Keeping Your New Home Looking New

Walking into your new home can be magical. Turning the lights on and walking through the rooms, smelling the new paint and carpeting and seeing the freshly painted baseboards is so satisfying. Fast forward five years. Gouges in the walls, dirty baseboards, and that new smell, well, it’s a little off. Even the best housekeepers need to revitalize their homes with a little more than mopping and dusting as time passes.

Scuffs, Gouges and Holes: Wall gouges and scuffed baseboards can make any room look old. While your home is being built, ask for the color recipe and finish of all of your paints. Or have them color matched by your paint store. This is one area where close is not good enough. If the original paint was semi gloss and you buy eggshell finish, or your paint recipe is off just a little, it will be obvious once the paint dries. Purchase a quart of each color for touch ups and make the repairs as they happen. Make a wall repair kit with a pint of spackling compound and a spatula, a fine to medium grit (100-150) sanding sponge, and a small paint brush. Not confident in your spackling skills? Watch a video tutorial on Youtube and you’re ready to go.

Make Repairs as they happen: Don’t leave repairs for someday when you can get to them. Try to make repairs as they come up. Some neglected repairs can lead to bigger problems. A missing shingle can lead to extensive water damage if not addressed quickly. A loose screw in your cupboard door hardware eventually leads to a stripped screw or a hole that won’t hold onto the screw. Even neglecting to recaulk your bathtub can lead to mold behind your walls. Good maintenance done quickly extends the life of your home. Keeping a running list of repairs posted on your refrigerator or on your smart phone helps focus your efforts.

Smelling Dirty. Bad smells can happen in even clean homes and is usually the result of deep down dirt that may not be visible. Air fresheners and candles just cover the odors. Instead, focus on smelly areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to happen only in the spring. Wash down walls and scrub floors, throw the shower curtain in the washer, and spray those smelly sneakers with an odor neutralizer. Carpeting can also trap odors and dirt. Vacuuming more frequently reduces odors. Avoid carpet cleaning and deodorizing products if you can. They can build up and make your carpet dingy. Angie’s List has some great tips with big rewards.

Pet Odors: Animal smells can be particularly bad. Animals are attracted to areas they’ve already soiled. If not cleaned properly, they will return again and again. Using enzyme products specifically for animals breaks down the uric acid. Pets and carpets are not a good mix. Keep them off carpets if possible. Ditto for upholstery. Pet smells are especially difficult to remove from concrete floors and other porous surfaces. For tough stains this tutorial may help. Prevention is really the best remedy. Keeping a new puppy in a small, easily cleanable area while it’s being trained can avoid a lot of grief.

Update in Increments: If you find yourself getting bored with your decor or feel like you’re lost in a time warp, update. You don’t need to call a contractor or interior designer. Small changes such as a new a paint color or adding hardware to your cabinets may help you fall in love with your home again. Fresh window treatments or new blinds can bring any room out of the last decade. Add a few throw pillows and a new rug and you have whole new outlook on life. You don’t have to do extensive renovations all at once. Even small things can change the look and feel of your home. Need inspiration? has thousands of searchable design ideas.


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