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A Step-by-Step Approach to Tackling Your Home To-Dos

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz

Don’t we all have a running mental list of “little” things to get done around the house? When those things remain undone, they can add up to make a big difference in how the home looks and feels. Here you’ll learn how to make a thorough list of minor home improvements and find the motivation you need to check everything off.

to-dos

Jeannie Balsam Interiors, original photo on Houzz

1. Do a walk-through of your home. Even if you think you can remember all of the things that need doing, I guarantee you will find even more if you take the time to do a thorough walk-through.

Bring along a pen and clipboard (or your smart phone) and note every little thing you see that could use fixing, replacing or revamping, starting outside the front door.

From hedges that need trimming to cracks in the driveway, squeaky floors and dings in the wall that need patching up, <em>write it all down.</em> Look up high at ceilings and moldings, down low at floors and at everything in between.

to-dos

Industrial Bathroom, original photo on Houzz

2. Take pictures, measurements and more. Often it’s the littlest details that will trip you up and prevent you from getting a job done. Now is the time to write down those important details, so you won’t be missing key information later. Write down the specific kind of lightbulbs you need, the type of screws you are missing and the dimensions of your floor, so you know what size rug to buy. If you have a repair project you are thinking of tackling yourself but aren’t sure how, snap a few photos of it with your phone so you can show it to a staffer at the home improvement store.

 

to-dos

Andrew Snow Photography, original photo on Houzz

3. Organize your list. Sort your master list of things you want to do around the house into a few categories: stuff to buy, DIY projects and jobs for pros.

At this point you may also want to jot down time estimates for each task on your list — it will be easier to convince yourself to get cracking on things once you realize many of them will not take long to accomplish.

to-dos

Charmean Neithart Interiors, original photo on Houzz

4. Batch tasks for pros. It makes little sense to have an electrician come out for one tiny job, and then again for another tiny job, and another. Batch your tasks instead to make the most of your home pro’s time. In a single visit you could get your sconces installed, porch light swapped out and doorbell fixed.

 

to-dos

SUITE New York, original photo on Houzz

5. Do errands all at once. Similar to batching tasks for pros you hire, put a higher value on your own time as well — why not get supplies for all of the little tasks on your list at once?

That means one trip to the hardware store, and you will have everything you’ll need to take care of a whole slew of repairs and projects, so when the mood strikes you can simply get started.

to-dos

decordemon, original photo on Houzz

6. Schedule time for DIY repairs and projects. Little niggling jobs will never get done if you don’t make a point of carving out space in your schedule for them.

Be honest about how long a project will take, so you won’t get in over your head and not have enough time to finish. You may not have the time to tackle a complicated repair on a weeknight, but perhaps you could squeeze in 30 minutes to do something simple, like smear putty on the little dings in the walls around the house? Paint over your patches the following night, and you will be done before you know it.

Schedule longer tasks (like re-covering a chair seat) for when you’ll have more time and mental energy — say, the weekend.

7. Keep a well-organized, running list for the future. Keep info you will need again (like the name of specialty lightbulbs and paint colors) in a permanent spot so you won’t need to scramble every time something needs fixing or replacing. Keep up your three running lists as well: one for tools and supplies, another for jobs you’ll need a pro’s help on and a third for DIY projects.

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