If you're a new homeowner, you've probably heard about nightmarish renovations and/or discoveries your friends and family have made after moving in. "We just wanted to do x, but discovered x, so we had to spend a fortune replacing x" and "we didn't realize we had a faulty x, which damaged our x" are just a few potentially serious scenarios that could be avoided with a comprehensive home maintenance plan. But if you've got a full-time job, kids, hobbies, and/or pets, creating and following a maintenance schedule is a lot easier said than done. Along with maintenance, home improvements can also be costly (and sometimes downright disastrous) if you don't have DIY savvy. However, the magic of the internet now provides you with the tools you need to simplify all the tasks that can make home ownership a bore.
BrightNest.com is a great new site that will help you schedule all the tasks you need to complete around the house to keep it in tip-top shape. Based on your zip code, time of year, type of house, and other considerations, it will automatically schedule tasks to keep you on top of all your home's systems. You can add your own tasks, too. You'll get an email every week, to let you know what's on the agenda for the next seven days, and if you have problems completing a tasks, there are tutorials to guide you along and plenty of experts from which to get advice.
If you're a bit strapped for cash, and into the DIY thing, you'll love DIYNetwork.com. This site takes the instructional aspect of BrightNest to another level. Need inspiration for a project? Want to read about the experiences of other homeowners in your situation? The DIYNetwork forums are a great resource for finding the information (and inspiration) you never knew you needed. You'll find instructions on lawn and garden care here, too, and plenty of empowerment to take on projects yourself in an educated manner.
Another on-the-cheap option for home improvers at any skill level is IKEA hackers. This site is dedicated to repurposing cost-efficient IKEA furniture and fixtures into one-of-a-kind solutions for homeowners. IKEAHackers.net is a user-driven compendium of hundreds of projects. These "hacks" are the contributions of visitors from all over the world. Most include links to full-blown blog posts outlining the intricate details of the project, with photos. Some even have video tutorials. Think of it as wikipedia for homeowners, with a Swedish DIY bent.
Organizing your home and learning how to maintain it and renovate it to your standards doesn't have to be a constant struggle. It also doesn't have to be soul-destroyingly expensive, unless you want it to be. Thanks to the good graces of technology, home ownership is now just a little bit easier and even more gratifying.