A new year is often a time you are thinking about changes you want to make. You may consider personal, financial, and other lifestyle adjustments, but what about your living space? Changes to your home may be necessary to refresh and renew it to increase safety and comfort and make you feel happier while also saving you money. A major renovation is an option, although there are some changes you can do cheaply and easily yourself without needing professional labor.
The first step is to assess what needs to be done. It could be you are tired of looking at the same color and décor of a room and may want to redecorate. Upon closer inspection, you may realize that you need to repair, replace or even update. If you know you need to make changes but don’t know where to start, the following ideas can help you create a checklist of assessments and tasks to get started.
A new look—If you can’t afford a full overhaul, you can do a mini-makeover. Rearrange your furniture and replace your wall décor. It could be as simple as finding a new location for a coach or coffee table and replacing an existing gallery of photos. You may also want to repaint a room a different color, add a mirror, or accessorize a spare room for a particular use. Also, consider your home’s outside attractiveness by improving its curb appeal, hence increasing its value. Some simple projects could be painting the front door, planting hedges, or adding outdoor furniture and path lighting.
Save on energy costs—If a high electric bill has given you cause, make some adjustments by considering alternations to your lighting, heating, and appliances. If appliances like your dishwasher, washer, dryer, or refrigerator are dated, they probably use more energy than is necessary. Considering purchasing newer, more efficient models. Make a switch with your lighting by replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. As for heating, connect your system to a smart thermostat. Why heat an empty room you don’t frequently use? You can control your heat settings through a smartphone app, scheduling specific rooms to get heated when inhabited.
Clean and de-clutter large storage areas—Think of your basement, attic, and garage. These areas tend to amass large amounts of stored items we don’t know what to do with. Create three piles, one pile of things you need, one to be discarded, and another that is questionable. For the dubious pile, consult your family about what items should be donated or sold. If you cannot part with something, you can minimize clutter by organizing your treasured belongings into labeled bins or adding more shelving.
Improve health and functionality—Keep everyone in your home healthy by checking the indoor air quality and ensuring the food you have is good to eat. Vent your bathroom to prevent mold by installing an exhaust fan or cracking a window during cleaning and after showers. Always check the dates on cans and bottles and dispose of expired foods. Preserve perishables such as produce by inserting packets into your crisper drawer that absorb gases emitted by fruits and vegetables. These can be purchased at a home improvement or grocery store. Keep your air free of dirt and allergens by changing your furnace filter monthly or as needed. If you can’t see clearly through the filter, it’s time for a new one. Inspect your foundation for any cracks that could cause water to seep in and pests to have access. You can caulk small cracks, but a professional should address larger ones to avoid structural problems.
Test safety devices and fire hazards—Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for functionality and add new batteries. Follow all safety instructions and practice precautions when using a stove, fireplace, electronics, or other electrical and gas appliances. Remove grease and lint to prevent fires. Check that cords are not frayed and repair or replace them as needed. Keep any flammable materials away from heat sources.
With these five considerations for change, you can organize the tasks by devising a maintenance schedule for cleaning, replacing, repairing, or discarding. Come up with a daily, weekly, or monthly plan of specific chores your whole family can accomplish. Once you have a system in place, you can ensure you are attending to all the needs of your home come another new year while saving you money.