As our homes and lives become more complicated and full, remembering everything we need to know about our properties can be challenging. I have put together a house books for myself and also for clients when I was an organizer working with elders. It served as a useful tool when someone new was working at the house and could not figure out where something is. This book is also useful for a house sitter. I include photos, descriptions, names and contact information of people who work at your home such as electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc. Here is a list of the possible areas to cover. I suggest you personalize the book to represent your home and situation. Each property you own could have their own house book.
Directions: Get a 2-3 inch binder, dividers, and plastic sleeves. Pick an area and take photos and print then on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of paper. List the location, particulars about the area or utility, who services the area and their contact information. Put the photo with the corresponding information in a plastic sleeve. I also put receipts and other information in a plastic sleeve. Include a Maintenance Schedule if appropriate; for example – "annual checkup for generator happens in September. Call …. to set up appointment". Make a section for each area such as: Electrical - include electrical panel, sub panels, water heater times, pump controls, etc. Include information as if you are informing someone completely new to your property. Here, more is better.
Possible categories to include in a House Book:
Water system: pump, meter, etc.
Landscape/garden watering system
Out building explanations
Hot tub/pool system
Mail system – P.O. Box/receptacle
Garage door opener
Property Plot Plan/Map
Put together a separate binder with appliances/house equipment.
TV/DVD player system
Lighting system – indoor and outdoor
Audio system in house
Appliances, equipment information
Technical area: computers, printer, fax machine, answering machine, etc.
Have fun getting to know your house and property a little bit more.