January Home Maintenance

Happy New Year! Let’s start the year off by eliminating clutter throughout your home. Where are your home’s clutter “hot spots”? The table by the door? Your bathroom counter? Your desk? All of the above? Make note of the spaces you want to declutter, and set deadlines for getting organized. Make boxes for keeping, donating, and storing – these will come in handy.

  1. Pick up things that don’t have a place, and find a place for them. These are things that you use daily, but don’t have a home. One of the biggest rules of an organized home: Everything should have a place.
  2. Clear a shelf, any shelf. Keep five of your most display-worthy items, and donate the rest, or at least set them aside for storage (but keep in mind that you’re aiming to simplify, not end up purchasing a storage unit).
  3.  Take everything out of all of your dresser drawers. If you haven’t used it, read it, or worn it in a year, donate it. If it doesn’t belong in the bedroom, put it in an “elsewhere” bin (and put the collected items in their rightful places when you’re finished).
  4.  In the kitchen, tackle the Tupperware cabinet. This technique is simple. Throw away every container that doesn’t have a matching lid, and every lid that doesn’t have a matching container. Abandon your useless appliances. If it doesn’t work or if you haven’t used it in over a year, throw it away or donate it. The same goes for pots and pans – keep the ones you use daily; but you don’t need eight sheet pans.
  5.  In the office, start with all those papers you have stacked up. You’ll need a system, like a simple “to file,” “to do,” and “toss bin.” Then, file your records in a way that makes sense for you. Be wary when throwing away sensitive personal information and important records. If you need a cut-off date for keeping semi-important documents, a good rule of thumb is seven years (the length of time lawyers are legally required to keep their own records).
  6. declutter all of your bathrooms at once, so you can take an accurate inventory of all of those long-lost soaps and lotions you forgot existed. Empty and wipe down all of your drawers, shower caddy’s, cabinets, etc. Throw away what’s expired, what’s nearly empty (that you don’t use). The same goes for medicine and makeup.
  7. Take a look at your living room décor. Is it cluttered and overcrowded? Too many pillows, coffee table books, or picture frames? Clear off surfaces, leaving only the décor items you’ve purposefully chosen. Store smart. There are many useful items that do belong in the living room; the trick is to find sophisticated storage options to keep them hidden but still handy.

February Home Maintenance

Get Ahead!

FSA (flexible Spending Account) limit increased for 2020 to $2,750, up from $2,700 in 2019. Remember that this is “use it or lose it “money. Contribute a set amount per paycheck and use the funds for medical expenses like:

First-aid kits            | Braces

Contact Lens           | Over- the- counter medication

Chiropractic care   | Baby thermometers

Dental work            |   Humidifiers

Physical Therapy    | Co-pays/ Deductibles

State and Local Taxes (SALT)

Enacted last year, taxpayers who itemize can only deduct up to 10,000 on a combination of state income taxes, sales tax, local taxes, and property tax.

 March Home Maintenance

It is finally Spring! We want to give you some tips to clean and organize your lanai and outdoor spaces.

  1. Use a brush to gently scrub the screens and frame with warm, sudsy water. Then, rinse them with your garden hose and allow them to air dry.
  2.  Rinse the entire patio with a garden hose. De-grime and tackle oily spots and stains with a 10:1 solution of warm water and an environmentally safe cleaner.
  3.  Clean patio furniture with an all-purpose cleaner to get any grit and grime off the hard surfaces.
  4.  If the glass of your light fixtures is dusty, use a foam paintbrush sprayed with window cleaner to wipe both sides of the glass (inside and outside) clean. Use a second dry brush on both sides to remove any remaining cleaner, ensuring the glass stays clear.
  5.  If there is an umbrella, rinse it all over with a hose. Run a wet soft-bristled brush over a bar of laundry soap and then over the open canopy, working from top to bottom. Once finished, rinse with the hose and leave the umbrella open until it’s completely dry.

