Pop quiz: When did you last replace the batteries in your smoke detector? How many years do you have left on your air conditioner warranty? And what exact shade of paint did you use in your guest bathroom?
The answers to these questions are crucial for keeping up with routine maintenance and planning for repairs. If you’re not keeping them, you may be overlooking critical tasks to protect your home’s value. And some records — like a construction lien waiver — will be legally necessary when it comes time to sell your house.
But it doesn’t matter if you have the records if you can’t put your hands on them at the right time. The only thing worse than realizing you tossed the contact information for your roofer is knowing you kept it but can’t find it. You can save yourself hours of fruitless searching if you take a few minutes now to set up an organized record-keeping system.
Here are two easy options for creating a system. Choose whichever suits your needs and is easiest to keep up with, because consistency is key.
Set up a binder with notebook paper for recording repairs and pocket folders to hold receipts and other small papers. You can label folders by category, such as room, type of record, or whatever grouping makes it easy to find what you need. Warranties and instruction booklets can be hole-punched and stored right in the binder.
Set up folders on a cloud platform (like Google or iCloud) so your information can be accessed from any device and protected from a hardware crash. Emailed receipts and records can go straight to these folders, while paper receipts will need to be scanned or photographed and stored as image files.