Tag Archives: Living Lists

Keeping Track of Home Upgrades and Repairs

An old photo of our new home, the original Davenport Estate, 1880

In 2010 we sold our three-bedroom condo and upgraded to a house. Though the condo was beautiful with amazing views of Mt. Hood, forests and the resident turkey vultures, we had simply outgrown it. It had been purchased in 2004 before the market took a dive, so despite the downturn we were able to sell it for a good price.

Choosing a new location was easy, driven by a desire to remain in my son’s school district. Where we ended up was just a mile up the street in the Southwest Hills/Portland Heights. Our new residence was built in 1886, one of the first homesteads in the neighborhood back then. In fact, the realtor left us a framed picture if the original house that had been hanging on the wall when we did an initial walk-through. It’s a cool piece of history. Thankfully, the house has been well maintained and upgraded, but as with any house there are still things to be done.

A number of upgrades were completed during the home buying process – new sewer line, safety upgrades, etc. – with the home inspector uncovering other repairs that should be resolved in the years ahead, e.g. roofing replacement. Using the inspector’s report, I decided to create a home repair/upgrade list in Google Docs.

I created a simple spreadsheet that included:

  • Date – estimated date of repair to easily sort by
  • Area – the area of the home that needs the repair, e.g. living room
  • Type – whether it’s a repair, replacement or upgrade
  • Repair – explanation of the repair
  • Cost – estimated cost
  • Notes – any additional notes

The list now includes several high priority projects that require attention in the next few years. It helped me see that the roof upgrade will be the most costly and most needed, and I’ve started a modest savings account for that, so it’s not a big hit (and so that we don’t have to use credit).

If you want to use something similar, here’s a blank sample home repair spreadsheet.


  • I did my best to assign costs and timing to each repair/upgrade to help me sort by priority. This also helps me understand what kind of funds will be needed and when, so the saving can begin now.
  • Also included are other projects intended to help boost resale value, as well as some cosmetic upgrades.
  • When a project is completed, I move it to the “completed” section and indicate the year it was done plus key details that may prove useful. For example, we just had a new furnace installed so I added the make/model and info about its efficiency. That way, when we go to resell several years from now (to trade up for a place with land for horses) we’ll be able to share with our realtor a list of upgrades that should add to the house’s value.

Something to note: this spreadsheet does not include regular home maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters or re-caulking the bathroom. In a later post, I’ll explain how I track those.

Thoughts? Feedback? Suggestions? Leave a comment and let me know!

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The Perennial List-Maker

Melissa and Fof

I constantly make lists to organize my life. It’s how I get things done. Without them I would be lost  – especially now while I’m expecting baby number two and am a little more forgetful than usual.  I have lists for everything, from frequently used lists like running errands and gift giving, to work-in-progress lists like college scholarships for my 16-year old son and places I want to travel, to “living” lists like my ultimate music playlist, to archival lists like books I’ve read and other miscellany. Some folks may be able to keep this info in their heads, but I’m not one of them. So I rely on lists.

My personal lists used to live only on paper, but are now organized digitally via Evernote. It’s the simplest way to create and manage a list that is accessible via my iPhone, which is almost always with me, or via a web browser at work, home or while traveling. I’ve used Evernote for less than a year and am quite a novice, but it works well for lists. In the past I’ve used Backpack by 37signals, which is great via web but doesn’t come with an iPhone app that works well. However, I do use Backpack for lists that I don’t need to frequently access, such as books I’ve read and places I want to travel (including specific sites of interest). That said, nothing beats crossing something off a list, so I still use pen and paper for more immediate action items. At work, I use the “To Do” function within Apple’s Mac OSX X Mail to manage my bourgeoning task list, and it’s proven extremely useful. I almost always carry my laptop to meetings, so can easily add or amend tasks on-demand.

The purpose for all these lists is to give me goals to aspire to, whether they’re immediately attainable or more long-term. Some are carefully curated, while others simply help me remember what I need to do that day or week. I’ve used lists for over a decade to get things done, and more often than not, that’s just what happens.

Tell me, what do you do to stay organized?

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