It’s that time of year again, when we look back to see what we’ve accomplished—and what we didn’t. So, we create a list of things we’re going to improve once January 1 rolls around.
What better place to focus your improvements than on your home? To get you started, here are some ideas for New Year’s resolutions for your home.
- Declutter my closets. We all have them—those hideaways where we toss, stash, and pile those things we don’t want to don’t use all the time but don’t want to throw away. Imagine your closet had no door. Would you still keep it at the same level of (dis)organization as it is now? If your answer is “no”, then resolve to making a change here. Take everything out of the closet. Everything! Purge those things that get pushed to the back, because you probably don’t need them. Donate usable items to charities or thrift shops. Organize the items you want to keep, in bins that can be labeled. And get rid of the miscellaneous clutter!
- Organize my garage. Is your garage like an oversized closet? Is the storage organized? Are you holding onto tools that don’t work? And can you easily find the ones that do? Plan a weekend to tackle this space. Haul everything out and examine what you have. Install pegboard to hang tools and manuals. Invest in garage storage cabinets or shelves. And while your garage is empty, paint the floor to make it look new again!
- Be more energy-efficient. Start with doing an energy efficiency audit. Your utility company probably offers this service at no charge. Look at your electrical and water use. Where can you do better? Take shorter showers? Lower your thermostat temperature by two degrees? Use the dishwasher instead of washing by hand (yes, it’s not only more efficient, but a whole lot easier!). Change to a low-flow showerhead and toilet? EPA-certified WaterSense products can save you up to $200 per year off your water bill. Sealing the drafty ducts, windows, and doors in your home can save another $200, according to ENERGY STAR.
- Take a DIY class. Improve your home improvement knowledge by taking a free class at a local home center. Learn how to fix a leaky faucet, caulk your air ducts, install laminate flooring, plant a vegetable garden, add a deck or patio, or some other skill or project that gets you excited.
- Finally fix that _________. Is there a creaky hinge or stair that used to bother you but you have now tuned out? Do you have a door that doesn’t shut right or a window that sticks? Make a list of those little fixes that never seem important enough to grab your attention. Then prepare for a fix-it day by making sure you have the tools and supplies you need to get it all done.
- Rethink my décor in at least one room. Maybe you have a room in your home that could use a facelift. It can be as simple as rearranging the furniture or painting the walls a new color, or as complex as a complete makeover from top to bottom. Updating your interior décor is always a great investment of your time, so create a plan, add a schedule, and make it happen.
- Build a budget for home improvement. Give your home its own savings account. Set aside money to cover upgrades and updates. Deposit some of the money you save on energy efficiency into this account. If you get a rebate or bargain price on something you’ve purchased for your home, apply the difference to your home improvement savings account.
- Do a home safety check. Check the batteries on your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and make sure they’re in good working order. Recharge your fire extinguishers. Check all electrical cords and outlets to make sure you have no fire hazards, including frayed cords, non-functioning outlets, and items covering cords or too close to outlets. Check the locks on your doors and windows, and consider installing a security camera. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a complete home safety checklist.
- Clean the places I usually forget. How often do you clean your gutters, vents, windows, chimney, barbecue, and kitchen stove hood? Do you pressure wash your patio or driveway? Take a walk through your home and make a list of those spaces and places that deserve a good cleaning now and then. And remember, if you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always hire someone to take care of these dirty jobs for you!
- Boost my curb appeal. Stand by the curb and honestly appraise your curb appeal. Is your front door welcoming? How healthy are your shrubs and plants? Could your house number be a little more attractive? Chances are, you could update your exterior with some more interesting planters, décor, and a coat of paint on your front door.
You know there’s room for home improvement in the coming year. Give yourself a calendar of tasks and projects and, unlike your dream of losing weight or breaking a bad habit, stick to the New Year’s resolutions for your home.