How to Organize a Home To-Do List

Confession: I am a list maker

I have multiple lists in different areas. Lists for my full time job, Home, High Level Monthly To-Do lists, Daily meal plan lists, Weekly Lists. Lots of Lists.

So this new house should be no different. The way I manage everything I need to do should carry over to the Fixer-Upper we just purchased and allow Collin and I to prioritize based on need, time and budget.

I wanted to jot down my way of making a list in hopes that it may help others that feel over-whelmed by this type of task. This post we will go through making a home to-do list, next post we can review my actual list for our new home.

Steps to Great Home List Making:

  1. Decide how you are going to organize your list
    • For home lists, I like to organize by room. So, to start, just list out every room (and potential room) in your house first.
    • I prefer to make home lists in an excel doc. It allows me to sort and filter by room, organize by column and quickly sum up a budget. I feel like I can see everything at a glance from an excel doc.
  2. Write it ALL down
    • Write down everything that needs to be done in that room. Include DIY Projects, things to purchase, projects you might need to hire people for, everything!
    • Make sure you note down anything you can think of, no matter how small. Having all of those details in one place, will let you feel less stressed, and get rid of that feeling that you are forgetting something. As you remember things, add them to the list.
  3. Categorize
    • Add a category to every task (DIY, Hire a Pro, Purchase)
  4. Cost Estimate
    • Start by assigning estimated costs to the tasks. This is a really important step – not to be missed!
    • This is does not need to be perfect, but you want to get a number associated with that task. For example, I always estimate a paint project at $45 (Paint, Brush, Roller Cover). I have all of the other supplies needed. Sometimes, I might re-use paint I already have, but I’d rather be under budget than over.
    • These number can be updated as you get closer to those tasks. So don’t worry if you thought you would spend $25 on a new lamp for a room, but can’t miss that $75 stunner. Just update the price and keep moving. Look for other ways to cut back when the time comes.
    • The reason I love to give a cost is it let’s you estimate (by room) how much the full project can cost at a glance. Also, if you find yourself getting lucky with a little extra money one day, say a gift card, or a bonus at work, you can quickly see your list and decide what you can chip away at with that money.
  5. Prioritize
    • I think this is the hardest part of creating a home list. You want to assign priority, but not get too caught up in this piece. Sometimes your going to want to jump around and priority might shift based on outside influences. If you are having a bunch of people stay the weekend, the guest bedroom might be bumped a little higher on the priority list to accommodate.
    • The system I use to Prioritize is a number based system. You’ll be able to see the detail in my home list post (coming soon), but essentially, everything that is Phase 1 gets a 1 in the priority column. Anything phase 2 gets a 2, etc.
    • Then I look at all of phase 1 projects, and assign 1.1 to the projects we want to start with. For this new home, the guest room is important to us, as all of our family is from out of state. If we want them to come to Maryland to help renovate, we are going to need to have a place for them to sleep! So all, non-budget busting projects in the guest room are given a 1.1. Anything that is more major for that room (New Dry walled ceilings) are given a 2.1, since we don’t plan on dry walling for a few months.
  6. Give it a Timeline
    • Now that you have a list of To-Do’s and priority, start assigning expected dates/timelines to those. An example would be that we need new windows, but due to budget and completing priorities, it will need to wait a few months.
    • Anther thing you can do, is add how much work items would take. For example, I need to build a shelf. There is no specific day I am looking to complete this project, but I estimate it would take 5 hours to do. So instead of a complete date, I will add the 5 hours. Then when I have a few hours free, I can review the list and pick something that fits within the time I have available.
  7. Tackle
    • Just get going! Start with your priority items and just get moving! This is the hardest part, but if you are prepared with a great list, you’ll know exactly where to start!

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