Many people feel a new calendar year symbolizes a fresh start. Perhaps nothing illustrates that better than the popularity of New Year’s resolutions, which people make in an effort to improve their quality of life both in the year ahead and the years that follow.
Popular plans include resolving to lose weight or quit smoking. But homeowners can make resolutions for their homes as well. The following are some resolutions to ensure your home has as good a year as you do over the next 12 months.
- Clear away clutter. Spring is the season most people associate with clearing a home of clutter, but the immediate aftermath of the holiday season marks a great time to begin tidying up. During the holiday season, homeowners often arrive home to a mailbox filled with holiday catalogs. In addition, extra rolls of wrapping paper, packaging tape and holiday cards can transform a normally neat and airy home into a cluttered space with little room to breathe. Instead of waiting for spring to clear out clutter, resolve to spend some time each month getting rid of any unnecessary items. Not only will less clutter make a home less stuffy (particularly during winter when the windows are closed), it will also make spring cleaning that much easier.
- Reduce the energy bill. Few people are in a position to scoff at ways to save money, and reducing energy costs is a great way to do just that. This year, resolve to turn the lights off when you leave a room, lower the temperature on the thermostat during daytime hours when no one is home and consider alternative methods of saving energy as well.
Most homeowners might be surprised to learn their set-top cable or satellite boxes, when coupled with a digital video recorder, are quite possibly gobbling up more energy than their refrigerator. Such was the findings in a 2011 study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which found that a high-definition cable or satellite set-top box, when combined with a DVR, used more kilowatt hours per year than a new Energy Star rated 21 cubic-foot refrigerator. While few homeowners are likely willing to give up their cable service or DVR, you can ask your service provider for Energy Star 4.0-rated devices to help reduce energy consumption.
- Grow a green thumb. A lawn is the first thing passersby notice about a home. No matter how beautiful the home itself is, if the lawn is not well-maintained that is what most people are going to remember. This year, resolve to grow a green thumb. Though spring and summer are considered the seasons for lawn care, winter is not necessarily a bad time to get started.
Clear away any fallen branches and rake away the last of the leaves, which can be used to create a compost pile that can benefit the lawn throughout the year. Depending on the type of grass you have, late winter and early spring can be a great time to fertilize.
- Make your home safer. Improving safety around the house should not have to be a New Year’s resolution, but for busy homeowners it’s easy to overlook safety around the house. This year, resolve to make your home safer and keep it safe and secure. Have the home tested for radon if you haven’t already, and inspect all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing any ones that are no longer operating at full capacity. If there are any safety hazards around the house, such as a loose step or handrail on the staircase or a leaky gutter that makes it easy for ice patches to form after winter rain or snowstorms, then address these issues before they cause serious injury.
New Year’s resolutions don’t just apply to humans. Make the most of this year’s fresh start by making your home a happier, healthier and safer place to live this year and in the years to come.