One of the things that surprised me the most when we bought our first home, was just how much cleaning and maintenance we had to do to keep the house looking decent. I was also shocked by how little I actually knew about the basic home maintenance that needed to be done throughout the year. Today I want to share a few templates to help you keep up with it all and give you some ideas for setting up reminders for these tasks. Let’s jump in.
Just like any project, when I started off, I made a big ol’ list of stuff that I needed to do. I broke my list up into two categories; home maintenance and home cleaning. Maintenance was anything that was required to keep our home running smoothly and keep appliances running properly (like cleaning out the gutters). Cleaning was anything that wasn’t necessarily required but did make living in our home more enjoyable (like wiping down the baseboards or deep cleaning outlet covers).
I quickly realized that in order to actually keep our home running smoothly, we really needed to clean and maintain something every single week. It felt really overwhelming at first, but after getting our lists organized by season, deciding what could be outsourced, and figuring out a reasonable schedule, we felt more in control of our home and felt confident knowing it would be well taken care of.
While every home is different and depending on your living situation, some of these tasks may not need to be done at all, I wanted to share some templates and tips that will help you make your own game plan for home maintenance. I also want to give you a look inside my Notion and Sunsama accounts to give you an idea of how we actually plan and schedule these tasks to make sure we’re staying on top of it all.
Notion is my go-to tool for everything, so building these lists in a database format was a no-brainer. I wanted something I could print out, share, and easily update to fit our needs. I also wanted to create a database that could grow over time, so that I could add local pros’ contact info, plan larger projects and share the plans with my family.
As I said, I have two lists: Maintenance and Cleaning:
When you save a copy of your own, take a few minutes to read through the lists. Remove anything that isn’t relevant to you and add any tasks that I missed (feel free to drop them in the comments on this post too, so that I can add them for others on the original template).
Next, decide which tasks need to be done by you, which ones can be done by someone in your household, and which can/should be outsourced to a professional. Once you know which to outsource, start researching local pros and add their contact info to the database so that you have quick access to it when it comes time to schedule. Or better yet, pre-schedule the services and add them to the calendar app of your choice (or add it directly into the notion template if you prefer).
For the remainder of the tasks, decide what needs to be done this month and take some time to schedule those tasks out. Set reminders so that you don’t miss anything important, and plan for a little buffer just in case they don’t get done right away.
As much as I love Notion, it does fall short as a task manager for me. Sunsama (affiliate link) has become my one and only task manager, project planner, and day scheduler in recent months. Sunsama definitely isn’t for everyone, and I do have a review HERE if you’re curious, but for me, it’s made scheduling these tasks a breeze.
Here’s a quick step-by-step look at how I add my reoccurring tasks to my Sunsama schedule:
- Add a new task that you need to complete (I just copy and paste this directly from my notion template)
- I assign this task to my channel called “home” so that I can categorize and sort these tasks later on.
- I add any subtasks that may be needed to complete the task and add estimated time to complete each task
- Add a “due date” of when the task needs to be completed next
- Choose to “repeat” the task if needed (currently, the furthest out you can choose in Sunsama is every 4 months, so for seasonal tasks, I just duplicate the task as needed)
- Add any additional notes, links or info needed to complete the task
- Add this task to your backlog or set a start date the week before the task is due to remind yourself to properly schedule it in the future.
Regardless of what project or task management tools you prefer, these templates can be used in any way that fits your own system. Maybe you like pen and paper, or you only use Google Calendar — take this list and get these items on your schedule. I also encourage you to look for “home maintenance” or “deep cleaning” lists that might be more fit for your region, home type, or circumstances.
For example, I live in the very dry and wild seasons of Colorado. So we don’t typically worry about mold or pest control too much, but I do have to worry about snow, rain, hail, tornados, freezing temperatures, air conditioners, heaters, and fireplaces. If you live in Florida, your winter routine is going to look a little different than mine.
Take these templates and use them as a starting step for building your own system. And don’t be afraid to outsource, ask for help and let go of some of the things you just run out of time to do. Maintaining your home and keeping things clean is important, but not at the expense of your health or safety. Creating a schedule that is realistic for your own needs is the most important.
If you work best in batch-get-it-all-done kind of days, maybe you schedule these tasks for one day a month. If you stay at home full time and have a few spare minutes each day, scheduling one task every few days might be better for your routines. Try a little of both initially and decide which one you like more.
Don’t forget to get your partner, kids, or roommates on board for the plan as well, and give them tasks to manage that best fit their abilities and skills. My husband is 6'4" and I’m 5'3" with shoes on, so he’s in charge of checking the fire alarms. Meanwhile, I love organizing so when it’s time to clean out the pantry, he leaves that task in my hands.
Once you have a good system in place, use that system to build regular routines into it as well. Things like laundry and dishes can easily be thrown in to make your day-to-day run a little smoother. Every task that makes your house into a home can work its way into this system so that, even in the busy months, you can trust that your home is going to be a tidy, healthy, and safe place to come back to.