10 Chores You Only Have to Tackle Once This Year

We all aspire to a tidy home, but sticking to a regular cleaning routine can be challenging. While some areas demand constant attention--think kitchen counters-- others will be fine with just an occasional brush with a vaccuum or dustcloth. Here are once-a-year chores that can be scheduled ahead, tackled once, and forgotten again until 2018.

  1. Get Behind the Appliances

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    Clean Behind Appliances Once a Year

    Moving the fridge, stove, and laundry machines away from the wall takes muscle, but annual maintenance pays off in longer lives for these household workhorses. To do a thorough cleaning, vacuum the fridge coils, clean the dryer vents, and wipe all the rear surfaces with a lightly dampened dust cloth. Then bust year-old dust by giving the floor a good sweep. Remember: when moving the appliances, be extremely careful not to disconnect any water or gas lines.


    Related: 12 Inventions That Do All Your Chores

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  2. Shampoo Upholstery

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    Shampoo Upholstery Once a Year

    Refresh your sofas and chairs with a yearly scrubbing. Search the supermarket for steam cleaners or spray bottles with a brush attachment; they'll help to gently lift dirt from the upholstery. Before you use a new cleanser, first test it in an inconspicuous spot. If the fabric's color and texture looks good once the cleanser has dried, you'll know its safe to use on the remainder of the surface. When cleaning, pay special attention to areas where hands and heads tend to rest—those are the places that need the most elbow grease.

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  3. Refresh the Bathroom Storage

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    Clean Medicine Cabinet Once a Year

    Here’s a good rainy day chore: open up all the medicine cabinets and discard any expired medications (the FDA provides guidelines on the safest ways to do this), old cosmetics, and almost-empty toothpaste tubes. Clean all the surfaces and restock the shelves. Then give the other bathroom cabinets a quick decluttering session, wiping down doors and interior shelves as you go.


    Related: How To: Get Rid of ANYTHING

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  4. Deep Clean the Oven

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    Clean Oven Once a Year

    If you use your oven constantly, you may need to do this job several times in a year, but if you're only an occasional baker, an annual washing should be fine. Run the self-cleaning cycle if your cooker has one, or arm yourself with rubber gloves and oven cleaner to make the interior sparkle.

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  5. Wash Walls and Touch Up Paint

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    Wash Walls Once a Year

    Give your walls a new look—without the hassle of a full paint job—when you give them a once-a-year cleaning. To start, run the vacuum cleaner's brush attachment over the walls, paying special attention to moulding and baseboards. Next, use a cloth and gentle cleaning spray to remove any smudges or fingerprints. If you notice any chips or scratches, cover them with a dab of paint leftover from your last remodel.


    Related: 9 Painless Ways to Keep Your Home Forever Clean

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  6. Sweep and Organize the Garage

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    Organize Garage Once a Year

    Pick a temperate time of year to clear out and clean up your garage or tool shed. Sell, donate, or trash the clutter , then organize all the tools and toys you plan to keep. You may choose to invest in new shelves and hooks—or else finally start using the ones you already have. Once your gadgets and gear are properly stowed away, give the floor a good going over with a heavy-duty broom and mop.

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  7. Brighten Up Those Windows

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    Wash Windows Once a Year

    Plan to do this chore in the spring, before you throw the windows open for a bit of fresh air. Pick a cloudy day to clean (sunlight can cause your cleanser to streak), then take a crumpled newspaper and a vinegar-based cleaning solution to the panes to make them sparkle.


    Related: 21 Timesaving Tricks That May Change the Way You Clean

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  8. Tend to Curtains and Blinds

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    Wash Curtains Once a Year

    Once your window panes are crystal-clear, take some time to freshen your window treatments too. When you remove your curtains from their rods, check the care labels, then either wash or dry-clean them according to their needs. While your window treatments are being washed, dust rods and finials, and wipe rolling or venetian blinds, using a cloth lightly dampened with cleaning spray.

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  9. Deep Clean Carpets

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    Clean Carpets Once a Year

    This job is a great one for late fall, when the family retreats to the indoors for the season. Keep the household healthy by removing dirt, pet dander, pollen and other nasties from rugs and carpets. You can rent a cleaning machine at your local home center, or have a service conquer the task for you.


    Related: 12 Genius Tips for Everyday Speed-Cleaning

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  10. Dust Light Fixtures

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    Dust Light Fixtures Once a Year

    Polishing your fixtures allows more light to shine through, brightening your whole home. Wipe down shades, bulbs, and metalwork with a microfiber cloth sprayed with a gentle cleaning spray. If you can’t reach the light fixture with a ladder, try the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner or use an extendable dusting brush.

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  11. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!