It’s that time of year when everyone decides what their New Year’s resolutions will be, and these goals often involve health and self-care: weight loss, quitting smoking, traveling, etc. While you’re dreaming up those big changes you’d like to make for yourself, you may want to consider some New Year’s resolutions for your home and give your living space a little TLC.
While home projects can be time-consuming, some goals–such as a cleaner house or routine maintenance–can be scheduled throughout the week/month/year to help you succeed. A house that is organized and running properly can bring significant joy to your life if you can make the effort to keep it that way!
Here are 6 potential New Year’s resolutions you can use to improve your home and living space.
Help your home “shed some pounds” by decluttering
Take some time to declutter your space and give your home a brand new look! Start with the most cluttered area of your home and go room-to-room, or use the KonMari Method to identify items categorically.
Give every item a home: a place where it can live and you can find it when you need it (but that won’t clutter up your space!). You may also want to consider making the most of your floor plan and moving some furniture around. Doing so can provide a fresh perspective for your home and better optimize your space.
It’s always great to donate anything you’re looking to get rid of that is in gently used condition. Here are some organizations that probably take donations in your area:
Give your home a “whole body cleanse” and deep clean every room
While “Spring Cleaning” is the most beneficial time to clean the outside of your home, you may want to get a head start this year and deep clean the most used areas or features of your house. Go room-to-room and start with the highest traffic areas, no need to try and do it all at once!
You can always get started with these cleaning activities:
- Deep clean carpets and floors
- Dust all surfaces
- Wipe down ceilings and fans
- Clean windows to let in more light
Here are some other deep cleaning tasks you may want to consider if you have time:
- Clean out your junk drawer
- Scrub the tile grout in your kitchen or bathroom
- Vacuum your refrigerator coils
- Change your furnace filter
- Clean all ducts and vents, including behind your dryer to prevent fires (you might need a professional for these)
After your home is squeaky clean, consider banning shoes in your living spaces to avoid lackluster floors and bacteria/dirt all over the surfaces your family uses most.
Help your appliances “get fit” and keep them in working order for longer
Your appliances just finished the rigorous holiday season and could use a break: give them a nice tune-up to ensure they’ll be around for the next batch of cooking, heating, and cooling! Consult your owner manuals and do some online research to find the best ways to maintain your particular appliances.
Don’t forget to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change old batteries!
After you’ve checked your appliances, take a moment to inspect for leaks. Retighten washers on dripping faucets or recaulk surfaces in your bathroom where old caulk may have cracked.
Taking the time for routine maintenance and small repairs now can help you avoid larger repairs and bills later!
Develop better “healthy habits”: save energy and money
It’s never too late to start saving energy! Whether you’re looking to help the environment or save a few dollars, these habits can help you on your way. Something as simple as switching old light bulbs to LED ones can save almost $100 per year (and they can last more than 10 YEARS!)
Here are some suggested actions to save energy or money (or both!):
- Turn off all lights when leaving a room
- Turn down your thermostat during the day
- Ensure there is a tight seal on all windows and doors
- Seal/insulate ductwork to increase efficiency
- If you’re planning any home repairs, buy maintenance-free materials: fiber-cement siding, laminate flooring, etc.
“De-Stress” by getting your household finances in order
Having a solid yearly budget can really lift a weight off your chest, so start the new year with a financial plan to accommodate bills, mortgage, travel, etc. You may be able to put a little more money away this year if you’re diligent!
If possible, try paying down your mortgage principal to reduce your monthly interest as well as the remaining interest on the lifetime of the loan.
Consider shopping around for new home insurance rates if your policy is almost up. Other providers may have obscure discounts for which you qualify, or maybe you’re in need of a reassessment. Whatever the case, it never hurts to see what’s out there!
Get mentally organized and make it last
Schedule, schedule, schedule! Make 2020 the year of planning and give yourself a break from the exhaustive effort of figuring out how to fit all of the cleaning and maintenance of home ownership into your monthly calendar.
