By Bill Primavera
Many times I’ve been reminded by bosses, office managers and consultants that the best way to increase business is to better manage my time. It is usually suggested that I make lists of all my responsibilities and long-term and immediate goals, organize them, and set timeframes in which they are to be accomplished.
A smile crossed my mind as I thought of my wife Margaret, who is constantly making lists: what she will cook for that holiday party and the groceries needed; how she will re-organize her closet; books she wants to read; the guest list for a fundraiser; and items to purchase on her next shopping trip. I tease her about it.
But when I contemplated all the chores that needed to be done in a well-maintained home, especially in the months preceding its sale, I went to my resident expert and asked her if she could organize a list of the tasks at hand, which seemed overwhelming to me taken as a whole.
This is the checklist she came up with almost immediately, proving that list-making comes easily to her after a lifetime of developing the habit. Feel free to adopt any of it that would help you organize your home, whether you’re staging it for sale or seeking to live a well-maintained home life, relatively free of defects and clutter.
Big Jobs (leave them to the professionals)
Plumbing: new faucets, new toilets and sinks
Electrical: additional outlets for computers; new light switches
Tree Care: removal of dead trees and limbs; spraying of hemlocks
Gutter and drain replacement
Window replacement where needed
Interior (to do ourselves and with handyman help)
Remove all wallpaper
Spackle and sand
Paint walls and ceilings
Sand, stain and seal wood floors where needed
Replace cracked bathroom tiles; add new grout
Install granite countertops
Professionally clean cabinets
Replace appliances, preferably with brushed steel
If not replaced, scrub out refrigerator, oven, microwave
Replace old lighting fixture
Replace draperies with lighter treatments
Remove some furniture to open up space
Refinish hardwood floors
Update all bedding
Clean out and organize closets
Replace sinks, counters, toilets
Replace all chandelier light bulbs
Replace old lampshades
Clean all windows
Outline and mulch all gardens
Plant flowering shrubs for spring
Use non-toxic treatment where weeds normally grow
Spray Bobbex to keep deer away
Re-seed bare areas of lawn
Having listed everything above that was on our checklist before we listed our home, do you see the critical omission? There are no real schedules or timetables indicated. With such an extensive list, it would be easy to avoid doing anything at all if a certain commitment isn’t made to scheduling each chore on the calendar.
This can be handled several ways. Let’s say we intend to put the house on the market in about six months, with the hope of selling it within the next nine months. I can rejuggle the list according to what is practical to do in each of those preparatory six months, starting from the logical point of a project. For instance, we had a guest room that had developed a ceiling leak before the roof was replaced. The plaster has bubbled beneath the wallpaper on the side wall, so it made sense that I first had to remove the wallpaper, next sand and patch the plaster, reseal the surface and then paint it. So, I gave the project a two-week timeframe and checked off each step along the way as I got to my deadline.
What I ultimately did was to create a “most important” to “least important” evaluation, going from 1 to 10 and hitting the low numbers first, but with a designated deadline for each.
My foray into lists about household chores led me to a number of websites that help you do it. One of these is www.lets-clean-up.com, which offers an app that helps remove this burden of listing chores because it remembers everything you tell it. It presents cleaning as a bonding and learning experience for the whole family, with each member taking responsibility for certain chores. Working together, everything is accomplished.
While a publicist and journalist, writing as The Home Guru, Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate. To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.