Want more? Our website has more things you can do in and around your home each month to keep the value of your biggest investment. Taking time to do these things each month can keep you from feeling overwhelmed when you
think of selling, and give you peace of mind.

Call your Driftwood Realty Group Real Estate Advisor for a free listing consultation today!

April Home Maintenance

Whether you keep it simple or go for an entire house sweep, Now is the time to consider how your home storage and layout is working for you. Here’s a simple approach to making the most out of spring cleaning.

  • Clean your air ducts and dryer vent
    Keep your HVAC system running smoothly and improve your home’s air quality by having a professional clean your home’s air ducts. 
    Eliminate dust mites and other allergens in the air by also changing your HVAC filters regularly. 
    Have your dryer vent cleaned at the same time, to increase your dryer’s efficiency and help reduce the risk of fire due to lint build-up.
  • Test sprinklers and irrigation system
    Check to be sure your irrigation system is running well.
    Schedule any maintenance needed, so that your yard and garden will be ready for summer’s heat.
  •  Streamline your space
    Go through each room to get rid of clutter.
    Remove winter throws to visually lighten the space for spring.
    Sell unused items at a yard sale or donate them to charity.
    Organize towels, linens and bedding.
    Take inventory and get rid of old, worn-out items.
    Pack away thick winter blankets you won’t need during warmer months.
  •  Repair cracked or peeling paint
    Inspect the outside trim of your home, especially around doors and windows.
    A coat of paint not only can make your home look tidy, it also will provide a protective barrier from the elements.

May Home Maintenance

The weather is warming up, let’s focus May Home Maintenance on the outside of your home and making sure all of your systems are keeping you cool and dry.

These six things are recommended in May:

  1. Wash your home’s exterior: Depending on the siding you have, power-washing can potentially do harm. In most cases, a garden hose and a cleaning wand attachment is all you need. Remember to tarp your plants and shrubs!
  2. Clean your deck or patio: After cleaning a wooden deck, remember to treat the wood, stain and seal it once everything is dry. Most patio furniture can be freshened up with an all-purpose cleaner. On furniture cushions, you can use soap, water and a soft bristle brush.
  3. Tend the garden: Lay down mulch to protect your plants from a drought, boost their growth and give a finished
    look to your yard.
  4. Air out your home’s interior: Open all the windows and run the air conditioning on low to rid your home of any winter mustiness.
  5. Swap out wintery decor: Swap out your dark linens for a lighter look. Make the inside of your home look and feel like it’s ready for summer!
  6. Add a fresh coat of paint: Notice any chipping or peeling exterior paint? Consider a touch-up. If you hire a professional, you’ll want the work done in the spring so it’s ready by mid-summer.

Cleaning inside too? Consider swapping out harsh chemical cleaners for natural alternatives as your summer gets into full swing. The info-graphic here shows some great solutions!

Want to do more? Here are some other items we recommend seasonally and monthly:
  • Closets: box the boots and put away winter wardrobe (seasonally)
  • Trash cans: bleach outside trash cans and recycle bins, disinfect inside trash cans (monthly)
  • Garbage disposal: run baking soda and citrus fruit rinds through the disposal to freshen the lines and crushed ice to sharpen the blades (monthly)

Keeping up maintenance on your home is the best way to keep the value of your biggest investment. We put these lists together monthly based on what we see in the real estate market and home inspections. Our website has more things you can do in and around your home each month to keep the value of your biggest investment. Taking time to do these things each month can keep you from feeling overwhelmed when you think of selling, and give you peace of mind.

As you work your way down the list, remember, we have an extensive network of contractors, landscapers, HVAC professionals, etc. If you need backup for anything, give us a call. We’re happy to refer you to a professional we recommend!