Come up with a cleaning schedule to ensure your home always looks open and bright. That way, even if you miss a day or week, you won’t be so behind that you don’t know where to start.
Plan for monthly maintenance so there’s no wondering what needs to be done during which season. Create a maintenance calendar complete with monthly tasks so you have time for other fun projects throughout the year.
Hopefully, you’ve found these New Year’s resolutions for your home helpful, and may 2020 bring you peace and prosperity! Are you looking to buy or sell a home this year? Contact me today for information on how to prepare your home for sale or where to find houses that may suit your needs.
Traveling during the holidays can be complicated, and the thought of leaving your home may make you anxious. In fact, ensuring you’ve prepared your house for your departure on top of gift shopping, cooking, and packing can be downright exhausting.
Not sure you’ve remembered everything? Here’s a list I’ve compiled of 10 ways to prep your home for your absence. I’ve even included a printable version at the end of this post for your final walkthrough!
Make it Look Like Somebody’s Home
Have someone keep an eye on your house
Whether it’s a friend, family member, or neighbor, let someone know you will be gone. It’s best to give them a key so they can take care of the little things that will give the appearance that someone is home. This can include retrieving your mail, moving your trash cans to and from the curb, and watering plants. Doing so can also be helpful in the event of snowfall or a rainstorm so they can maintain your lawn and sidewalks to avoid fines (or lawsuits).
Install light timers and floodlights
There’s nothing more tempting for potential burglars than a constantly dark, empty house. I recommend putting 1-2 lights on a timer to make it look like someone is home. Or, you can try these handy smart plugs that connect to your phone so you can control the lights while you’re away.
Take All Necessary Plumbing and Electric Precautions
Unplug all appliances in your home and adjust your thermostat
It’s wise to unplug all electrical appliances in your house that will not be in use while you’re away. As a result, you save a bit on your energy bill and lower your risk of a fire during your travels. To save even more money, adjust your thermostat to an “energy saver” mode and avoid heating an empty house. A Nest can even help you control your home’s temperature from afar.
Protect your water pipes and turn off your main supply
Consider turning off your main water supply to prevent frozen or burst pipes when you return. You may also want to leave a faucet in your basement or bathroom running just slightly. That way, water is continually moving through your pipes and drawn out of your lines.
Prepare Your Home for Your Return
Clean the house and finish all laundry
It’s never fun to come home to a dirty house, so try to tidy up before you leave. Finish all of the laundry in your home to avoid throwing in a load when you come back. Doing so will not only allow you to return from your relaxing vacation to clean living space, but it will also prevent unpleasant smells or critters from settling in.
Clean out your fridge
We’ve all done it: you leave for an extended vacation and forget to remove leftovers from your fridge. Upon returning, you open the refrigerator door and feel the waft of stinky, rotten air as it hits your face and climbs into your nostrils. Do yourself a favor and remove any perishable items from your refrigerator BEFORE you leave.
Make arrangements for your pets
If you have furry friends in your home, make sure you leave them with a kennel or sitter that understands their needs. Write a list of medications, common behaviors, fears, and favorite treats for them so your sitter can provide the best care possible for your pets in your absence. If you use a sitter from Rover, they’ll even send daily photos to let you know your furballs are safe and happy!
Check all locks on doors and windows
Before leaving, make sure you’ve secured all of your windows and all door locks are properly in place. It only takes one unlocked door or cracked open window for someone to sneak in. As previously stated, consider leaving a spare key with someone who can check up on your home.
Check your smoke detectors
Ensure your smoke detectors are working properly in case of an emergency. If your pets are being watched by a sitter in your home, it may be a good idea to change the batteries in your smoke detectors before leaving to avoid that heart-stopping beeping that seems to drive dogs nuts.
Hopefully, you’re feeling more secure about your travels after reading this list. Don’t forget to pick up your PDF version of this list here, and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!