It’s easy to focus on personal resolutions when we ring in a new year, but we often forget about the place we spend most of our time – our homes – and what we can do to make our space a bit more functional for our everyday lives! So this year, turn your attention to what you can improve inside your home with these five helpful tips:
Clear out the Clutter
Over the year our home becomes a dumping ground for random stuff that tends to multiply, and without a yearly purge, it becomes easy for your possessions to take over your house. Resolve to go room by room to assess what is no longer being used (a good rule of thumb is if it hasn’t been used in a year, donate or toss it). If something is broken, worn, or otherwise useless, cut the cord and throw it away. Think beyond clothing. Consider DVDs and video games, linens, board games, kitchenware, junk drawers (do you really need 30 promotional pens?), old electronics (you don’t need that cell phone from 5 years ago, or its charger) and donate them to a local charity.
Do you have a particularly daunting hall closet, garage or perhaps a spare bedroom or office that has become the go-to spot for the family’s discarded items? Give everyone a “drop dead date” for removing their items that don’t belong and commit to reorganizing and repurposing the space to be more functional. A spare bedroom made into a guest room? What a novel concept. A study that gives kids a quiet and non-cluttered space to study and do homework? Wow! You might just be shocked at the square footage you can free up in your home that suddenly becomes more functional.
Safety & Maintenance
Commit to keeping your family safe and sound by running through a seasonal checklist of things to ensure your home is in tip top shape. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1 in 15 homes have elevated levels of radon, a colorless, odorless gas that’s responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year. Kits to test for radon can be found at your local hardware store for as little as $20. This is also a great time to check your smoke detectors (and replace their batteries) and add carbon monoxide detectors to your home, as well as checking your air filters and replacing burned out light bulbs around the house.
Go Green and Save Green
Making an effort to be more “green” doesn’t have to involve solar panels and electric cars (though that’s one way!). If you want to make your house more energy efficient while trying to save money, consider adding low-flow showerheads and energy efficient light bulbs. Turn off power strips and unplug electronics not in use and if you’ll be doing some landscaping this year, select drought-tolerant plants so you can get away with watering less. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, invest in smart home technology, which can help you run your home more efficiently and save you money in the long run.
A Place for Everything, Everything in its Place
While rather simple in theory, this might be the hardest one for our households to commit to. Try assigning each of your possessions a “home” and ensure everything gets returned to its home on a nightly basis – the nightly part is key for long-term success. Wrangle clutter by getting your family to commit to returning everything they’ve used to its “home” each night before bed and you just might be amazed at how clutter-free your home can stay. Even if it’s a bin that holds an assortment of toys and games, having a solitary landing spot for each item will give everyone in the household a clear expectation of what belongs where. Have a busy household? Make cleaning less daunting by assigning a cleaning task per day, that way you aren’t overwhelmed by cleaning the entire house in one afternoon. Sweeping Sundays? Tile Tuesdays? You get the idea.
Make it Comfortable for Entertaining
Is one of your resolutions to spend more time with friends and family? If you anticipate hosting more frequently in your home, consider the entertaining spaces you have and if they work well for your needs. No need to knock down walls to make your home more .Take a look at the seating arrangement, for example. Would the room work better for your family’s needs if you re-arranged the furniture for a better flow, added a rug for comfort, a side table to set drinks, or a reading lamp for extra light during family game night? Sometimes just switching out throw pillows on your couch is all you need to achieve a new, refreshed look! Don’t be afraid to shop your home, either. Shifting lamps, rugs, pillows and décor from other areas in your home can give your space a new vibe without spending a dime!
Are you making any home-related New Year’s resolutions? Share with us in the comments below.