June Home Maintenance & Hurricane Season Preparedness

Hurricane season is June 1 – November 30

When it comes to preparing for Hurricane Season, there are a number of items that need to be considered and many decisions that must be made. These steps can help you feel prepared this year:

  1. Trim any trees that overhang the roof and any dead branches on all trees, at the beginning of the season
  2. Clean debris from roof valleys, gutters, or downspouts. Ensure water can flow.
  3. Be sure any storm drains on the street are cleaned out.
  4. You can fill your own sandbags under the Palm Valley bridge in Ponte Vedra Beach. Take a shovel and sandbags (buy them early, they may run out).
  5. Secure or bring in all outdoor furniture & loose items to prevent flying debris.
  6. Protect windows with storm shutters (many newer homes windows can withstand 180 mph winds).
  7. Choose a safe interior room with no windows, if you have small children, run through a drill and have your comfort items there in advance.
  8. Reinforce garage doors, they are the most vulnerable to wind damage.
  9. If evacuating, turn off power, water, & gas & plan multiple evacuation routes.
  10. Test your generator before the storm to be sure it can handle the load you plan to put on it (refrigerator, radio, power strips, fans, phones, etc.).

Tips Before & During a Storm:

  • Keep your vehicle gas tank half full during storm season
  • Keep small denominations of cash on hand
  • Fill your bathtubs with water. Use a bucket to flush the toilets.

Important Websites: JEA: www.jea.com/outage_center/storm_center/
FPL: www.fpl.com/storm/home/links or call 1-800-4-OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243)
St. Johns County Emergency Management: www.sjcemergencymanagement.org

July Home Maintenance

We hope you’re having a fun summer! The year is half way over, so in July we’ll focus on the heart of your home, the kitchen, for maintenance and annual cleaning. Here’s what we recommend in July:

Kitchen Maintenance & Annual Cleaning:

  1. Remove the range hood vent and soak in dishwater to degrease. Check that the fan is working properly and clean or replace the bulb if necessary.
  2. In your refrigerator, test that your seals around the doors are tight by using a dollar bill to pull out of the door after closing. It should not slide out.
  3. If you have a water filter, now is a good time to replace it.
  4. Pull your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum behind and underneath.
  5. Wipe the insides of all of your cabinets and drawers and discard any unused dishes or containers without matching lids.
  6. Disinfect trash can and surrounding area.
  7. Clean out and organize junk drawers (we all have them).
  8. Discard products that may have expired and clean your shelves and drawers. You can use a box of baking soda to absorb odors for 3 months.
  9. Discard unused products under the sink. Clean and check for rust or corrosion of pipes and be sure there are no leaks.
  10. Clean your pantry and discard foods or spices that may have expired.
Want to do more? Here are some other items we recommend monthly:
  • Trash cans: bleach outside trash cans and recycle bins, disinfect inside trash cans (monthly).
  • Garbage disposal: run baking soda and citrus fruit rinds through the disposal to freshen the lines and crushed ice to sharpen the blades (monthly).

August Home Maintenance

Those Summer days are coming to an end. This month our home maintenance will focus on the garage and the home systems in and around the area. Here’s what we recommend in August:

Garage Cleaning & Maintenance:

  1. Remove and properly discard all paints and flammables. The nearest waste station to Nocatee is Waste Management Transfer Station 250 N Stratton Rd, St Augustine, FL 32095. Their number is 904.827.6980.
  2. De-clutter, donate, or curb alert unused items in the garage. Organize tools and lawn equipment. Garage storage and organization systems are an added bonus for buyers.
  3. Water Heater Tank: Drain water to remove accumulated sludge and sediment from bottom of tank. Be sure to shut of power prior to draining. Attach a garden hose to drain outside of garage.
  4. Electrical: Check main panel for rust or water marks, which may indicate water penetration. Be sure all breakers are marked to correspond to rooms or appliances that they service.
  5. Flip all breakers to OFF and then ON to be sure that they are all working properly.
  6. Lubricate garage door hinges, rollers, wheels or ball bearings when in down position. Be sure to use a specific garage door lubricant, not WD-40, or schedule a routine service.
  7. Now is a good time to wash and detail your car.
Want to do more? Here are some other items we recommend monthly:
  • Trash cans: bleach outside trash cans and recycle bins, disinfect inside trash cans (monthly)
  • Garbage disposal: run baking soda and citrus fruit rinds through the disposal to freshen the lines and crushed ice to sharpen the blades (monthly)

