The “to do” list for home repairs can sometimes get out of control quickly. Many home owners can become overwhelmed by a constantly growing list of items that need to be fixed. Even new homes will have issues that require attention. Keeping the list under control will help make home ownership more enjoyable and less of a battle. A loose leaf binder notebook, kept in a central location, can make a significant difference in getting home repair needs under control.
Decide what the most important repairs or improvements are and tackle those issues first. Whether you can do the job yourself or need to hire a professional should be the first decision that you make. A leaking roof or broken windows are priorities. Other repairs may not be. Once you are able to stand back a look at the big picture things may fall into place more easily. Finances may stand in the way of some repairs but once a complete list is created you will be able to get a better handle on the budget needed. Many times you will also find that an item on the list just really is not necessary and can be put off or eliminated completely.
Once the complete repair and improvement list is finished, planning becomes essential. There are several steps in planning that should be considered. If a room needs work that will require cutting the drywall it should be done before applying the new paint that is needed. Many times homeowners will complete a project only to find that much of the work will need to be re-done because of another repair that is needed.
Estimate the amount of time required for the job. If the work will require 40 hours do not start it during a particularly busy work schedule. Consider if the weather will have an effect on the project. Plan painting work for times that windows can be open for fresh air and humidity levels can be counted on. Make notes for repairs that will only require a short amount of time. If you find yourself with a free hour you may be able to cross an extra item off of the list. Just make sure that if something does go wrong, or extra materials are needed, there will be a place to turn to for help. While some supply stores are open 24 hours a day, 3 am may not be the best time to tackle a plumbing project.
Use the best quality materials that you can afford and do the work, or have it done, in the most professional way possible. Taking short cuts or using inferior quality materials may mean that the job needs to be done again in the near future.
If a repair or improvement is beyond the scope of your ability get help with it. Be realistic, otherwise you may end up with a job only done halfway that needs to be completely re-done. To save on costs you may find that you can trade your area of expertise for help with something you can not do. Look for local handymen that can tackle some of the items on your list so you can concentrate on the ones you enjoy the most.
Create two separate index card sized lists for home repair and maintenance needs and carry them with you. The first list should include items that are needed on a frequent basis and do not tend to vary. Furnace filters are one of the main items that should be included on this list. It is not always easy to remember what the correct size is and if it is written down it is much easier to take advantage of a sale. Other items on this list might include water filter sizes, faucet brands for cartridge replacements, the color number of the paint that is used most frequently throughout the home, or even the size of the blade used in a lawnmower.
The second list should include items that are currently needed or odd expensive items that you might find on sale. This list might include a specific lighting fixture, the sizes of wood needed for a project or the type and size of screws that you are running short on.
As new items need to be added to the repair and improvement list you will have a place in your notebook to include them. Add any information on the items required to complete the project. Include information on prices for the materials if possible. Add names of professional service providers, if needed, and estimates when you receive them. Cross off the projects when they are completed but keep them in the notebook. Occasionally looking back and seeing what has been accomplished can go a long way in motivation for the next item on the never ending list.
20 years of home repair and improvement work