
Test and Reset Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in Outlets and Check Cords
Confused? Don’t be. These are the little buttons on your outlets that allow you to reset the connection. Make sure they’re working and check for any loose cords on electronics that could be potential fire hazards.
Remove Water Heater Residue
Twice a year, check your water heater for residue. If you notice sediment buildup, you can drain the tank and flush it per the instructions in this video tutorial.
Remove and Clean Shower Heads
Drip, drip, drip. Your shower heads are constantly handling spotting and sediment from water, so give them a good soak in a vinegar bath to remove hard water stains and gunk. Removing showerheads is usually as simple as turning a few screws, but consult the fixture manufacturer’s website for details if you get stuck.
Test and Change Detector Batteries
These important safety devices don’t do much if they aren’t charged and connected, so test both your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Stock up on those AAs and get it done. Earplugs required.
Maintain Yard Growth
This sounds easy, but come August, keeping your lawn green will be a serious challenge. Adjust sprinklers and system times to ensure your lawn’s brown spots are kept to a minimum. Depending on where you live, a dry lawn can be a danger during wildfire season.
Mend Cracks and Gaps in Driveways and Walkways
If you didn’t get to it last month, this is your last chance to fix some of these gaps before the cold weather drives a wedge in things.
Get all your tasks taken care of before the summer is gone by scheduling a task per day on your calendar. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to fall in love with another season in your well-maintained home.
Written by Kaz Weida
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more