You love your home and invested a lot of money when you bought it. So it makes sense that you want to protect that money. Just like changing the oil in your car, your home needs ongoing maintenance. But there's no light that goes on to remind you to change the filter in your furnace, nor is there a state mandated inspection to make sure your home is safe and running efficiently. That's why these tips for organizing a home maintenance calendar is so important.
The simple truth is … home maintenance isn't fun, sexy or easy, but it is necessary! With today's busy lifestyles, it makes perfect sense that without some reminders on your calendar, you might never get around to important home maintenance tasks.
Home Maintenance Calendar Tip #1 – Keep a List
If you're honest, you can probably put a list of projects together in just a few minutes. In fact it's not unusual for homeowners to spend more time and energy rebuilding the list, than doing the chores … unless you have a schedule. So here's a simple way to create your list and get the chores done.
- Keep a home maintenance list on the back of a kitchen cabinet door, where you won't lose it. Start the list with 3 to 5 projects and as you discover problems during everyday living, walk to the kitchen and add it to the list.
- Add home maintenance to your family schedule, when you're updating the family calendar – once a month or quarter. Start by looking at the list of projects you've collected. Write next to each item, your best estimate of how long it will take or when you know it's time to hire a home professional.
- Be realistic with how many projects you can complete in your free time. Don't be afraid to get help for everything you can't get done each quarter, as the list will only get longer.
- Review your list at the end of the year. Tasks that need to be completed at least once every two years, should be added to a master home maintenance calendar.
Home Maintenance Calendar Tip #2 – Be Spontaneous
If planning isn't your thing, then maybe you want to focus on different parts of your home. There are lots of ways to break your house down into bite size chunks. What's important is finding a strategy that fits your lifestyle, so you're motivated to complete home maintenance projects on a consistent basis. Here's one example:
- Fall home maintenance – focus on curb appeal (the front of your house) and the kitchen, in preparation for the upcoming holidays and lots of company.
- Winter maintenance – pick several room/spaces where there's clutter. Tackle one area at a time, finding a home for everything or let it go (tag sale, gift or thrift store). Walk around the house and find orphans that now have a home. Fix bathroom problems to avoid costly water damage repairs.
- Spring maintenance – inspect for weather related damage (roof down to foundation) and get your yard ready to enjoy while the weather is nice. Combine all ladder work into a single day, but only if you're steady working that way call a local handyman. Spruce up inside rooms/space related to the outdoors – where gardening supplies live, sports equipment, etc.
- Summer home maintenance – if you're happy with your yard, put together a list of indoor problems (or outdoors) and alternate year-to-year. The key is having deadlines to get things done. Maybe you have time to do it yourself, or it's time to call a handyman because your first job as the homeowner is to get things done.
We've got lots more tips for organizing your home maintenance chores.
Home Maintenance Calendar Tip #3 – Pick Your Favorite Tools
With today's electronics, there aren't many homeowners who have the tools, experience and skills to do all their own home maintenance. So rather than delaying maintenance and repairs until you can buy the right tools, pick the ones you're going to master and leave the others to home professionals.
Pick skills to learn that you'll use over and over for years to come, and ones you find interesting.
- Plumbing skills and tools, so you can repair toilets and remodel bathrooms.
- Electrical skills so you can add the outlets you need for all those electronics, as extension cords are a good long term solution.
- Interior finishes from caulking and grout, to wood trim you can replace or add to give your home personality.
- Exterior building tools, materials and maintenance, if you like the challenge of working from ladders and ripping boards.
- Everyone should have an HVAC company handle annual maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems. There's so much product knowledge and evolving building codes, that you're better off relying on home professionals for these systems.
Using a Home Maintenance Calendar
Are you familiar with the checklist posted at your car service department? It tells you exactly what service will be done at each mileage visit. That's because our cars are virtually identical, all built on assembly lines.
But most houses are stick built, so they're all different. That's what makes a common home maintenance checklist challenging. We've got a Savvy Homeowner Guide, Putting Your Home Maintenance on Autopilot, that helps you put this key homeowner activity on autopilot … so check it out and let us know what you think.