1. Streamline the stuff
One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of the clutter. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don’t use, wear or love and donate it to charity. Stash useful, but not beautiful, items in simple woven baskets. Clear your counters of everything you don’t use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home.
2. Make it safe and sound
Your home may be beautiful, but is it safe? There are a few things that every homeowner should do to ensure that they’re not living with a potential health hazard or fire risk.
- Check your house for radon. This colorless, odorless gas causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year from the radioactive particles it traps in your lungs as you breathe, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A test kits costs as little as $20 so there’s no reason not to get right on that.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. If a chimney flue or furnace vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you. Like a radon test, this is a small investment — $40 or more — for such an important safeguard.
- Watch out for dryer lint. We know you clean the little trap inside the door, but most people neglect to clean the vents and ducts behind the dryer. Lint may seem innocent, but it’s highly combustible, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, accounting for more than 15,000 building fires a year.
3. Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint in the process)
When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels or a hybrid car to make a difference. The best place to start is by cutting the energy usage in your home:
- Switch off the lights when you leave a room.
- Turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house and dial your heater down to 55 degrees at night.
- Install compact fluorescent bulbs and low-flow showerheads.
- Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.
- Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.
- Give composting a try. Your garden will thank you.
4. Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean
- Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night – no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place.
- Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips: Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths – in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.
- Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes leaving more time on the weekends for fun!
5. Get your place ready for entertaining
Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people over, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update? All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates. One easy update that makes your home seem more “finished” is the addition of plants.
Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw. Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television.
Written By: Candace Herring, Realtor®