If you’re preparing your annual chore and project calendar for the new year, add an item – a fun one, I promise – near the top.
Check out all the new home maintenance and improvement apps for today’s smartphones. Some will keep track of those regular chores for you and send you reminders when it’s time to wash the windows or clean the gutters. Others will help you choose paint colors or, if you’re way more ambitious, estimate the amount of drywall you’ll need for that addition you’re planning.
If you Google “best home maintenance apps,” one you’re sure to discover is HomeSavvy. It has been featured in both This Old House and Wired magazines. It’s for iPhone and Androids, and it’s free.
You create a profile of your home, which determines what chores you ought to tackle. Then you set the app to send you a reminder.
Here are a few more:
• Houzz: The popular design and decorating site – with more than 325,00 stunning photos – offers free apps for Android and iPhone. Houzz can be addictive. Check it out when you’re looking for ideas. It’s way better than “Angry Birds.”
• Sherwin Williams Color Snap: I love this one. Use your phone to take a picture of a wall color you want to match or a sofa you want to complement, and the app offers color samples for you to peruse. Take it with you to the paint store. (No more lugging a painted closet shelf into the store to match the color because that old can of touch-up paint has disappeared from the garage.)
• Handy Man DIY: Plug in your room measurements and this app calculates how much flooring, trim or paint you need for your project. It also offers how-to videos to walk you through some complicated work. For iPhone, this one is $1.99.
• Stanley Level: You’ll find lots of apps with levels and plumb bobs. I wrote about this one from Stanley a while back. It’s free for iPhone, and even features a bubble so it looks like the level in your toolbox.
The best app for you depends on what’s available for your phone, of course, and how you plan to use it. Be sure to read the reviews to see whether an app will accomplish what you want. For instance, some users say that HomeSavvy, as complete as it is, just isn’t quite customizable enough.
While you’re at it, plug in contact numbers for plumbers, electricians and other service people you turn to regularly. And send yourself reminders to keep service contracts up to date.
Checking under the house, just as a routine precaution – I’ve been “forgetting” that for a couple of years. I think I’ll send myself a meeting reminder so it won’t sneak past me in 2013.