The New Year inevitably brings resolutions: lose weight, live healthier, save money, find romance, etc. It's typical to make resolutions for yourself, but what about your home? After all, you don't want to be a slimmer, healthier, wealthier person living in a home you hate, right?
Believe it or not, the most common resolutions can be applied to your home, too! Remember, the trick to achieving success with any resolution is to have a solid plan of attack. So, let's get started.
It is all too common to turn our homes into nothing more than a storage center. Excess clutter cuts off the flow of your home and can be mentally suffocating. So, this year, make the resolution to trim some of the fat!
Start by losing some of the clutter around the house. How many piles, stacks, boxes and storage bins can you find in your house? Set up some guidelines beforehand so you stick to your plan.
Here's a simple place to start: if you have clothing you haven't worn in years still hanging in your closet, get rid of them! You can throw them away, have a garage sale, sell it on eBay, or you can get great tax deductions by donating them. Donating used furniture, clothing and books are a great way to save on your taxes. By clearing out and cleaning up, you can empty your house and potentially fill your wallet.
Like with any resolution, achieve your goals in pieces. For example, the trick to making sure you stick to your "house diet" is to avoid trying to complete it all at once. It's just too overwhelming! Just the thought of how much there is to clean and organize becomes so frightening that you end up postponing it for days, weeks, and even months. So, start small. Start with just one stack or pile. Once you're done, move on to the next. But be realistic by setting goals you can genuinely achieve and you'll be inspired to continue on.
You might try spreading out the labor. We found the most success from prioritizing the things that need to get done, and then putting them on a timeline. For instance: January - Closet, February - Bathroom, March - Kitchen, April - Bedroom, etc. By allowing yourself a whole month to accomplish a task, it not only helps you to finish on time, but you also get a well-deserved break in between de-cluttering projects!
The healthier your home is, often, the healthier you will be. Obviously, you're not going to feed your home healthy food, but you can make your home a healthier place to live. Making a few small improvements can increase the overall safety and comfort of your home.
Some great places to start are to make your home a bit safer by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A good rule to follow for smoke alarms is to have at least one alarm per level of your house. But a stricter rule would be to place them near areas that are more prone to danger and where you sleep. Smoke detectors in the kitchen, just outside the basement, outside each bedroom and at the top of any stairwell are excellent areas to consider.
Jane Tip: One great feature to look for in some of the newer models is one that uses a digital recording of your voice to alert your children of a fire in the house. A beeping of an alarm might initiate panic whereas your voice is something your children are already accustomed to waking up to. These are called Voice or Vocal Smoke Alarms and run about $50 per unit.
For carbon monoxide detectors, the cold weather of winter gives us more reasons to use fireplaces, heaters or to "warm up" the car in our garage for several minutes before driving. Thus, our likelihood of exposure to CO increases. You're most at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning if you have an attached garage, a fireplace, or use gas to heat your home; keep these areas in mind when you install them.
When shopping for detectors, look for those with warranties and low-battery alerts. Keep in mind there are some great models available now that are both a smoke and carbon monoxide detector. If you already have detectors installed, test them to make sure they're functioning properly. Remember, the average age of most detectors is 2-4 years. So, replace them as needed.
Another inexpensive and easy improvement that can dramatically increase the quality of life in your home is to change out the filters in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Most filters are as easy to change as a toilet paper roll. Simply remove the old one, check the model number and size, buy a replacement filter from your local home improvement center and place it in the system. You'll want to make a habit of doing this at least once, if not twice a year. A good way to remember to do this is to check it every time you move your clocks for daylight savings time.
Manage Money Better
Look around your home and find out where you're just throwing money away. Are your lights always on? Does the heat escape through cracks in your door and window frames? Is your thermostat less than accurate? By installing dimmer switches on your lights, fixing the cracks where the wind comes in and replacing your thermostat with a programmable thermostat, you're bound to be on your way to a better financial future.
Another area to consider saving is that if you're planning on any home improvement projects, this year now is the perfect time to plan them out. By mapping out the plan of attack at the beginning of the year, you can get a good handle on the household budget. Remember, that many home improvement projects might seem overwhelming at first, so it's a great idea to hit them one at a time, breaking them up over the course of the year to keep things smooth and easy.
For example, in January you might decide to install closet storage system; February - Install new lighting and a new mirror; March -Refinish Your Appliances; April - Make a New Upholstered Headboard. Take a look at some of our many how-to projects to help give you some ideas on what you might want to tackle this year.
Improve Your Love Life
You might be thinking, 'How would my home be able to improve my love life?' Well, have we got a surprise for you.
Your home is an insight into who you are. If it doesn't accurately reflect the person you want others to see, then it's time to make some changes. You can only be as confident as you feel and if you're embarrassed about the condition of your home, then believe it or not, you'll project that to others as well, often leading to a lackluster love life.
There are a number of how-to projects that can instantly make a dramatic improvement to your home. Remember our motto: it's not about the how-to, it's about the "why to." It may be gratifying to know how to install a dimmer switch, but if you know that by doing so you can turn a boring Tuesday night dinner into a truly special moment with ambiance and flair, you'll be motivated to learn to install one.
The simple act of painting a wall can dramatically change any room. But, step out of your comfort zone. Try something new; a wild color, something that makes you happy - just express yourself. Remember, this is where you live, so be sure you actually live where you live and don't just use it as a place you exist. The more you do, the more your confidence will build, the more attractive you'll be to a potential mate - and suddenly, you'll have a love life to envy.
Every year brings a new opportunity for a fresh start. We can't wait to get started with our projects, and we hope that you are looking forward to yours. Good luck and have a great year!