How to Keep the Interior and Exterior of your Home or Apartment Well-Maintained
We all (or most of us) have a place to live and want that place to look well-maintained (or we should). Not too many people desire to live under a bridge and would even prefer living at a shelter than living under a bridge. Additionally, most of us (ideally) would not want to live at a location that is incredibly filthy. Who would want to live in a place that has dirty stains along the sink, a garbage can that is overflowing, sticky urine spots on the floor, and shoe stains along the common area? For most of us, the thought of that is unbearable. Additionally, even though we may be completely fine living in a chicken coop in our own room, we expect the common area to be tidy and extremely clean. Quite the contradiction, huh?
In this article, we will show you how to change your life by keeping your home, whether it is a single-family home or your apartment, clean and tidy on the inside and the outside.
Why would you want to clean your room or your home or your building?
Have you ever had the feeling that you were overwhelmed when you looked at a massive stack of papers that you knew you needed to do it and just never did it? Have you seen the stack of boxes in the closet that you “saved” from when you moved in, and now is just a pile of rubbish in the corner? Have you seen those dirty hairs in the sink when you come into the house? Do you see crumbs along the floor?
Does this make you feel great?
Like me, it didn’t. So what I did was start tackling one item a day. It does not do much, but after a few weeks, things started to look easier and get better for me. After 3 months or so, I felt I was in a new home. Oddly enough, the magic of this is that even when I moved from place to place in my entire life, the pictures of the room always looked pristine in the apartment broker listing. Then 3 months of me living there, and well…. the place does not look pristine anymore. It’s the nature of human beings. Now…. Let’s get to it!
How to make your single-family home or your apartment look better internally
Set a Schedule of What to Do and When
It is no secret that checklists are much more reliable than human memory. Having a date and time for doing something will inevitably make more and more sense as you get busier and busier, and attempting to do things on the fly just never seems to work out. Similar to going to the gym, saying your morning prayers, morning rituals, we all know that having a time and a place for doing anything and everything allows you to know what to expect rather than be the victim of random events occurring throughout the day.
Every time you cook, clean it up
We know plenty of people who eat a bunch of food and leave it in the sink or place it in the dishwasher. For anybody walking by, it looks like a nuisance. I personally have been washing my dishes after I used them every single day because it did not make sense for me to push something off that could be done in 2 minutes right now. I have since lived with roommates that, for one reason or another, enjoyed leaving stacks of dirty dishes in the sink and then would put them in the dishwasher afterwards. Granted they were chefs and I was a microwave guy, I did not like the thought or idea of pushing off something so minute into an ordeal where there is a stack of dirty dishes chilling. It is an eyesore I would rather avoid.
Clean up the sink when you use
Similar to washing your dishes consistently, using the sink and leaving your hairs in it is just gross. It may not be a real issue for someone who shaves; however, for me, I am not a person who enjoys seeing some random hairs in the sink when I myself do not shave. It does not take much to run some water around the sink and get your hairs out of everybody’s periphery. It is another eyesore that is avoidable.
Any paper which enters your home should immediately be addressed or shredded
This does not need much explaining. We all know people who have mail that stretches months, chilling in their room. Every day they see it, and the mail never seems to get smaller. It is called procrastination at its worst. There are lots of books about it, lots of videos about it, and frankly, the only thing that matters is doing it. Reading a book has never done anything, and the only way to beat procrastination is to clean up the mound one letter at a time, and then yes, address any new mail that you receive on an ongoing basis. Either shred it or address it and move on.
Doormats trap debris and dirt outside when you walk inside. If there is wet mushy snow and you walk in the house, you are going to have some dirty mounds right when walking inside, which is a dirty eyesore. Rather, it makes sense that if you are going to prevent these micro-aggressions to your eye from taking place, it will be prudent for you to have a doormat outside of each and every exterior door. Every few days, shake or vacuum the doormat outside in order to release any tracked particles. After a while, the doormat will be worn out, and hence, it will be time to replace it.
Have a set day to clean the kitchen, wash the laundry, address your room, clean the bathroom
These are what I call the big, big tasks. Nobody ever wants to do these tasks because they are time-consuming and the most unpleasant. However, we know these are the biggest tasks of all that lighten the load the most.
Let us start with the laundry. It is no surprise that everybody and their mother washes laundry on Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings. It is like the national laundry day and is extremely annoying when you have to wait for a spot. The best thing to do is do your laundry on an off-day while you are doing something else (if you are in an apartment with community laundry and dryer). If you are in an apartment with its own individual washer and dryer or in a single-family home, you are able to partition your whites and colors on separate days (ie Wed and Saturday). Why would I recommend this? I recommend this because it is annoying to have to do 2 or 3 sets of laundry on one day a week. This just makes me reluctant to have to deal with that day. If I were to break it apart into shorter chunks, it would make life much easier because I would do one easy load every few days. This is similar to going to the gym 0.5 hours daily rather than going to the gym 3.5 hours on Saturday. Why not do that?
For cleaning the bathroom, I suggest starting with the furthest point from the door and cleaning as you go towards the door, ending with the floors. I personally start with the shower and wipe it down with bleach. Because the sinks are cleaned if it gets dirty, I avoid that. The bathroom mirrors get cleaned with window cleaner, and the toilet gets scrubbed with a toilet bowl cleaner. Afterwards I mop the floor immediately. It is an annoying task, though it is able to be done in 10 minutes if you are vigorous and finish it quickly.
