Happy New Year! Okay, so I'm a few days late, but it's never to early to start thinking about your new year's resolutions. Many people think of resolutions for themselves as a person, but what if we flip the script and talk about resolutions for your home? I'm not talking about a few items on your honey-do list. I'm talking about big picture things for your home that can help in many ways. Let's go through the list and compare the common resolutions with the equivalent resolution for your house.
1. Cut energy use (lose weight)
Houses use a lot of energy with lights and televisions and appliances and...you get the idea. How can you start cutting down the energy use? A good place to start is your HVAC ductwork. leaky ducts waste energy through holes and loose connections. Sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%. That can add up to $200 or more per year. It also helps extend the life of your furnace by not forcing it to run as frequently.
2. Purify indoor air (quit smoking)
Indoor air quality is one of the top environmental health hazards due to indoor air potentially containing dust, mold spores, pollen and viruses. This problem is at its worst during winter when windows and doors are shut tight. To eliminate these contaminants from the air, change your furnace filters regularly and use the highest quality filters available. You can also use localized ventilation systems in kitchens and bathrooms to remove fumes, smoke and humidity. A portable air cleaner can also help on a room-by-room basis.
3. Budget for improvements (get out of debt)
To prevent overspending, create a yearly budget for home improvements and maintenance. This will encourage you to think about putting aside money for major replacements such as roofing or kitchen appliances. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, annual maintenance and home improvement cost average $3,300 per household. Everyone has that amount lying around in their bank account, right? Kidding. But, taking this information into account, preparing for these expenses by setting aside a few bucks per month can have you more prepared.
4. Educate yourself on home finances (learn something new)
Learning how to improve your credit score can help you keep your home insurance premiums from getting out of hand. Here are two quick steps to help you out: 1. Don't let credit card debt build up. 2. Keep payments up to date. I know, it's easy to say. But following up on these will help make things easier for you in the long run. Missing payments signals insurers that you don't know how to manage your money, resulting in a lower insurance score. The lower your credit score, the higher your home insurance rates.
5. De-clutter (get organized)
To keep your home from ending up on an episode of Hoarders, clean it up! Use the space in your home effectively and stash stuff away neatly. Getting things out of sight and out of mind can make you feel better about where you live. Adding a few shelves in closets and other storage spaces to help organize those needed items in your home is a great way to start. Other small organizers that can be used in multiple ways, such as shoe organizers, are an inexpensive way to reduce clutter. Find what works for you and makes you feel better about your home.
6. Support your community (volunteer)
Give a little time to others to help promote safety and preserve the value of your neighborhood. Think about options to take part in or start a neighborhood watch program, or start a garden community to bring together and bond with your neighbors. It's amazing how a shared experience with your neighbors can help bring you together and love your neighborhood just that little bit more.
7. Curb home water use (drink less)
The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day - roughly $700 per year. That's one thirsty house! Think of ways to turn off the faucet on a daily basis. Install a low-flow showerhead. It will keep the pressure while reducing the amount of water used. Another idea would be to replace any water-guzzling toilets in your home with a high-efficiency option that will use less than one gallon of water per flush instead of more than five gallons in the older models. And be sure to turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Easy little ways to cut the waste.
8. Share home improvement projects (spend more time with family)
If you're looking for reasons to get together with family, invite them over for a home improvement project! Okay, maybe not building a house from scratch, but think of low-effort, fun projects that can get people together outside. Plant a tree, put up a fence or doing simple yard work (this includes teaming to up shovel the snow that fell this week) will all be great ways to get your family together.
9. Exercise your DIY skills (get fit)
When looking for ways to burn some calories, just look for projects around the house that needs to be done. You'll burn calories and keep your house in tip-top shape. Some great activities include: Caulking windows and doors, cleaning rain gutters, installing ceramic tile, painting, chopping firewood, mowing the lawn, SHOVELING THE SIDEWALK, gardening and vacuuming. Here's where the honey-do list comes in to play, but in a dual-purpose kind of way. Cleaning up and burning calories.
10. Use maintenance-free materials (be less stressed)
Give yourself less to worry about by installing low-maintenance materials and products designed for durability. Use LED light bulbs that can last up to 50,000 hours between changes. Install classic ceramic tiles. They come in many colors and textures that are incredibly tough, stain-resistant and impervious to moisture. These and other long-lasting updates to your home can help you worry less about how long before more updates are needed and more money will need to be spent.
These are 10 ideas for your new year's resolution for your home. There are many other options out there to help you get your home in order for 2019. If you try to implement all 10 of these or if you just come away with one great tip from this list, I'm happy to help you out. If you've tried any of these with great success, drop me an email and let me know. And I hope you make 2019 a great year for you and your home!