It’s a new year, full of new beginnings. An estimated 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each year – among the most popular: to lose weight, get fit, eat healthy and travel more. Perhaps you’ve made one or two for yourself. But what about your home? Do you have goals to make your home a warmer, more inviting, clean or efficient space this year?
Here are our top picks for New Year’s Resolutions you can set for your home.
Clear the clutter. Clutter clouds your mind, adds to stress and makes your home look old, worn and disorganized. Fill your space only with the things that make you feel good, not useless clutter that drains your energy. This year, take time to work room-by-room, going through cabinets and drawers and pull out anything you don’t need, don’t use, don’t love, or that doesn’t work. Toss it or donate it to charity. Keep only what you use daily out on your counters, and stash items like remotes and toys in woven baskets for a clean, organized, simple look.
Do a safety check. Your home should be a safe haven for you and your family. But just how safe is it? How long has it been since you’ve tested your smoke alarms? Make the small investment (about $40) for a carbon monoxide detector to warn you if the deadly gas leaks into your home. Clean out the vents and ducts behind your dryer to remove any trapped lint, which can be a serious fire hazard. Secure heavy furniture to your walls to ensure your kids are safe. Take the time to test your home for radon, lead and asbestos — all of which can be harmful to your health.
Go green. You don’t have to install solar panels on your home to reduce your carbon footprint. By making small, inexpensive and simple changes around your home, you can reduce your energy bill and do your part to save the environment. Install LED bulbs in lamps and light fixtures. Swap out your showerhead for a low-flow head that helps reduce water waste. Switch off lights, power strips, your computer and other electronics when not in use. Reduce trash and other waste by composting biodegradable food items and adding the compost to your garden. Seal and insulate HVAC ductwork to improve efficiency and make your home a more comfortable space.
Work with a weekly cleaning schedule. Whether you have kids in the home, or live on your own, we all know how a busy schedule can limit time for housekeeping and cleaning. The best way to keep the mess under control is to work out a system for cleaning that includes daily, weekly, monthly, and even bi-annual tasks. Create a simple checklist that you can use to help stay on top of the housekeeping.
Freshen up with new accents. You don’t need a full remodel to give your home’s interior a facelift. Choose a new accent color from your existing decor and add more of it in throw pillows, accessories and perhaps a new rug, to give the space a budget-friendly updated look.
Rearrange. Has your living room furniture been situated in the same orientation for years? Take some time to move things around. Focus on creating space for conversation, rather than facing every piece of furniture toward the television.
Fix what’s broken. Set aside a little bit of time each week for DIY home improvement tasks, such as repairing that broken cabinet door, patching holes in the wall, or fixing that leaky toilet. If you plan to sell your home in 2018, make it a priority to take care of these small tasks now. Ensuring your home is well-kept and in good working order can help when it comes time for an appraisal and showings.
Take a home inventory. The items inside your home are covered under most home insurance policies in the event of a disaster, but do you know what’s in your home? From jewelry and art, to electronics and furniture, make a list of items in every room and save it to the cloud. Check out tools like DocuHome to help you track your home inventory.
Get dirty. You don’t need a green thumb to make give your home’s curb appeal a boost. Set aside some time to plant a tree or low-maintenance bushes and flowers. Clean up your yard by raking leaves and picking up sticks. Fill in low spots with fill dirt and plant sod or throw grass seed in areas that may be more bare. Landscaping and the exterior of your house is the first thing people notice, and if you plan to sell soon, you want to be sure that first impression is a good one.