New year’s resolutions usually center around self-improvement, not home-improvement. But the home is an important part of life – it’s where we spend most of our time and has an impact on our day-to-day health and happiness. So this year, let your home in on the new year’s resolution fun!
1. Safety First: Home safety should be at the top of your home resolution list each and every year. Pay special attention to these areas:
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test smoke detectors monthly and replace detectors every 10 years.
Fire Education: Review (or create) your family’s fire escape plan, detailing how to prevent fires, what to do in a fire, and where all fire extinguishers are located. Visit the Red Cross website to learn more about home safety plans.
Dryer Vents: Clean dryer vent to prevent lint build up.
Security: Inspect all entry points of your home from both the interior and exterior, ensuring all doors and windows latch properly and locks show no signs of wear. Keep shrubs, trees, and bushes trimmed and add motion lights to both the front and back yard. For added peace of mind, install a security alarm, video door-bell, or surveillance cameras.
2. Conserve Energy: Both the environment and your budget will benefit from this resolution. Monitor water usage, install LED light bulbs, and purchasing energy efficient appliances are all great ways to reduce consumption, in addition to:
Power Strips: Purchase smart power strips to reduce ‘phantom loads’ or energy consumed by electronics that are plugged in while off or on standby.
Programmable Thermostat: Heating and cooling account for nearly half of the average home’s utility costs. A programmable thermostat can reduce overall consumption by lowering or turning off your home’s HVAC unit when you’re not home or asleep.
Air Leaks: Inspect your home for leaks where warm or cool air can be entering/escaping. Check for gaps around windows, doors, vents, plumbing, and electrical outlets.
3. Pick a Project: Repaint the kitchen. Fix the backyard fence. Update the bathroom tile. Install shelving in your closets….Most likely you have multiple items on your home’s to-do list. And, most likely, the thought of tackling your home’s to-list is mentally, physically, and financially overwhelming. Keep your to-do list simple this year and just picking one project to focus on. Yup, just one. There will be less intimidation when starting (and finishing) the project, and the feeling of accomplishment may inspire you to take on another project before the year is up!
4. Kitchen Clean-Out: Cleaning out your fridge and pantry is an effective and simple way to give your home a fresh start in the new year. Take out every item, throw away anything that is old or expired, and reorganize the space for better functionality. And don’t hesitate to donate any unwanted boxed or canned food that has yet to expire.
5. Review Expenses: Take some time to review your home’s monthly and yearly expenses. What is your average power, water, and gas bill? How much are you paying for cable, phone, internet, alarm system, yard maintenance, housekeeping, pest control, etc… In doing a thorough review, you may find services or expenses that can be reduced or eliminated entirely.