Eat healthier, exercise regularly, save more money. You know these common new year resolutions to improve your health and finances. But what about your home?
Many of us continue to work, study, and relax at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Improving these spaces can create a healthier, happier environment for the coming year.
Here are six new year resolutions for your home that are worth keeping in 2021.
Clear the Clutter and Get Organized
Decluttering is one of the most popular new year resolutions people make. We get new stuff throughout the year, especially around the holidays. We rarely take the time, though, to donate or throw away items we no longer wear or use.
Create a list of all areas in your home that need organizing and go through them room by room. Sort items you no longer need into four boxes labeled “Recycle,” “Donate,” “Sell,” and “Trash.” Anything you decide to keep should have a designated place in your home.
Develop a System for Cleaning
Keeping your house clean can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Creating a schedule of daily, weekly and monthly chores can help you get organized. Dishes should be dealt with every day, but your oven may only need to be cleaned monthly depending on use.
Focus on one type of cleanup at a time to keep up your momentum. Wipe down counters and cabinets one day, moving on to sweep and vacuuming the next.
If you have kids or other family members, enlist their help. One person can clean windows and mirrors while the other straightens up the living room. This will leave more time for everyone to enjoy the clean house when you’re done.
Save Energy With Eco-friendly Upgrades
Small improvements can make your home more energy efficient and lead to big savings. As lightbulbs burn out around your home, replace them with eco-friendly LED bulbs. LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs.
Appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, washers, and dryers have become much more energy efficient in recent years as well. Consider replacing rather than repairing them next time there’s an issue. You’ll save money on your energy bills while also helping the environment.
Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
Checking HVAC air filters, caulking windows, doors, and foundation cracks, and monitoring for roof leaks are examples of important projects that should be done throughout the year. Catching minor problems before they become big problems can save you money and protect your home’s resell value.
Set Aside Home Improvements Budget
Routine maintenance can extend the life of a home’s structures and systems. Everything ultimately wears down over time though. Budgeting for a larger home improvement project each year will make sure you are covered should unexpected issues occur.
Popular advice suggests setting aside one percent of your home’s sale price or $1 per square foot per year for ongoing maintenance. You should also consider factors such as your home’s age or the climate where you live. Homes where flooding, high winds and other extreme weather are common may experience more exterior issues over time.
Make Your Home Safer
Having a clean or clutter-free home is nice, but having a safe home is essential. Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis and replace the batteries when necessary. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and avoid common fire hazards.
If you have an emergency kit, January is the perfect time to replace any expired items. If you haven’t started an emergency kit, key items to include are water, non-perishable food (for your family and your pets), flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, blankets, and prescription medications. Store everything in backpacks or plastic containers with handles that are easy to transport should you need to evacuate your home.