Homesteads can be a lot of work. Even a pseudo-homestead like ours is a lot of work if you don’t break tasks down into manageable parts. Given my love of all things aviation, it’s no wonder we employ a Homestead Maintenance Checklist to ensure that preventative maintenance is completed around the house. This simple checklist ensures that routine maintenance activities are not overlooked and helps ensure there are no surprises down the road.
Download a copy of the Homestead Maintenance Checklist in .pdf here —> home maintenance checklist2
Or download the checklist in Excel format here —> home maintenance checklist
Self-performing regular home maintenance is also a cornerstone of our motto; Simplicity, Self-Reliance, and Financial Independence. The self-reliance part is self-explanatory. The simplicity piece is also readily apparent to anyone who has “needed” a plumber at 0200h. Taking care of your home/family yourself is much simpler than relying on anyone else.
Longtime readers (Ha! we’ve only been here for about 3 months!) will also know that using your own hands to fix things is a key to Financial Independence. When examining “routine” home maintenance costs through the 10-year lens, it is easy to see that small expenses add up over time. A typical (and probably underestimated) yearly maintenance bill of $750 per year will amount to over $11,000 in 10 years.
The Homestead Checklist has been developed for our specific needs. It covers most basic household checks but is customizable to meet your own needs. The governing principal is to spread out home maintenance tasks so they are more manageable. Aligning these tasks to appropriate times during the year is also important; you likely won’t be painting your deck in January and there is no need to fix a cold draft in June!
Some suggestions include:
Think of your family’s safety first. Any item directly related to your family’s safety should be completed first and most often. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least quarterly. A quick check of your fire extinguishers gives peace of mind and taking 10 minutes to properly clean your dryer’s lint trap and exhaust ducting is time well spent. Put these safety items at the top of your list.
Do a walk around. It might seem too simple to suggest, but a regular walk around your house is very important. Check the condition of your siding, roof, windows, fences, etc. In the spring/fall of the year be sure to inspect exterior drainage/rain gutters. Are there any areas of ponding water around your home or basement windows? Preventing water ingress into your home is largely about prevention.
Inspect your Deck and Driveway. Whether asphalt, paving stones, or plain old fashioned crushed stone, inspecting/repairing your driveway each spring is a good idea. Same goes double for your deck/patio. Many people suggest doing this maintenance in the fall but planning to do this work in the spring gives you a time cushion to properly plan/execute this work in a non-rushed and stress-free fashion.
Focus on your Home Systems. Properly inspect your home heating system in the fall. Clean your HVAC filters and range hood filter. Empty your central vacuum canister and test your hot water boiler’s pressure relief valve. Inspect the insulated “shell” protecting your home including window/door seals, attic insulation, and potential sources of drafts. Focussing on the “systems” that keep your home running smoothly will pay dividends in the long run.
Clean, empty, declutter. Thoroughly deep cleaning your home is an eye-opening experience. We aim to do this about 3 times per year. Really get into every drawer, closet, storage space, tool cabinet, etc. Scrub kitchen/bathroom tiles, backsplash, baseboards, etc and note areas requiring repairs. Use this time to think critically about the objects in your life and their true utility. Now is a good time to separate seldom used items into a “giveaway” pile and a “sell on Kijiji” pile.
We hope this helps. Feel free to make suggestions on things we have overlooked. Preventative home maintenance really does not need to be complicated, expensive, or time-consuming. A checklist like this ensures that all (or most) of the bases are covered to prevent surprises when you least expect them.