Every year when January rolls around you vow to lose weight, save money or spend more time with family and friends. But what goals do you set for your home? In the spirit of new beginnings, we have researched some resolutions that will make your home a more beautiful, efficient, clean and green place in the coming year.
Here are five picks for the best home improvement resolutions for the new year and how to achieve them:
- Time to purge
One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to get rid of clutter. Over time, we end up acquiring a lot of things we don’t necessarily need in the home. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use most. All that clutter also makes your house look much dirtier & disorganized than it probably is.
This year, resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don’t use often or don’t love and donate it! After that,& really consider what you bring in to the home. Clear your counters of everything you don’t use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your & refreshed & decluttered home.
Another area that probably desperately needs some purging is your fridge. Post-holiday leftovers, dump the old foods, sauces, and scary things that have been hiding in the back of that shelf for way too long.
- Make it safe and sound
When was the last time you considered the safety of your home? There are a few things that every homeowner should do to ensure that they’re not living with a potential health or fire hazard.
First, check your house for radon. This colorless, odorless gas causes lung cancer from the radioactive particles it traps in your lungs as you breathe. The Portland metro area, in particular, has high or moderate levels of radon gas. And with test kits costing as little as $20 at your local hardware store, there’s no reason not to get right on that. In addition, make sure you install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. If a chimney flue or furnace vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you. Like a radon test, this is a small investment at about $40 for such an important safeguard.
Watch out for dryer lint. We know you clean the little trap inside the door, but most people neglect to clean the vents and ducts behind the dryer. Lint may seem innocent, but it’s highly combustible, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, accounting for more than 15,000 building fires a year.
And if you’re considering a remodel (especially if your home was last built or remodeled before 1978) consider testing for lead paint and asbestos flooring. It will have to handled properly during removal, or particles can be released into the air for you to ingest.
- Shrink your bills and your carbon footprint
It doesn’t take huge financial commitments like installing solar panels to go green. Plus if you live in the Portland Metro, this will be on your radar anyway with the new Portland Home Energy Score requirement.
Some of the simplest steps for energy efficiency include:
- Switch off the lights when you leave a room.
- Turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house and dial your heater down to 55 degrees at night.
- Install LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads. Try drying some of your clothes on the line and wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them.
- Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.
- Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.
- Give composting a try. Your garden will thank you.
- Create a system for keeping your house clean
- Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths – in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.
- Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high&to low.
- Focus on one type of cleaning at a time, it’s faster. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
- For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, leaving more time on the weekends for the park or the movies.
- Get ready for entertaining
Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update? You don’t have to go all out and invest in a new kitchen remodel. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates.&One easy update that makes your home seem more complete is adding a bit of foliage. Plants bring energy and life to a room plus make the air feel cleaner. There are great nurseries around the Portland area that carry a variety of local plants for your house.
Pulling out a new accent color from your existing decor can make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw to update your look. A colorful rug or runner can also help&pull the room together.
Finally, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television. That just might up&your chances for real conversation and connection in the New Year!
Have any other helpful tips to start off the New Year right? Share them with us!