Collect Critical Household Information Into a Binder
What do you think of this idea?
Help yourself and the next owner of your home
When you buy a house, be sure to ask the prior homeowners (if any) if they have information about the house's appliances, repairs, etc. When the dishwasher breaks the night before Thanksgiving you'll be happy that the previous owners have the instruction manual for the dishwasher—with information about who to call to get it repaired or, better yet, how to fix it yourself—in a 3-ring binder with all of the other major appliance information.
Do you have a binder or folder with all or most of this type of information about your house?
Things to Put in Your Home Information Binder
Manuals, receipts, specialty tools for adjustments, maintenance, and warranty information for all of the following that are applicable:
- Trash compactor
- Built-in water filter
- Garbage disposal
- Oven (and cooktop, if separate)
- Built-in microwave oven
- Ceiling fans
- Clothes washer
- Clothes dryer
- Furnace, including the size of air filter you'll need to buy and replace (It's also good to write this information in permanent marker on the furnace duct near the filter.)
- Whole-house air cleaner
- Heat pump
- Air conditioner
- The name of the paint or wallpaper on each wall (color chips or wallpaper samples are best, with notes as to which room they refer to), including the brand name and any code numbers associated with the paint
- The brand and color name of the carpeting in each room and the carpet padding
- Roofing material (shingles, adobe, metal, etc.)
- Garage door opener
- Alarm/security system
- In-ground sprinkler system
- Windows and doors
- Hot tub
- Information about any improvements you've made to the house, such as replacing windows and doors, adding a deck, or major construction.
- Routine maintenance schedules
- The plot of your land, including where underground infrastructure (electricity, gas, etc.) lines run.
- The landscaping blueprints, if the yard was professionally landscaped.
- Any home inspection reports done by a professional inspector.
- Names of the companies or individuals who have done work on your house.
- A map of your immediate neighborhood and the names and phone numbers of your neighbors are also quite helpful.
It's Not Too Late!
Even if you don't currently have a binder, and don't particularly want to hunt down all of this information, it's not too late. Start a large (3 inch D-ring is best) binder. Then, any time you run across information, you can quickly 3-hole punch it and place it in the binder. Also, any time you have work done on your house you can include originals (keep copies) of the work orders, lien waivers, etc.
Paint? Take clear photos of the paint cans in your storage space. Print them out and put them in the binder with the name of the place it is used (if you know it) written on the photo.
Wallpaper? Same thing. Information about the wallpaper is usually printed on the back side of the wallpaper for your reference. Photograph both sides and keep the photos together.
This speedy trick can be used with many of your appliances, too. Instruction manuals can often be found online (Google the appliance name).
With a camera/camera-phone, in 15-30 minutes you can have a somewhat well-populated home information binder with very little work.
Then, as things change, remember to add all of the information that you'd really want in there in case of a breakdown in that appliance or major scrape to the middle of your living room wall, the name of the repair contractor, etc.
Further DIY Reading
- Getting an Energy Audit From Your Utility Company Can Save Money and Quickly Pay for Itself
Getting an energy audit was the best $60 I've spent in a long time, and I'll recoup the costs almost immediately. It was educational and instructive as well as helping solve air leakage in my home.
- Make a Believable Faux Stone Table Top
Gorgeous natural stone is beautiful, but expensive and heavy. This DIY article details how to get the real stone look without the weight or price. Simple, easy, and inexpensive as well as durable.
- How to Use Sheer Panels to Make Inexpensive No-Sew Window Curtains or Mirror Dressings: It's Easy!
Simple, affordable, and fun window coverings you can do in an afternoon with no knowledge of sewing or drapery and without special tools (if a curtain rod is already there). Hang a mirror--decorate!
- Spruce Up Old Shoes with Micro Glitter: A Creative Idea for Upcycling
Add glamour to an old pair of shoes and save them from the landfill: apply micro-glitter and not only rescue but upcycle your shoes. It's easy AND fun! Use this procedure for many different crafts!
- Keep Jewelry Untangled and Ready-to-Wear
How to store jewelry safely, tangle-free, and tarnish-free. Also, right-size and rotate your jewelry collection for variety. And, make sure your jewelry box(es) are big enough to hold your jewelry.
About the Author
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