A list of home repair and improvement to-dos quickly becomes daunting for most DIYers. Regular maintenance and seasonal tasks always find their way to the top of the list, making it difficult to ever get to the bigger projects. There are only so many hours in a Saturday afternoon.

The sheer number of things to keep track of leaves amateur repairmen confounded and results in a surrender before the job has begun. This feeling of helplessness often prevents homeowners from re-attempting any home improvement projects in the future, a vicious circle, particularly for a young or first-time owner.

The good news is that this feeling of helplessness is often NOT the result of a core lack of home improvement skills, but rather a simple matter of organizing and understanding the requirements and steps in any particular task. Thus, as a homeowner, you can easily take on a project on your own by keeping a well-organized homeowner journal.

Reasons to Use a Homeowners’ Journal

Organization. The journal provides one place for all things home repair. You can now leave the world of Post-Its on appliances and permanent marker on paint cans. Everything from paint chips to repair companies go in one spot.

History. Roeshel from Pittsburgh’s own DIYshowoff.com shared her experience with home repair journals and why she is thankful that the previous owner knew about them, too.

“One of the things I loved about our home buying experience was that it came with a ledger. We found it after we closed in a cabinet. The previous owner recorded home related maintenance things dating back to the 1960s! What a great idea, right? It’s how we knew the strange lights lining an area in the back yard were added to light up a boccie court, something that had completely stumped us. We were able to see our home’s history and continue the tradition of adding our own notes to the ledger.”

Finding the Right Home Repair Journal

Creating a home repair journal is easy once you know the style that is best for you. Some find a digital file easiest while others, myself included, prefer a paper copy that can join us in the garden. I suggest that you look at both.

The Excel template from Microsoft includes a great quarterly and seasonal checklist for plumbing, electrical, appliances and miscellaneous points of inspection around the house. They have done half of the (easy) work for you.

Home repair log from Microsoft

The hard copy is more a journal than a checklist. Once printed, you can provide your own information on the lines and white space. Simply add the date, area of the house, any products being used, a company or contractor, a date to revisit the project and plenty of notes.


Remember that even the most complex and daunting projects can be broken down into a number of simple and easily-managed steps. Maintaining a journal helps simplify home improvement projects and organize the to-do list so we can begin checking off items on it. And, at the very least, the next owner might appreciate it.

About Adam Packard

Adam Packard has been a marketing professional for over 10 years. During that span he has spent time in the gaming, racing, entertainment and real estate industries. Outside of the office, he enjoys all types of sports, including basketball, baseball, golf & harness racing. He resides in Moon Township, with his wife Jackie and two sons Nicholas & Jacob.