Moving into a new home is so wonderful…and sometimes, oh so stressful. Walking through your new home, running your fingers across the newly painted walls, smelling the new carpet then turning the corner into your shiny, new, never-been-used kitchen to find a dozen or so user manuals and warranty cards sitting on the counter.
One for the dishwasher, range, microwave, gas fireplace, water heater, furnace, garage door opener, humidifier, windows and even your toilets and sinks. Then you may have to purchase a lawn mower, weed wacker, garden hose, window coverings, drapes, and an large screen tv. Ok, maybe not the TV but the rest is pretty standard. How do you keep track of what to do and when to do it?
The first step is to gather the manuals, warranty information and receipts and put them in a box or filing cabinet drawer. Fill out the warranty cards and send them in. This is important since you will probably not get the receipt from your builder. Staple or clip the rest of the warranty information and receipts (if applicable) to the corresponding user manual. Then arrange them in a logical order; large and small kitchen appliances, outdoor tools, furnishings, windows and doors, or something that makes sense to you. So when your new lawn mower stops firing up, you can grab the manual for instruction, and if that doesn’t work, the warranty card and receipt to get it repaired or replaced. If an appliance goes wrong, contact the manufacturer for repair, no receipt required if the warranty information was sent in.
The second step is to familiarize yourself with your home. Locate all of your shut off valves. Your indoor and outdoor water shut off, your fireplace shut off, electricity breaker switches and even your toilet shut off. This is useful in emergencies both large and small; earthquakes to toilet overflow.
Third, create a home care and maintenance calendar. A poorly maintained home can lower your resale value. Nobody wants to buy someone else’s dirt or maintenance problems. Start with a list of the tasks you need to do throughout the year. Each season will have it’s own list of tasks.For example, water heaters should be flushed a couple of times a year according to Consumer Reports, and they show you how to do it. Air conditioning units need to be cleaned and inspected before you turn them on each year (this video on Youtube can guide you). If you don’t know where to start, Lifehacker.com has a great article called “how to put your home own autopilot“.
Lastly, decide what tasks are DIY and which tasks will need a professional. You may feel comfortable spraying for bugs, but cleaning out a p-trap might be a bit frightening. You can learn almost anything from the internet these days, but some tasks require experience and knowledge. It’s good to acknowledge your limitations.
Regular maintenance can make your home more comfortable and extend the life of your appliances. With a little organization you can maintain your home like a boss.