How to prioritise your home projects

It feels like a century ago that many of us were wishing for more time to spend at home.

Suddenly, this is the reality for thousands of Australians. However, that in itself is a silver lining, especially if you have a long list of jobs to get to. There is no better time to roll your sleeves up and work through your household to-do list.

Here are some tips on what to tackle first and how to really make the most of your sudden forced ‘staycation’.

Start with a clearout and clean

Tidying will help you see the wood for the trees, so to speak.

You can tackle things room by room or cupboard by cupboard. Another tip is to try Kondo-style and declutter by item type. For example, go through your jacket collection, throw out the ones which are really past it and donate the ones you no longer wear.

Heat the Homeless and Clothesline are two organisations to look at for donating old clothing.

Before you throw things about, create a ‘list online’ pile. This can help you make some cash and keep items out of landfill.

Tidy your linen cupboards, wardrobe, kitchen, garden shed, garage and office. You’ll feel fantastic at the end of this process. If your children are home from school, encourage them to go through their books, toys and clothes with the same approach.

Once you have more clear space, get in and clean. Wipe down cupboard shelves, get right under the bed, lift the couch cushions and even have a go at cleaning the grime under the fridge. As a result, your house will feel fresher than it has in a long time.

Make a list

As you declutter, keep your phone handy and make voice notes about what comes to mind that’s in need of doing. You’ll probably spot some things as you go which you hadn’t even noticed needed attention until you were at home all day every day.

Choose your priorities

In times of COVID-19, the number of people you can invite to your house is changing daily so some priorities which require an electrician, plumber or experienced tradesman may need to be put off. However, you can still make some phone calls to talk about quotes for when things start going back to normal.

Make a list of priorities then mark the jobs that will have to wait in orange and the ones you can do yourself in green. Priorities may also depend on the fix-it tools you have to hand, should you be unable to make it to the hardware store in person.

The problems around your home which are top priority are the ones which are likely to lead to long term damage. For example, a small leak in your roof is a priority as water could be getting into the ceiling cavity and walls.

Another way to prioritise is to consider how a job can save you money. Putting up curtains could mean a lower heating bill in winter. Replacing a broken window will have the same effect.

Get to work

When working around the house, safety is of course essential. Always be careful and err on the side of caution. Be wary that if you tackle a job you’re not qualified for, you could end up making it worse.

If you can’t get a tradesman to your house, they may be able to guide you on a video call. Again, always refer to their advice for a job that’s tricky.

Here are a few easier jobs which you may be able to do if you find yourself with extra time at home:

  • Stain the deck
  • Scrub the walls
  • Attack any mouldy spots around your home
  • Paint a bedroom or two (painting requires patience and a systematic approach so find some YouTube videos for instructions)
  • Repair the fence or gate
  • Do some light landscaping to make your front yard look its best
  • Fill cracks
  • Rearrange the storage solutions in your laundry, ‘mudroom’ or entryway
  • Frame and mount some pictures
  • Put up some shelving units
  • Lay fresh turf in your garden
  • Rearrange your kitchen

Now is also the time to do some research on upgrading your home in more significant ways. Spend some of your downtime on Houzz and Pinterest to get inspiration for major upgrades.

Want some ideas on how to improve the value of your home while you’re spending time at home? Why not take your real estate agent on a video walk-through?


Read our report on how to have a successful home sale, even within these unusual times of COVID-19.