How to Create a Homeowner’s Journal

Once you become a homeowner, you can forget about calling the landlord or superintendent if something breaks—you’re now responsible for maintenance and repairs. Let’s face it: there’s a plethora of tasks and projects to stay on top of to keep your home in top shape, everything from replacing the furnace filter and cleaning your gutters, to testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and winterizing your lawn. You also have lots of important paperwork to keep track of, such as warranties and manuals for your household appliances and systems. The best way to stay organized is by creating a homeowner’s journal. Here’s how to get started so you don’t find yourself drowning in random reminder notes.


What is a homeowner’s journal? 

Simply put, it’s a smart way to organize the regular maintenance and repair needs of your home. With a homeowner’s journal, you can file important information about how your property works and keep a record of everything you’ve purchased or renovated since you bought it.

You can create a homeowner’s journal using a binder to collect receipts and lists, make a spreadsheet, or record everything in a spiral notebook with divider tabs. You can use digital reminders on your smartphone to alert you to recurring tasks, or you can find a home maintenance checklist online. You can also dedicate a file cabinet or storage box with hanging folders to your home’s paperwork. Or you can purchase pre-made homeowner’s journals like this one, where you simply fill in the blanks. Tracking these things digitally, through something like a spreadsheet or home maintenance apps, is always an option, but having a physical copy of these records is an important backup and makes things easy to reference in a pinch.


Why is it important to have a homeowner’s journal?

It’s always important to have a well-organized tool to record maintenance work, repairs, budgets and details about your home’s systems and equipment. Down the road if you sell your home, presenting potential buyers with a homeowner’s journal shows you’ve taken excellent care of the property. Plus, your REALTOR® is going to ask for these documents and records anyway, so having everything in one spot will hopefully save you the hassle!


What should be included in a homeowner’s journal?

Here are some of the things you should collect:

  • purchase titles, home inspection reports, appraisals, home warranty, and real estate information;
  • mortgage information;
  • blueprints of the house and survey of the property;
  • your REALTOR®, contractors, landscapers, and other trusted professionals;
  • warranties and user manuals for large appliances and systems;
  • renovation dates;
  • maintenance records, such as when the roof was replaced or septic inspected;
  • utility providers;
  • homeowner’s insurance paperwork; and
  • aesthetic choices, such as paint colours and flooring types.


What’s the best way to organize a homeowner’s journal?

Think about what makes sense for the way you like to organize things in general. The easiest way to format a homeowner’s journal is by season or by month. This way, you can create an easy-to-follow schedule of regular maintenance tasks. For example, spring is when you can check that the roof isn’t leaking, and fall is the perfect time to plant flower bulbs in the garden.

You can also organize your journal by category, such as plumbing, electrical, appliances, paint and so on. Maybe you want your log organized by interior versus exterior jobs, or divided by rooms in the house—keep manuals and warranties for your sound system, home theatre, and gas fireplace in the “living room” section, for example.

Within each section, keep track of maintenance tasks you perform, including lists of supplies, models and part numbers, and paint brands or colours. Keep detailed notes of what repairs were made and when, and which appliances—such as your water heater—will need replacement and when.

Set up a contractor’s section, where you can list contact information for repair people so you can retrieve that information quickly when you need it.


Running your home will go smoothly with a journal

Keeping track of all the work, maintenance, or improvements in and around your property makes it easier to budget, stay organized and take care of your home. Figure out the best system for you, one that you can stick with for years to come.


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