When it comes to keeping track of your home’s maintenance needs, will you go for all the bells and whistles, or keep it simple?
There are dozens of apps and online tools available to help track regular home maintenance tasks. A few PRGers checked out a couple of the most popular free options.
Erin and Mindy tried HomeSavvy. This app makes a customized maintenance schedule and sends you reminders when it’s time to take action. It also has listings of local contractors and vendors for services homeowners might need.
Mindy Liked: the maintenance suggestions and checklist.
Erin Liked: Some of the alerts are just right for the season: Interior spring cleaning and A/C maintenance. And you can scroll through the app and customize which tasks you want alerts for throughout the year.
Mindy Disliked: In order to access the contractor information, I had to enter my contact information, and then I received daily phone calls from one of the contractors for weeks! Also, even though the app asks for your location, the suggested maintenance doesn’t always necessarily fit with the local weather. For example, it suggested something about lawn maintenance when we still had piles of snow.
Erin Disliked: I entered that I owned a condo, but it still sent me reminders to fertilize the lawn, clean gutters, etc. These are not necessary for a majority of condo owners—heck, this is why we own condos! Also, I agree with Mindy about the contractor list; I’d much rather call contractors myself than have them call me.
Carolyn took a look at BrightNest, a website (with a mobile app option) that has short articles on many home-related topics, and builds you a custom to do list with reminders based on info you enter about your home.
Liked: The site is fun to visit. There’s a good mix of practical how-to articles (“9 Things You Didn’t Know Could Fix a Toilet”; “5 Common Door Problems and How To Fix Them”), ideas for projects I’ll never do (“Unique Uses for Eggshells”), and fun information that interests me (“What’s the Best Color to Paint Your Bathroom?”). It’s easy to set up a “reminder” (you choose when and how often) to do one of the projects or tasks, whether practical or playful. You can also add other household members to your account and share to do list items.
Disliked: It’s so cute it stresses me out. I don’t have time to “upcycle nail polish into mini flower vases”; I’m too busy trying to keep my downspouts unclogged … and all the adorable extras make me bite my nails a little.
Keep it Simple?
One thing we all noticed is that, as in many areas of home ownership, we are consumers, and these “free” apps are advertising to us. From not-so-subtle product placement to lists of contractors, we’re on our guard (and you should be, too!) about what’s great advice and what’s a sales pitch. And we know that the information we enter about our homes to get a customized to do list also helps the app give us customized advertising—which can be useful, but can also feel creepy. Sometimes we think a generic to do list app—or a plain old paper calendar—would be just as good.
Photos cc Osman Kalkavan and David Reber. Cropped from original images.