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Whether you just bought your first house (and spend your weekends ripping up the heinous shag carpeting) or you’ve been living under the same roof for the past 15 years, there are certain things every homeowner should do. Since that list can feel daunting fast, we’ve put together a rundownof just the essentials. Here, 12 things to do to keep your home in check.

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pest control maintenance
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Annually:

Schedule pest control maintenance. This one’s nonnegotiable. Get your house inspected once a year for termites, even if you don’t spot them outright. (There’s a reason termites are called the hidden invader.) We recommend hiring a Certified Sentricon Specialist who can install and service the Sentricon system, a trusted and proven termite baiting system. The system effectively eliminates those pesky colonies and protects your home from future colonies moving into the neighborhood. The cost and headache of termite damage is not something anyone wants to deal with.

Inspect the roof. Thanks to good ole Mother Nature, your roof takes a hefty beating while protecting you and your family from the elements. That’s why it’s critical to inspect for holes and cracks. To check for water damage, look at the walls and ceilings for signs such as moisture marks, brown stains or peeling paint. Also, if you notice missing or damaged shingles, have them replaced immediately.

Check the foundation. This sounds more intense than it really is. All you need to do is walk around the outside of the house and look for overgrown vegetation around the exterior of the foundation. Plus, take notice of any evidence of pests, mold or mildew that might need your attention. What’s more, if windows and doors that once operated smoothly aren’t working anymore, you most likely have a major structural issue.

clean range hood
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Monthly:

Clean your washing machine. File this one under housekeeping tasks you had zero clue you needed to do: Wash your washing machine. Yep. Apparently, all those sudsy cycles can cause mold and mildew, which in turn causes your “clean” clothes to—ew—smell. Here’s an easy fix for both top- and front-loading machines.

Disinfect your range hood and oven. These heavily used appliances can become caked with grease and grime. To make the hood shine like new, remove the filters, soak them in a solution of hot water and dish soap, and then brush clean. For the oven, coat the interior with a mixture of baking soda and water and let it sit overnight. Spritz it with vinegar in the morning and wipe down.

Clean faucet aerators. In order to produce a consistent flow of water, every faucet in your home is fitted with an aerator. Over time, aerators can become clogged with mineral deposits, causing low water pressure (and we all know that’s a big no-no). To prevent this, clean the aerator once a month to remove blockage-causing debris. It’s not difficult, we promise.

wash your bedding
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Weekly:

Wash your bedding. This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people neglect this simple chore. Even if you shower before hopping into bed, your sheets and pillowcases still collect dirt, debris and dead skin cells. Yuck. Toss your bedding into the washer once a week on a hot or warm cycle to kill any germs.

Wipe down ceiling fans. They might be out of sight, out of mind—until you give that baby a whirl and start an indoor allergen tornado. Give your sinuses a break and save yourself a vacuuming session with this clever trick. All you need is a pillowcase and a sturdy stepladder.

Clean the garbage disposal. Sure, these guys are great for devouring our leftovers, but if they don’t get a little TLC, you’re asking for trouble. Well, more like smell. Here’s our favorite five-second trick for banishing odors from the garbage disposal: Simply use a knife to strip off a lemon rind and drop it down the disposal followed by tap water. Run the disposal for a few seconds and revel in the fresh scent of lemony goodness.

reset the room
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Daily:

Reset the room. Nightly TV binges, scattered toys and misplaced items can take a toll on some rooms in your home, especially the living room. Before going to sleep, take a moment to reset. Fold the blankets, straighten the couch pillows and put away all the toys. This way, everything will be nice and neat when you wake up. Plus, your house will look put together if you have unexpected company.

Wipe down surfaces. Kitchen, bathroom, side tables, dressers…you get the picture. Between grimy fingerprints, drink stains and general use, you’d be surprised how dirty these surfaces can be. Put on some music, grab a bottle of disinfectant and start wiping.

Check your fridge before you take out the trash. If anything smells funky or is clearly past its prime, chuck it now while you have the trash bag in hand. Once this becomes part of your garbage routine, you’ll be amazed how much cleaner (and less moldy) you’ll be able to keep your refrigerator.

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