Many household chores can be left for months at a time without any significant attention. Taking care of them monthly prevents build-up of dust and grime and makes the jobs quicker and easier to complete.
Cleaning the oven is a job no one enjoys. It is a much less arduous task if the oven is wiped out regularly rather than leaving it for an annual attack with harsh and toxic chemical oven cleaners. To loosen any grease or spills, place a tray of water in the oven and heat until the water is steaming. Turn oven off and allow to cool until it is only warm. Remove oven shelves and other attachments if possible. Remove the tray of water. Wipe over the surface of the oven with a hot soapy cloth, rinsing regularly, until the oven is as clean as possible.
Alternatively, the oven can be sprinkled with bicarb soda. Put white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray over the soda then wipe out with a wet cloth. Always make sure that gloves are used when cleaning the oven and be careful with hot water or surfaces.
Clean out the dishwasher by using a commercial dishwasher cleaner designed for this purpose (not regular dishwasher detergent). There are homemade alternatives as well.
Clean out the refrigerator. Turn the fridge off and remove all items. Have a large esky or cooler handy to keep milk, cold meat and similar items cold. Wipe out all shelves and surfaces with a wet cloth. If a detergent is needed, there are commercial vanilla fridge sprays available, or use hot soapy water (dishwashing detergent in water). To finish, wipe out with a cloth soaked in water with a few drops of vanilla essence. Repack all items into the fridge, making sure that all use-by dates are checked. Remember to turn the fridge back on again.
Check smoke detectors monthly by pressing the test switch. Replace batteries or check the unit if the test does not work.
Air doonas, quilts, pillows and blankets by hanging them outside in the fresh air if possible.
Dust skirting boards with damp cloth or brush attachment on vacuum cleaner. Use the brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner to dust cornices and around the tops of doorframes.
Clean bathroom exhaust fans and ceiling fans. Always take care when climbing to reach fans. It is safest to do this with someone else present to ensure that stepladders remain stable.
Clear leaves from gutters. This may not need to be done as frequently where there are few trees close to the house. In autumn, some householders will need to tackle this task more frequently. If leaves and other debris do cause a problem, consider installing some form of gutter guard to prevent leaves and twigs from causing blockages.
To ensure that no jobs are forgotten, prepare a household chores checklist. Each month regular weekly/fortnightly tasks will have to be performed several times, monthly chores once and less regular seasonal, bi-annual or annual chores can be distributed through the year to evenly distribute the workload.