Keeping track of paint colors is one of those things that I intend to do. Along with keeping the receipts for the shingles that had to be replaced and the information about the guy that repairs the lawn mower. And I did keep that information and I intended to put it where I would have it readily available. Good intentions, but not how it usually worked. Eventually, however, I found a simple, effective, three step solution to organizing my home maintenance information.
- Visit your local discount store and purchase a clear plastic file box. Clear is important as is having a lid. Don’t cheat yourself. Your file box should hold letter size hanging files and you will need at least one file for each room in the house, the basement, garage and outside. This is where you can indulge yourself and buy pretty files, bright colors or plain ole traditional gray/green letter size hanging files. Open your files and label them for each room and area. Hang them in the box and drop a pen down in there too.
- Determine where you are going to store this box. This is very important. Make sure the box is accessible. Consider putting it in the pantry or under the kitchen sink. Put it somewhere that you see it often and can pull it out without moving other things.
- Now you are ready for action. If it seemed too easy don’t be fooled. You still need to make sure the right information gets put in the box. And be careful not to become overzealous and put things that you don’t need in there. What goes in:
- Paint color samples. Write on the sample the paint finish, satin, gloss, etc. and the store where it was purchased. (Yes, I did touch up a semi-gloss wall with satin paint. Yes, I had to repaint the wall.) When you visit the store, take a photo of the sample and info with your phone and your will have everything you need. Sure beats saving painted stir sticks with the name written on them.
- Write the name and phone number of the mower repairman on the “Outside” file. Write the plumbers information on the “Kitchen” or “Bathroom” file.
- Save the receipts from your mattress and box springs in the “Bedroom” file.
- Save the information concerning filters for your furnace, air conditioner, or water system. Write down dates you changed them on the file or keep a paper inside for that purpose.
- Write down serial numbers and model numbers to be stored here. Small manuals can be kept in the box. (Check and see if they are available online. If they are, you don’t need to save them.)
- Write down the brand of lawn fertilizer and how much you needed.
File the information in the section that it applies to. You will find that the box is a very handy place to store a lot of useful information.
Warning: Do not save things that you do not use. This is not an idea box or a catch-all.
As you begin to use your file box system, certain areas will fill up faster than others. Your “Garage” file may soon evolve into needing it’s own box where you might also want to include car maintenance records. Start small and make sure the system is working for you and the others in your home.