For cleaning the kitchen, the simple thing to do is to clean the counters immediately with bleach, clean the kitchen sink with bleach, and then vacuum the floor with any debris that you find from crumbs, etc. Any stains should be solidly wiped out. I then take out the trash.
When it is all said and done, I then mop the floor from kitchen to door entrance, making sure the floor looks spotless…until someone steps inside. Then the process starts over in a week -sigh-
Lastly, it is the hurricane in a box called my room. How does this happen? If you saw my room, you would wonder how I am able to make a jail cell look so filthy. It is because I am lazy for things such as this and had to discipline myself to make my bed every morning. It all started with waking up earlier than I used to. It also deals with committing to finishing and reaching my goals in a short time. If you do one item a week, it will take 52 weeks to get 52 things done. If you do 13 items a day, it takes less than one week. If you saw my room, you literally would see boxes in the closet, boxes on the floor, old mail, old candy boxes, and a drawer full of worthless trash. It’s been like that for months. What I did to fix this was clean up one wall every single day, no matter what. I had boxes stacked along my wall, which was an extreme eyesore. Trust me, nobody wants to walk into a bunch of half-folded boxes. Instead, I eliminated one wall a day and within 4 days, all 4 walls were clean. I then fixed my bed every morning. I then cleaned the closet, so that I would not have the eyesore of looking at it daily. Overall, the room is the biggest one to clean because it is my domain. I have to sleep in it every day, and the dirty site does not help my psyche. It was worth it to have it cleaned and a major triumph for me. It likely will be for you. Instead of doing one small thing a day, which does not do much. Do a sizable amount daily, enough for you to see the progress a little.
This concludes the interior design of the home or apartment. On to the exterior.
Maintaining the Exterior of the Home
There is surprisingly not too much to do with the exterior of a home when compared to the inside. Nobody plans on painting the exterior of the home. Most of the tasks that tend to be done are the routine tasks that most homeowners or landlords have to do, such as mowing the lawns, cleaning the gutters, window cleaning, and raking out leaves or shoveling snow. If you live in an apartment, then you have no exterior to clean, as you likely have apartment staff who does it. In that case, the apartment owner maintains the exteriors and likely the public space as well.
Just like with the interior of your home, the exterior also needs to be maintained….at regular intervals…..for everything. Doing everything off the fly is stupid and will lead to you missing something. Rather, write down when you will do something and make sure it is done. Then you have peace of mind knowing it is going to be done, rather than asking yourself “was it done”?
People do not think too much of landscaping until there is a branch in your face. However, for single mothers, this may be of concern. What if there is a rapist or criminal lurking behind an overgrown shrub? It makes sense to keep your bushes trimmed to the utmost. With bush trimming also comes mowing the grass so it does not become unruly. For example, in Houston, the grass grows tall so fast that it is crazy. Maintaining the grass and removing debris from the area keeps a pleasant image rather than a dirty and filthy image to your home or apartment complex. I recommend doing landscaping twice a month.
Roof and Gutters
The roof is obviously what keeps the top of your home or apartment from experiencing the harsh elements. You may want to make sure there are no holes or bird nests on top of your roof. What you may not know is that roofs are angled to direct water into gutters, those half-open pipes along the edge of your roof that shuttles water away from the home or apartment. The reason gutters are important is that gutters keep water from flowing around your apartment and seeping into the soil around the home. This may make the home or apartment sink or may even threaten the foundation. It may even allow your basement to flood and allow mold or mildew to occupy the basement. For that reason, you want your gutters to be in solid order. I recommend having your roof checked twice yearly and your gutters checked every 3-6 months. I know a person who does gutter cleaning who offers a bi-annual maintenance program because gutter replacements from people who neglected gutter care run around the $2,000 range, while those who maintain their gutters every 6 months literally only pay around $200 for a check-up. It makes sense to have gutters maintained rather than wait until it is too late. The same thing applies to the roof.
Windows and Painting
I know few people who really want to do their own window cleaning, especially the second-floor windows. For those who own apartments, getting on top of a building to paint or clean windows is extremely risky. We do not need to explain why it is risky. Not too many homes are painted by owners and those who usually paint the home mainly position the home for resale. However, the windows may become a problem, especially if you want that natural sunlight to enter the room. We do not recommend doing window cleaning or painting very frequently. In the case of your own home, you may never paint it. In the case of your apartment, you may paint it so the apartment looks presentable. Otherwise, the window cleaning may be done once every three months.
Maintaining your home or apartment complex is something that needs to be done on a rotating basis. If you do so, you will have more peace of mind knowing your internal house is well in order. When you push things off, things always get worse, and rarely do they get better. I am able to attest to this in my own life, and I recommend you do the same.
For internal home or apartment cleaning,
- Make a schedule
- Clean up after cooking immediately
- Clean bathroom sink immediately
- Deal with mail and papers as soon as possible
- Use doormats
- Schedule a couple of separate days to do laundry in smaller chunks, and schedule a day to clean the bathroom, kitchen, and your room
For external cleaning,
- Make a schedule
- Do landscaping (lawns, bushes, trash pickup) on a rotating basis
- Check roofs and gutters periodically
- Do window cleaning or painting
We hope you found this article extremely helpful. You may do some or all of these things, though we recommend that you incorporate them all into your life. It will change your life as it did mine.
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