Giving Your Home an MOT

When we first move into a new home, we spend a long time getting the décor just right, making improvements and changing the home to suit our needs and tastes. Then, aside from the odd repair, improvement or replacement, we mostly leave it alone. This is fine; sometimes, it’s nice to simply enjoy our homes as they are, without planning the next phase of changes. You certainly wouldn’t want to spend your life constantly decorating and living in disarray.

But, this means that our homes can quickly become tired and dated, not to mention inefficient and wasteful. We spend a lot of time at home, cooking, cleaning, eating, entertaining and generally living. If you’ve got kids or pets, things can wear out and become dirty or broken even more quickly. So, once a year it’s a good idea to give your home an MOT, just like you would your car. Use this as an opportunity to check that it’s still in good condition, that you’re not wasting money on your utilities and that everything is working at its best. Performing these checks and making a few small changes once a year could save you vast amounts of money, by spotting problems before they become expensive to repair or replace. More importantly, however, they could keep your home and the people in it safe and happy. Here are a few of the things that you should add to your home MOT checklist.

 

Outside Areas

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It’s always a good idea to start with the first thing that you see. In the case of your home, it’s the front garden and entrance. Doing your outdoor areas first also means that you don’t need to worry about walking mud and dirt into your newly refreshed home. Nor will you have to carry any gardening equipment through.

So, start by taking a good look at the outside of your home. Start at the top. Roof tiles can become damaged over time by weather damage and sunlight. A leaky roof can be expensive to repair, as well as leaving you with a cold and damp home. If you’re not comfortable checking your roof yourself, hire a roofer to help.

The next step is your guttering. This can also become blocked and damaged over time and should be cleaned out regularly to prevent trapped water seeping into the bricks of your home and causing expensive to repair damage to its structure.  Again, if you’re not comfortable getting up there yourself, hire help.

Continue working down your home by getting your windows cleaned and checking that the seals are all clean and undamaged. Replace any that need it. Then, all that is left in your door and gardens or drive. Your door is your homes best defence from burglars and unwanted guests, so make sure that it is safe and secure, as well as undamaged, just like your windows.

When it comes to the garden, a good clean up should be your first step so that you know where you stand. Then, take a good look around. Do you need to spend some time removing weeds? Or replanting? If you’ve got a pond or pool, check the PH levels of the water and give it a good clean.

Security

Checking your doors and windows isn’t the only thing that you can do to protect your home. This is also a great time to install or test burglar alarms and smoke alarms, as well as adding other security systems such as smart security features, timers, lights and even CCTV.

 

Walls

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We don’t often think about our walls. We paint or wallpaper them when we decorate, and then leave them. We dust, hoover and wipe floors and surfaces, but skip walls entirely. Why would they get dirty? What contact do they really have? Well, you’d be surprised. Our walls pick up all kinds of dust and dirt. Things are spilled, and our walls take the splashback, muddy feet scuff sides, greasy hands brush against once gleaming walls. And that’s just adults. If you’ve got young children, there’s bound to also be crayon, chocolate and possible boggy on your lovely walls.

In some cases, all they will need is a good wipe down or the attention of a home steam cleaner. But, if you need to, use your home MOT as a great time to paint. Even if you love your colour scheme and don’t want to make any dramatic changes, painting the same colour can make your rooms cleaner, brighter and even larger looking.

 

Flooring

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Your floors are probably the part of your home that takes the most damage. Even if you have a strict no shoe policy, they still face the constant weight of footfall and appliances and furniture, as well as spillages and build-up of household grime. Take a good look at the carpet in your lounge, then move the sofa. Is it the same colour, and thickness underneath?

Hiring a good carpet cleaner and giving your carpets and tiles an in-depth clean once a year can help them look and feel great for much longer, saving your money on costly replacements. If your carpets are well past their best and a good clean isn’t going to be enough, replace them, making sure to add underlay if needed, or just add some soft rugs to the worst areas.

 

Utilities

Your home MOT shouldn’t just be about keeping your home looking good and functioning at its best. It can also be an excellent chance to save yourself some money. Even if you think that you’ve got the best electricity rates, it’s worth looking at comparison sites or checking the tariffs offered by your current provider to see if there is anywhere that you could save. Make sure you check your gas and electric, phone, entertainment packages, internet and insurance, as well as anything else that you pay for.

 

Appliances

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Appliances can be exceptionally expensive, and certainly worth covering with your home insurance. Some things, like TVs, you just need to switch on an off and enjoy. But, for other appliances, there is some maintenance involved. You should take the time to clean your washing machine and dishwasher, emptying filters and removing limescale and dirt. Small appliances like kettles and toasters need to be cleaned regularly too. But, these are things that many of us never do. Try to keep to a schedule of cleaning, perhaps doing one thing a month, or having the occasional day when you work around and clean and empty everything that needs it. This can hugely increase the life of your appliances and save you a fortune.

During your home MOT, test everything to make sure it’s still working at its best. Appliances that aren’t working well can waste your time and money and could even become a dangerous hazard. Use this time to fix, clean and repair anything you can. If there’s anything that needs replacing, look at your options for buying new or hiring a repair person. Sometimes, it’s more cost effective to replace than repair.

 

Decluttering

It’s incredible how quickly clutter can amass. A bit of clutter can be good. It can help your home to feel like a lived-in family house. It can even help you to relax and be comfortable. Very few people want to live in a perfectly pristine show home style house. But, it can quickly become too much. There’s a fine line between comfortable homely clutter and constant mess that causes stress and anger. When this happens, you can start to feel like your home never looks tidy, because not everything in it has a proper home.

Spend a little time, working from room to room, decluttering. As a basic rule, if you haven’t used something for over a year, you don’t need or want it that much. This may not apply to everything, but it’s a good start. Look at everything that you own and ask yourself does it bring you joy? Is it useful? Does it make your life easier? Does it save you money? If these are all no, then get rid. Take things to charity stores, sell online, and recycle anything else. Then, start being a little more ruthless about what you keep hold of going forward. An uncluttered house, where everything has a home, is easier to tidy and clean, safe, comfortable and a wonderfully relaxing space.  

 

Insulation

Is your home always cold? The truth is that insulating material and techniques have developed, much like everything else. So, even if you insulated your loft and cavity walls when you first moved in, there could still be improvements to make. Take a look at your options and add other smaller measures such as lined curtains and draft excluders to keep your home as warm and efficient as possible.

 

Cleaning

Once you’ve done all of this, and your home is decluttered, safe, well decorated and efficient, it’s time to clean. Work top to bottom, deep cleaning each room and doing all of those things you usually miss like washing duvets or cleaning curtains.

This might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t all need to be done on the same day. Or even in the same month. Your MOT is your chance to work around your home, checking things and writing a list of what needs doing. You can then take your time to work through your list and complete jobs.

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