There are several challenges in running a home, whether it’s a house, an apartment, or a townhouse. You need to create an inventory of all your items and belongings, track all the paperwork with the house, and maintain or fix the interiors, exteriors, and essentials. Along with all that, you need to manage the occupants! It can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, these free apps to manage your home and household will ensure you are always in charge and on top of things.
1. Itemopia (Android, iOS): Home Inventory App to Track Items, Warranties, Documents
There are hundreds of home inventory apps to track all the items in your house along with their critical information. We believe Itemopia is the best of the lot because it’s completely free, extremely easy to use, and lets you manage important information about the part that matters more than things: your family.
Itemopia divides the home inventory into items, reminders, and family. First, you’ll be asked to add spaces, such as a living room or garage. You can share one or all spaces with family members too. Then, add items in that space by scanning a barcode to automatically get its information or feed it in manually. You can also add a receipt for the item, along with warranty information.
You can create profiles for each family member and add information like notes and photos, important documents (birth certificate, medical records, etc.), reminders, and receipts. It’s your family’s hub to get critical information in a jiffy.
The Reminders section is mainly to schedule services or chores around the house. Itemopia can alert you when it’s time to pay bills or house insurance or to get a notification when some warranty is about to expire. You can also create profiles for service providers like plumbers or cleaners and link them to these reminders.
Itemopia excels at being one central database of everything you need to know to run your household efficiently, as well as find critical data quickly when you need it.
United Policyholders (UP) is a non-profit organization that teaches insurance holders how to successfully file for claims. For homeowners, they’ve put together a fantastic guide on why and how you need to maintain a home inventory. The guide includes valuable tips on photographing your home and items, storing this inventory safely so you can recover it when needed, and a sample of the forms you’ll need to deal with to claim insurance.
But the best part is the free spreadsheet template (XLS File) that anyone can use in an app like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. You’ll find tabs for different types of rooms (kitchen, bath, bedroom, etc.) and different types of activities or interests (pets, books, car, emergency, etc.), already filled with dummy data. To get started, you’ll simply have to replace the existing text and numbers with your own. If you want to alter the existing tables in the sheets, check the FAQ tab on unprotecting Excel sheets and modify them.
If the default recommended spreadsheet is too simple for you, you could try the alternative Home Inventory spreadsheet made by a UP volunteer. It’s a more comprehensive way to document all the different items in your home, which also tallies the total worth of your belongings based on factors like category, age, business or home expense, etc. These are the factors that insurance companies will look for when deciding the actual worth of your items, so the spreadsheet is an excellent way to estimate your claims.
3. Homechart (Web, Android, iOS): Powerful App to Manage Everything in Your House
Homechart empowers you to manage not just your house but also your household. Once you’ve filled in all the data, the default dashboard shows your agenda for today, recent changes made to the app, and bookmarked shortcuts to access any of your data quickly. This data includes:
- Health log: Note your family’s illnesses, injuries and niggles, vital stats, and other health-related information on the main calendar.
- Notes and Wiki: Homechart lets you create a personal wiki that your household can edit for things like instructions on how to operate or repair some appliance, notes about any rooms, how to care for pets, etc.
- Planning and To-Dos: Create a task list for all the things that need to be taken care of in the house, assign them to people, and add them to the main calendar.
- Shopping: Access a central shopping list for all the items that need to be bought for the home, with categories like groceries, personal wishlists, gifts, etc.
Homechart is completely ad-free, and the free version includes the calendar, notes and wiki, health logging, to-do list, and shopping and grocery lists. The paid version ($5 per month) adds budgeting, meal planning and cooking, home inventory, and pantry.
4. Upkept (Android, iOS): Free Home Maintenance Reminders and Tutorials
There are thousands of small and big tasks you need to do regularly if you want your home to function well and look good. Keeping track of everything is made easier by the good folks at Consumer Affairs in the form of Upkept.
You’ll first need to select the type of home you have, which lets Upkept make certain smart decisions about the regular maintenance you’ll need to do. Then, add items you own, like a refrigerator, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, TV, etc. Upkept will ask for basic information about the item and then create a plan for its maintenance.
Once everything is fed in, Upkept creates a maintenance schedule with small tasks for every weekday. Each task includes an estimated time to finish it, instructions on how to do it (like cleaning the gutters or dusting fridge coils), and tracks your progress. You can then use apps to divide household chores fairly among everyone who lives with you. It’s the best implementation of a home maintenance guide that we’ve seen online.
The app is free for a month to try out, after which it costs $5 per month. Considering how much it will save you in the long run, that’s a great bargain. Plus, you are assured of reliable, consumer-first advice from Consumer Affairs.
Dan Ramsey and Judy Ramsey, authors of several how-to books for new homeowners, have made some of their best advice available online for free. The Fix-It Club has a simple principle: you should be able to repair anything that malfunctions in your home with standard tools and basic skills.
The Fix-It Club has over 250 free guides, split across categories like home interiors, home exteriors, electrical, electronics, heating and cooling, remodeling, plumbing, yard and garden, and several more. Each guide contains clear step-by-step instructions, with an emphasis on being simple for anyone to use.
Take, for example, the door repair guide by Fix-It Club. It’ll first tell you how a door works, what can go wrong with it and how to identify a problem, and finally, how to fix common issues with doors. Along the way, Fix-It Club marks where you need to be cautious and includes tips that can make the job easier. Throughout the site, you can expect this type of no-nonsense, concise, and clear guide to repair the most common house problems.
Don’t Just Organize the Home, Declutter It
Creating a home inventory, organizing all your important documents, and scheduling how to maintain the house is a combination that will reduce the chaos in your home. But once you’re organized, you might fall into the trap of saving every single little thing for a rainy day. Instead, make a conscious effort to declutter your home and life, and you’ll find that staying organized becomes much easier.