Keeping a home clean, well-maintained and in good order can feel like a full-time job at times, especially if you have kids running all over the place. However, you’d be happy to know that the time and effort to do this work could be used in a better way: thinking about and implementing clever ways to reduce the effort and investment in maintenance over time.

There are small choices you can make that impact the maintenance effort your house needs, as well as big decisions that are best taken at the beginning of your stay in a home. If you are building your own place, all the better! You will have the full scope of possibilities to design your home into a low-maintenance, clean haven. Here’s how you can do it.

Choose low-maintenance materials

First comes first. If you are lucky enough to be able to carry out some extensive renovation work then you will be able to choose the materials you use. Perhaps you don’t even need full-on renovation projects. Sometimes a space can benefit from bits and pieces like a new bay window to open up the living room, some new flooring in the kitchen or just some modern and stain-adverse carpeting!

For windows and doors, choose a material such as uPVC which tends to need less maintenance and less effort to keep clean than its wooden and aluminium counterparts. You may be able to install laminate flooring in your kitchen yourself – saving on installation costs and on maintenance costs – it never needs re-finishing since it doesn’t scratch, retain moisture or stain.

Keep your tools updated and in good condition

Having the right tools to do the job is absolutely invaluable – having well-oiled and rust-free tools could save you from hurting yourself or from causing unwanted damage when you use them after 3 years. They can be expensive, so take care of them properly.

If a screwdriver breaks, replace it. Don’t be left high and dry next time you need to quickly screw something back on. Make sure you always have high-quality basic tools, and try to keep chalk in your toolbox to prevent rusting.

If it becomes a habit to check your tools every time you open your toolbox, you will avoid nasty surprises. When the time comes to do a quick maintenance job, you won’t have the added stress of having to buy new tools or think about borrowing them from someone else.

Pre-empt your issues

It can take some imagination to be well-prepared for every eventuality. In order to cut down on your maintenance time, try to imagine what issues could crop up. If you’ve just bought your home, see if you can ask the previous owners what issues they had in the past and try to avoid these happening in the first place.

Buy a plunger before your toilet gets unceremoniously blocked. Secure valuable items to prevent them from falling over or from being pushed over by rambunctious house guests. Protect your floors where you see them being over-used. All of these imagination exercises and pre-emptive protective actions will help you in the long run!

Use technology to your advantage

Ever forgot to clear out your gutters, only to have it backfire on you, with mould and moisture in the walls? This happens to tons of people, but needn’t happen to you. It’s the twenty-first century!

Apps like this one can help you at every step of the way, from reminding you when you need to carry out crucial tasks to helping you write a shopping list for the job. You don’t even have to download a whole new app – you can use your inbuilt phone calendar to schedule regular maintenance at the click of a button, and to remind you at chosen intervals.

Make storage work for you

You can make storage work to your advantage by planning it carefully. This means that when you install new storage systems, try to put all the necessary items near to where they will be needed. This means not schlepping down to the shed every time you need a screwdriver, so you’ll be more likely to complete the task in the first place.

Keep repair kits close to the items they service, and consider purchasing furniture with in-built storage. This means you can keep necessary cleaning and maintenance supplies close at hand, easing your maintenance jobs in future.

All it takes is a little planning, but by implementing these tips you will make your life at home easier, especially considering homes need more maintenance than we usually think before buying them!