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Auto-reminders: The Secret to Quarterly and Annual Home Care

Did you know that changing the air filter on your HVAC system every six months will keep your unit running more efficiently, and save you money on your electric bill?  Likewise with cleaning the coils on your refrigerator.  And are you aware that cleaning your coffee maker regularly will keep your morning java perky? In fact, most of the appliances in our homes have recommended maintenance schedules that help them work better, last longer, and use less energy.

In addition, there are all the cleaning chores that we need to do on a seasonal, semi-annual or annual basis:  washing windows, waxing floors, and cleaning the chimney, to name a few. How can a person keep track of all this?

Tasks like these are perfect uses of recurring calendar reminders. Take some time to go through your appliance manuals (you’ve got those filed altogether, right?) and enter the recommended maintenance schedules on your favorite calendar app.  Add in key cleaning jobs, too. Set reminders far enough in advance of your deadline to allow for purchasing any special parts or cleaners needed, or to arrange for service if you’re paying to have it done.

Twelve tasks to be sure to include (if applicable) on your list:

  1. Clean or replace the air filter on your furnace and/or air conditioner
  2. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms
  3. Have your chimney swept
  4. Wash your windows and screens
  5. Clean your window treatments
  6. Change your water filter
  7. Clean your carpets
  8. Clean refrigerator coils
  9. Clean humidifiers and dehumidifiers
  10. Change the filter on your vacuum cleaner
  11. Flip/rotate your mattresses
  12. Clean out your gutters and drains

Here are some bonus tips to help make auto-reminders really work for you:

  1. Don’t wait till after you’ve completed the task to set your next auto-reminder.  It’s amazing how easily your mind will move on and forget all about it! Instead, set the next reminder as you’re getting ready to start, while it’s still in front of you.
  2. If you’re going to be out of town when a task comes up, you can forward the reminder with an email to ask someone (your teenager, spouse, or handyman, perhaps?) to do it for you, or just do it ahead of time, depending on the task and how long you’ll be away.
  3. If you use Amazon auto-order, keep in mind that Amazon’s schedule might not match yours, and you’ll need space to store supplies they send until you get around to using them.  It might make more sense to set a reminder for ordering the item, and a separate one for actually doing the task. It’s super common when we’re on a home organizing project to find extra maintenance supplies because of over ordering and forgetting where things were stored.
  4. In auto-reminders about ordering items, include all the information you need — size, model number, etc. — so you don’t have to add the extra step of looking it up.  You can also take a picture of the appropriate page in the manual and attach it to the calendar reminder!
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