September Home Maintenance

We hope you had a great Summer! Now it’s officially Fall and we have some home maintenance items to remind you to do in and around your home. These ten things are recommended in September:

  1. Laundry Room: Clean valve and filter in your washing machine. Check that your dryer vents and hoses are clear of lint.
  2. Under all sinks: clean and discard unused products and check for any faucet or pipe leaks.
  3. Porches and Pavers: ensure pavers are all level and there are no trip hazards from tree roots or loose sand. Now is a good time to re-sand and seal pavers or driveway cracks.
  4. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors: check batteries. Replace detectors over 10 years.
  5. Heating: Have heating system serviced (always do in Fall)
  6. Electrical: test and reset all ground fault circuit interrupter receptacles
  7. Carpets: have professionally cleaned and pull any loose areas tight.
  8. Medicine cabinet: throw away old medications and organize.
  9. Tiled areas: You should check your seals in bathrooms and kitchens, and apply a fresh bead of caulk every 6 months, as necessary.
  10. Lawn & Garden: pull weeds, trim hedges, plant cold-tolerant flowers. Add an excessive layer of mulch to help young and vulnerable plants through the cooler temperatures to come.
Want to do more? Here are some other items we recommend monthly:
  • Trash cans: bleach outside trash cans and recycle bins, disinfect inside trash cans (monthly)
  • Garbage disposal: run baking soda and citrus fruit rinds through the disposal to freshen the lines and crushed ice to sharpen the blades (monthly)

October Home Maintenance

Happy Fall! We’re sure you’re pulling out all of your Fall decor for the season and want to give you some tips to prepare for the cooler
temperatures ahead of us. Here are three things you can do in October:

  1. Windows & Doors: Save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs by ensuring that you’ve got proper sealing and insulation. Check for drafts coming from windows & doors by looking closely at their frames for any cracks, or running your hand along the frame to feel for cool air coming in. Seal any you may find with caulking, weather stripping, or door sweeps to prevent drafts.
  2. Lawn Equipment: You can do preventative maintenance on your lawn mowing equipment. At the end of the mowing season, make sure that your drain the gas out of your lawn mower, weed eater, etc. Also, check to see if you need to replace the oil and spark plugs. Clean the blades and underside of the mowing equipment, disconnecting spark plug before you do so. Now is a good time to sharpen the blades before next season.
  3. Fireplace & Chimney: Clear and clean your fireplace before lighting the first fire of the season, Reduce fire hazards by hiring professionals to check and clean your chimney. Be sure to have them check that the damper closes tightly to prevent drafts.

It’s Fall, Ya’ll! Check out our Pinterest Board “Home Decorating for Every Occasion” for seasonal home decor ideas. Pinterest.com/DoakesTeam

Want to do more? Here are some other items we recommend monthly:
  • Closets: time to pull out the boots and winter wardrobe (seasonally)
  • Trash cans: bleach outside trash cans and recycle bins, disinfect inside trash cans (monthly)
  • Garbage disposal: run baking soda and citrus fruit rinds through the disposal to freshen the lines and crushed ice to sharpen the blades (monthly)

Keeping up maintenance on your home is the best way to keep the value of your biggest investment. We put these lists together monthly based on what we see in the real estate market and home inspections. Our website has more things you can do in and around your home each month to keep the value of your biggest investment. Taking time to do these things each month can keep you from feeling overwhelmed when you think of selling, and give you peace of mind. Give us a call for a free listing consultation.