Take Care of Your Home Before It Takes Care of You

Being organized isnít only about getting your things in order. It is also just as important to keep track of those things, whether itís the contents of your home or the home itself.

This article will help you determine what you need to keep track of, and how to maintain records on your home. From simple repairs to major renovations, it is vital to know what is going on inside your homeóespecially behind the wallsóso costly emergencies donít take you to the bank.

Here are some tasks you should perform on a regular basis to maintain a healthy home.


Once a year

  • Take your lawn mower in for servicing before the spring
  • Take your snowblower in for servicing before winter
  • Have your snow mobile serviced before winter
  • Have boat serviced for the season
  • Take bicycles in for servicing
  • Seal deck, nail down loose boards
  • Give patio furniture a thorough cleaning before/after storing
  • Take hazardous waste to a collection agency near your home
  • Make sure your garage door auto-retractor works properly
  • Clean your barbecue grill thoroughly
  • Drain hoses for the winter and store in your garage or shed
  • Cover plants for winter
  • Have asphalt driveway sealed
  • Tuckpoint any crumbling mortar on your home

Twice a Year

  • Check roof for broken/missing shingles ∑
  • Clean out gutters from spring/fall debris ∑
  • Clean up your yard in spring and fall ∑
  • Check foundation for cracks ∑
  • Have your pool opened in the spring and closed in the fall ∑
  • Have your sprinkler system opened in the spring and closed in the fall ∑
  • Have cars serviced for upcoming seasons ∑
  • Check tire pressure in cars, bikes, etc. ∑
  • Take down/install storm windows for the seasonsóhave any broken windows and screens repaired
  • Fertilize the lawn ∑
  • Trim branches away from the house, remove dead branches ∑
  • Have your septic tank drained and cleaned as necessary


  • Fill your car up with windshield wiper fluid


Once a Year

  • Drain the water in your hot water heater ∑ Have fireplace/chimney cleaned
  • Have central vacuum serviced
  • Have insurance policies reviewed (Are they still the best for you? Has your life or home changed in the last year?)
  • Have investment accounts reviewed
  • Go through home and tighten screws, handles, etc.
  • Make sure all light switches and outlets are functioning properly
  • Check function of battery back-up unit for sump pump
  • Have air ducts cleaned every 2-4 years unless there are allergy sufferers in your home, or if youíve done construction
  • Check attic and basement for signs of insect or rodent infestation

Twice a Year

  • Launder pillows and comforters at least twice a year, if not four times a year, to deter dust mites
  • Flip the mattresses on your beds
  • Change the filter on your water purification unit (more often for heavy usage)
  • Change the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector 
  • Have your furnace serviced in spring and fall before the extreme weather sets in
  • Purge old cleaning supplies you havenít used in a whileódispose of properly
  • Pull appliances away from the walls and dust behind and sweep under them
  • Go through medicine cabinet for old/expired medications
  • Clean drains in sinks, bathtubs and showers
  • Check weather stripping around doors and windows
  • Clean out dryerís exhaust vent


  • Look through your pantry, refrigerator and freezer for old/expired food
  • Back up the files on your computer
  • Update computer Ďs anti-virus software
  • Replace air filter on furnace
  • Vacuum lint collection area of dryer, wash the screen in hot, sudsy water


Unfortunately, you wonít be able to catch everything before it becomes a problem. First of all, it might be hidden behind the walls. Second, you are not a trained professional in the field. The good news is, you donít have to wait until you buy or sell a home before having it inspected. A Home Inspector will do a thorough examination of your home with his/her trained eye. He can also test any mold to see if it is a harmful strain, and can test for radon (an odorless gas). He should also see problems you might not catch, such as plumbing, wiring and insect or rodent infestation. As a trained professional, he will know what signs to look for, that you may dismiss as insignificant. Donít make a costly mistake. An inspector is worth the investment, even if he doesnít find anything. Youíll at least have peace of mind.


So how do you remember what to do, and when it should be done? And how do you keep track of what youíve done? The easiest way is to create your own home repair folder or binder. Print out monthly calendars. Use red ink to record those things you should do for the month, like drain the hot water heater. Use black ink to record any repairs done on the home. Keep receipts and warranties in this folder or binder. You can separate your receipts by category if you wish. For example, have a section for Inside (then subcategories for appliances, structure, etc.), and one for Outside (with subcategories for yard, buildings, auto, etc.). You can keep business cards for companies you have used either in this folder or a separate box. Make a record of any companies that did an exceptionally well (or poor) job, so you know whether or not to use them again.

Just as you take your children to the doctor when they are young, and you go for your annual check-up, so too, must you perform regular maintenance and check-ups on your home. An annual physical exam can detect a disease early, and keep it from getting serious or costly. Early detection of a leaky pipe or cracked foundation can help prevent serious problems and costly repairs also. So stay ahead of the game by watching your home carefully, and practicing regular maintenance.


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