I was recently posed a question by a member of the log home forum I belong to on how I was handling the time and maintenance of having a secondary home – in my case – our vacation log home located in Northern Michigan.
They wanted to know if I had enough time to enjoy the property and whether the maintenance interfered with the enjoyment of the time I am there.
I am here to tell you – it can be done.
Here are some tips for staying organized and saving time when your log cabin is your home away from home…
Our commute is about 3 hours and we generally spend every weekend at our log home.
As we just recently completed construction, there are still some items for the builder to finish up (such as nail pops in the deck, a bathroom drain that won’t work, etc.) and more projects on the horizon (landscaping, finishing the basement, buying a washer & dryer).
To make it easier to remember what I need to do for our log home, I created a Log Home Organizer Binder to keep me on track.
How To Stay Organized When You Have A Second Home
First, I recommend purchasing a binder, 3 hole-punch tabs and sheet protectors. Together, these will become your log home organizer.
Create the following categories on your tabs:
Builder / GC – In this section I have a checklist of items that the builder needs to complete, and I post a copy on the fridge. I mark off the items as he completes them. For example, this weekend he repaired the deck so I updated this list and printed a new one for him and my binder.
Vendors – I put the telephone numbers of all the vendors (builder, electrician, landscaper, local handyman, snow plow guy) for quick reference. This is also handy if someone is staying at your log home and something breaks, so they know who to call.
Local Phone Numbers – I put the telephone numbers of emergency service, hospitals, doctors, golf courses and favorite restaurants. Another handy reference for your guests!
Receipts & Warranties – In the sheet protectors, I put copies of all the receipts & warranties for our appliances (fridge, stove, TV) as well as furniture, etc.
Winter / Fall – Spring / Summer – Under each season, we put what household items need to be done such as changing the furnace filter, replacing the fire alarm batteries, cleaning the screens, etc.
Stain & Log Maintenance – Our stain company (Sashco) provided us with a schedule for staining, which I put into my binder. I also have the color we used listed here, as well as a checklist for inspecting the logs. Our log home provider also provided us with their literature on maintaining our log home – it gets put into this section as well.
Ideas – In this category, I put mini catalogs, pictures and articles of ideas for our log home such as future furniture I might want to buy, landscaping designs I like, etc.
You can add your own categories accordingly to suit your needs. Additionally, if you are located in a snow belt area, then you should have your procedures and systems ready for winterizing and protecting your log cabin. You might want to consider purchasing a freeze alarm that will call your cell phone if the temperature drops in your log home while you’re away.
If you do not plan on spending time there in the winter, then you should have a checklist for closing up your log cabin. Rob at The Cottage Chronicles has some excellent tips for closing up your cottage for the winter. There are also great books on the subject, such as The Cottage Bible.
With organization and all your information to maintain your second home in one place — such as a Log Home Organizer Binder — this should help ease the worry and keep you on track. Now you have more time to enjoy your log home!
My husband and I both dreamed of owning a log home one day. To us, the log home represented a return to the simple life — a connection with nature and really just a lifestyle. After 4 years of dreaming, planning, attending log home shows, and cutting pictures out of log home magazines, we finally realized our dream of building a log home in northern Michigan.