• Who’s the smart one, the guy holding forth about the new siding and windows he mortgaged his house to buy because the “old ones were crappy looking and the guy said they weren’t efficient any more,” or the guy who rented a staging, scraped and painted his old siding and trim, and caulked all his windows tight while cleaning his gutters as he went? The smart guy actually is boring, even if his vacation fund is on schedule and his mortage is almost paid off. It’s not terribly juicy, is it?
  • But if you’re willing to do some boring stuff, employing a foundation of common sense augmented with whatever native skills you may have, you can be the smart guy in many important ways.
  • If you have a warm air furnace, or air handlers that distribute your heating or cooling, you can change the filters yourself. Here’s a link to a post in my blog that helps you find and replace that filter.
  • If you have a hot water boiler, or even a steam one, you can cover your pipes. Even an amateur job will help keep those pipes warmer longer. The pipes, you see, don’t know you’re not a professional. Read the links, do some research of your own, and go to the home store. Warning: don’t use foam insulation on steam pipes. Get the right stuff. Ask someone in a vest—with a name tag.
  • If you have an older refrigerator, you can clean your door gasket so it closes and holds properly. You can address little spots where it’s beginning to separate from the door with contact cement. You can put a sign on the door saying, Don’t slam me! I’m as old as you are!
  • You can measure your doors and get weatherstripping from the home center. Wipe down the jambs so the adhesive sticks better.
  • You can wash your windows, outside in good weather, inside in winter. Once a year might be enough, except for the one the dog slobbers on when he looks outside.
  • You can clean the sump screen on your dishwasher, allowing the pump to circulate the water more efficiently. You can promise yourself you’ll do it sooner next time so it won’t be so gross.
  • You can look for things on your furnace to lubricate. If it’s fairly new, there won’t be any oil ports. Again, see my blog post for details.
  • You can, like the smart guy above, scrape and paint the trim on your house. If you’re afraid of ladders, you can do the first floor and hire an intrepid daredevil to do the higher stuff. Smart guys/ladies are not crazy.
  • You can reseal your driveway, following carefully the instructions on the most expensive bucket of sealer at the home center.
  • You can buy those little foam doohickeys that seal an electrical box from drafts and install them under all your covers. Turn off the power first, please.
  • You can caulk the gaps under all your baseboards with non-cheap vinyl caulk. It comes in colors. You might not need to paint at all.
  • You can buy cans of foam, go down in the basement, and look for daylight cracks to seal up. The black and orange can expands more. This is where you need that.
  • You can squirt that icky lock lubricant into your doorlocks. They’ll last longer and not freeze in the winter. Now you can wipe up the drips.
  • You can clean your oven. Even if you don’t use it much. You won’t think to clean it next time you bake, and remember all the smoke in the house? You don’t want that again.
  • There are better lists than this one if you look around, but I hope you get the idea. All this boring, tedious stuff is what smart people do enough of to avoid lots of repair bills and scary replacements that go on credit cards and never seem to get paid off. You tend to see stuff coming when you do this maintenance thing, because you’re paying attention. Don’t want to know? You should be reading another site, then. As the place kicker said to the ostrich, this may come as a surprise…..
  • Whether you’re Bob Vila’s personal assistant or a single mother just making the mortgage (and God bless you if you are that single mother), you can do enough maintenance to save yourself some dollars and some rude surprises, and you can wink at the other smart guys/ladies at the party while listening to the guy who maxed his cards doing a panic replacement of something that should have been maintained better.
 

links to more info...

helios at home (blog)

remodeling article

doityourself.com

move.com

how to make curtains (youtube)

do it yourself network