There’s a joke that does the rounds every now and again: “If your husband says he will fix something around the house, he will do it. There’s no need to keep nagging him every six months.”
While this might give some people a chuckle, the truth is we all put off the cleaning and repair jobs that don’t exactly spark joy, especially when life gets busy.
For those of us who wished we had some time off to clean and get to outstanding jobs, with the pandemic causing us to press the pause button, many of us have got what we wanted. With social outings limited and even work cancelled for many people, we are down to a choice between cleaning, fixing and decluttering, or Netflix.
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle a few of those outstanding projects we have some tips.
Before we dive into some ideas for DIY home maintenance, it’s worth noting that if COVID-19 has really got on top of you, go right ahead and stick to the couch. Everybody responds to changes in life in different ways and if you have children at home you might be feeling more overwhelmed than ever finding ways to keep them occupied.
What to DIY when you’re home more
Most tradespeople will tell you they are often called in once a DIY job has gone awry so unless you have a lot of experience, stick to smaller, simple projects. Leave things like plumbing and anything related to electricity to the pros and don’t attempt to use dangerous tools if you’re not familiar with them.
However, with that being said, there are plenty of things you can do around the house.
Sort your storage
First things first, it’s decluttering time. Go through your linen closet, your wardrobe, your kitchen cupboards and your laundry. Have separate piles of things to keep, repurpose, sell online, pass on to charity and throw away.
If you’re overwhelmed, start with a type of item, for example, jackets, shoes or towels. With your entire collection in front of you, it should be easy to make decisions.
There is no better feeling than an organised wardrobe, pantry or toy room. While you’re in the process of decluttering, have a cloth and bucket of warm soapy water handy so you can give things a wipe down as well.
Many local furniture and department stores are open and offering contactless collection so do some research if you are looking to buy shelves or storage units to help tidy your home. Flat-pack bookshelves, storage units or shelves can make a big difference to the way your home is organised and they are easy to assemble.
If you don’t want to make some spare cash from decluttering, why not consider donating some of your reusable belongings to a local charity.
Cleaning: Go deep
It’s not an attractive prospect but there are certain cleaning tasks that you’ll find very satisfying to complete.
- Under the fridge
- Under the beds
- Behind and under the couch
- Your outside gutters
- Your oven
- Your fridge
- Your front door (or consider pressure washing the entire front of your house, including your driveway)
- Air conditioner filter
You can delegate tasks like polishing doorknobs or cleaning windows to older children, with an incentive for their participation.
The advantages of doing a deep clean include appliances working better than they have in a while and potentially discovering areas of your home that are in real need of attention.
Many hardware stores had to put a cap on cleaning supply sales with a limited amount available to each customer. While there is still plenty available, you might wish to get creative and make your own cleaning supplies.
Tasks like fixing leaky taps, repairing gates, filling cracks and tidying up outside are all good for DIY. You will find a lot of tutorials online to help you get the job done the right way.
You could also take on a painting project and use your time at home to paint a bedroom or space in your home that needs freshening up. Again, track down some tips and stick to them. Painting can be harder than it looks and the bulk of the work is in the preparation.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to painting the interior of your home. It includes a list of the supplies you will need.
Find a project
You might also wish to upcycle some furniture, repurpose space in your home as a study, build some basic shelves in the garage or get to work on an outdoor playhouse now you have the time.
Take each project step by step and try not to rush. If you have older children, try involving them with less challenging parts so they can join your sense of achievement. Some projects kids might enjoy include sanding and repainting furniture, making a mosaic from old broken tiles or helping to sew new curtains.
Another project you will be pleased you got your teeth into is finding your favourite photos, printing them and creating a wall display. Again, this can be a fun one to work on with children.
If you’re really creative (and a little brave), you could work on a mural to add some personality to one of your walls. Use light colours so it can be painted over when the time comes. Here’s another step-by-step guide.
One thing to keep in mind when planning projects is the impact they will have on the value of your home. If you’re thinking of listing your property for sale (or rent) this year, focus on deep cleaning, repairs and cosmetic upgrades so your property looks its best when the agent, photographer and buyers come through.