1. Streamline the stuff
One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter. 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 items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in simple woven baskets. Clear your counters of everything you don’t use on a daily basis.
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.
First, 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. 1 in every 15 homes has elevated levels. Test kits area as little as $20!
Also, make sure you install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. Carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you from a blocked flue or furnace. Test kits are around $40.
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 and accounts for more than 15,000 building fires a year.
3. Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint)
ï Remember your mom’s advice and switch off the lights when you leave a room.
ï Install LED bulbs and low-flow shower heads.
ï Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.
4. Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean
ï 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.
ï Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:
Keep all of your cleaners, rubber gloves & 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.
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 in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update?
You don’t have go spend a lot of money. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates, like adding plants. They bring in new energy and help clean the air. Pulling out a new accent color from your existing decor can make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw to update your look. A colorful rug or runner can also help anchor your space.
Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television. That just might up for chances for real conversation and connection in the New Year.