Blog Archives

Printable Household Planner Keeps Your Home Running Smoothly [Printables]

With busy lives, it’s easy to let chores around the house slip through the cracks. Corral the details into this customized planner to help you track everything from daily chores to when you need to change the furnace filter.

Organization guru Donna Young created dozens of planner template pages in two sizes that let you create a household planner system that works for you. All the templates are free to download as PDF files that can be opened with any standard PDF reader.

Planner categories are broken down by calendar style and use. For instance, you might want to grab a two-page block calendar to keep track of monthly chores, and then skip over to the Kitchen category to snag a shopping list or weekly menu. Also be sure to check out the yearly housework reminder sheet, project planning pages, and the chore chart that’s good for adults or kids (why let them off the hook?).

Once you decide what size you want your planner to be—full- or half-size— just print them out and pop them in a binder. You can use the forms just as they are, or convert them to DOC format for further editing. Most of the templates are blank so you'll need to fill in the blanks yourself. If you need some ideas for what needs to get done around the house on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, we’ve got you covered.

How Can I Remember Annual Maintenance Chores Around the House? [Ask Lifehacker]

Dear Lifehacker,
How do I know what maintenance chores I need to do around my house each month, and how can I remember to actually do them?

Curious Homeowner

Dear Curious,

Great question! You’re smart to stay on top of maintenance around your home. It helps you catch issues before before they become huge or costly repair problems, and keeps your home and appliances running smoothly.

A great resource for figuring out what needs to be done regularly around the house is the home maintenance and repair site Demesne. It’s packed with checklists broken down by month. Here’s some of the chores Demesne recommends you tackle in January, for example:

* Wander the house with a screwdriver and make a list of minor household repairs that can be done in a weekend. Tighten screws on drawers, doors, and furniture. Make a list of broken electrical face plates, missing pulls or knobs, locks that need lubrication, and spots that need caulking around sinks and tubs. Go to the home improvement store and buy everything you need to make all of your little repairs at once.

* Call the utility company to do an energy audit. By now you'll have received your first big winter heating bill, and unless you live in Phoenix, you may be motivated to see how you can improve your home's energy efficiency. While you're at it, ask the utility if they can also test for radon gas—especially important if you don't know if it's ever been done.

Each checklist also reminds you to watch for seasonal sales—in this case, post-holiday specials on Christmas trees and wrapping paper. It also make monthly suggestions for kits you might want to put together, like a first-aid box or an emergency winter survival kit for your car.

Once you’ve figured out what needs to be done around the house each month, head over and grab a free account from home management web site Homespot. After providing a little info on what type of home you have, Homespot generates a maintenance list of things that you need to attend to, like replacing HVAC filters and draining your hot water heater. The list also helps you prepare for big maintenance projects by providing space to add a shopping list, details on how to make repairs, and more.

Homespot’s maintenance list feature comes pre-populated with the most common household chores, but you’re free to add your own as well. It would be great if Homespot had options to email task lists or connect to users’ calendars but, since those aren’t options right now, you’ll need to remember to check the web site to figure out what you need to do when.

These are only two ideas that tackle your question, Curious, but there’s undoubtedly many more ways to skin this particular cat. We’d love to hear how other readers keep track of household maintenance chores. Share your ideas in the comments.


DIY Home Health Checklist Helps You Fix Problems Before They Blow Up [Household]

There’s nothing worse than waking up to a basement filled with water or some other home catastrophe, especially when it could’ve been prevented. Cure most ailments before they start with a DIY home health checklist.

Photo by Sébastien Barillot.

Small problems don’t always stay small for long, and little fixes can keep things in their best condition. We’ve previously mentioned a list of winterizing musts you should have checked out by a professional, but weblog This Old House offers another take on the things you should look for and address before they become more of a hassle. Even the small, less obvious things matter:

Sometimes you only discover structural issues by looking inside the house. Sagging floors, walls, and ceilings are obvious clues to leaks and rot. But seemingly innocuous problems, like peeling paint, sticking doors, loose floorboards, and popped drywall screws can also be signs of trouble.

Check out the post’s full five-step plan to help you get a handle on the things that may cause extra damage in time, and while you’re at it, check out their detailed home inspection list for specifics on where to look. Have you had a small problem end up draining your pocketbook when left unattended? Share your experience in the comments.

Fall Inspection Guide [This Old House]

Make a Mini-Snake for Your Bathroom Drain [DIY]

Most of the clogs in your bathroom sink or bathtub don’t require the mess of a full length plumbing snake and if you’re an apartment dweller you’re certainly not going to give up precious space to store one.

Photo by mobilestreetlife.

What you need is a mini-snake, easily stored under the sink and handy for those annoying hair clogs. At the home-improvement site they share a handy trick for always making sure you’ve got a snake close at hand. You’ll need to stop by the hardware store and get a few feet of 1/8″ stainless-steel cable and you’ll need a pair of needle-noise pliers:

Step 1: Simply bend several individual wires (not strands) out in different directions from the center of the cable so that when rotated, the strands will snag hair in the clogged drain.

Step 2: Fish cable as you would a drain snake, twisting as you push gently to advance into and around elbows, etc.

Step 3: When you feel the clog, just twist the cable until you feel some resistance and withdraw slowly to extract hair.

Step 4: Repeat until the big wad comes out, maybe two or three times.

The DIY solution is much more effective than trying to reach a mat of hair with needle-nose pliers and much easier to store under the sink than an actual plumbing snake. If you have your own handy DIY home-plumbing solutions, let’s hear about them in the comments below.

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