Spring Cleaning

3 Simple Ways to Make Sure You’re on Top of Your Home Maintenance and Safety Routine

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

With Spring Cleaning for Your Mood, we’re helping you get your housekeeping done no matter what state of mind you’re in. For 20 weekdays in April, we’ll focus on cleaning a new area of your space, with three different ways to get it done—so it’s easy to stay on track even when you’re busy, tired, or away from home. Sign up with your email now and enjoy a better space by the end of the month.

I spend a lot of time talking to people about cleaning, and everyone seems to have some chore that they actually, secretly enjoy doing. It might be laundry or dishes or ironing or even cleaning the bathroom (all answers I have heard firsthand!), but literally nobody enjoys doing boring home maintenance.

But… it’s gotta get done. So let’s do it.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Day 17 Assignment: Safety & Maintenance

Today we’re talking about air filters, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and all of those other things that need updating or inspecting a few times a year. They often get lumped into spring cleaning naturally, and revisited again sometime in the fall. Many people handle this stuff when the clocks change for daylight saving time; if that’s you, you might get a little break today.

So what are you in the mood for today?

A Satisfying Deep Dive: Test, inspect, change, and update.

The deep dive to-do list is to do all the things:

  • Go around and test every smoke detector in your home, and make sure they’re free of dust. If when you press and hold the “test” button you hear a weak or nonexistent siren, it’s time to replace the batteries.
  • Inspect the fire extinguisher for physical damage, corrosion, or leakage, and to make sure the needle in the pressure gauge remains in the green area. Every home should have a fire extinguisher, and ideally at least one on every floor. You want to keep yours near, but around 30 feet away from, potential likely sources of fire, such as the stove or laundry machines.
  • Change the air filter. You should probably be changing yours roughly once every two months (more or less, depending on if you have pets or allergies). But if it’s been a minute, why not handle it now?
  • Schedule whatever appointments you need for pest control, HVAC inspection, or any other services you’d like to have a pro handle.

A Quick Win: Re-order something you need.

If you can’t quite get to all your maintenance today, one way to achieve a quick win is to set yourself up with all the necessary supplies. Pick up the batteries for your smoke detector, add a new air filter to your online cart, and make sure you have the right amount of fire extinguishers for your space. Make the order and commit to doing the updates as soon as you can after they arrive.

A Mindful Reset: Add home maintenance to your calendar.

When you have a moment today, think about what kind of routine maintenance your home needs on a regular basis, then begin to add reminders to the calendar for the year ahead. If you use a digital calendar, you can set recurring appointments for everything, or jot these things down on your paper calendar or diary instead. If you’re not sure about how often these things need to be done, the answers are a quick search away, but here’s a small cheat sheet for some common maintenance projects:

  • Test smoke detectors: Once a month.
  • Change smoke detector batteries: At least once or twice a year.
  • Change air filters: At least every 90 days, or 60 days if you have a pet, or every month if you have multiple pets or allergies.
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher: Once a month.

Visit the Spring Cleaning for Your Mood page to check out all the assignments so far. Download the PDF calendar so you always know what’s coming. And sign up with your email so you’re always on track: