5 Things You Should Take Care of in the New Year
The New Year is a time of renewal. It’s traditionally a time when many people resolve to free themselves of bad or unwanted habits and to set their sights on more positive activities and practices. That’s a good thing.
We thought it fitting as you enter the New Year, that among your ‘other’ resolutions, you might want to consider making a few New Years resolutions for your home. Unlike traditional personal resolutions that are typically embarked upon ‘cold turkey’ on the first day of the year, New Years resolutions for your home can consist of a doable list that you will work to accomplish throughout the coarse of the year.
The last thing that you want to do is sabotage yourself (and your partner or family) by setting unrealistic expectations both in terms of timing and budget. Your resolutions should consist of projects that can be accomplished during the year and utilizing available budget resources.
We have taken the liberty of suggesting five New Years resolutions for your home. They consist of five general tasks – in order of importance — that we believe apply to most homes and that you should consider before endeavoring to create your dream bath or gourmet kitchen – though they are great resolutions for sure.
• Safety – The best ‘home’ resolution that you can make in the New Year is to make your home safer for yourself and your family. Check to make sure that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed and in good working order. Test them regularly. Check major appliances for proper operation. Fuel burning appliances should be properly vented to the exterior and gas connections should be checked for leaks. Make sure that your electrical system is safe and in good working order. Flickering lights, burned fuses and popping breakers are signs of a problem. Make sure that handrails, grab bars and other safety devices are properly anchored. Consider hiring a home inspector for a more thorough report.
• Preventative Maintenance – One of the best things that you can do for your budget in the New Year is to prevent small maintenance projects from becoming BIG repair nightmares with equally BIG bills! Our dad’s mantra; ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ has as much meaning today as it did when we first heard it as children. Repairing a leaking roof, sealing gaps in siding, painting bare wood, replacing damaged decking, patching cracks in concrete, caulking around sinks, tubs and showers and other preventative maintenance tasks will keep your home in tip top shape and save you lots of money in the long run.
• Conserving Energy — A New Years resolution that should be on everyone’s list is conserving energy. Utility bills have gone through the roof and it doesn’t look like relief is anywhere in sight. Thus, one’s best defense is a strong offense. This one won’t cost an arm and a leg to do and you can perform most of the work yourself. Some energy conserving upgrades to consider: install a programmable thermostat; replace incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent lighting; prevent drafts with weather stripping around doors and windows, install low flow shower heads and aerators; fix leaking faucets; install Energy Star appliances; install energy efficient heating and cooling equipment; upgrade insulation and install replacement windows. There’s more, but you get the picture.
• Go Green – Kermit the frog coined the phrase; ‘it isn’t easy being green.’ However, when it comes to your home, being ‘green’ or environmentally conscious is easier than ever as more building product manufacturers produce green products. Environmentally friendly building products and materials are available for virtually every category – windows, doors, siding, decking, fencing, roofing, lumber, flooring and insulation — to name a few. Think ‘green’ the next time you make a home improvement purchase. Chances are the material will last longer and you’ll help save the Earth.
• Improve Comfort – For many of us, home is where the heart is. It is also our refuge – where we are increasingly spending more of our free time – away from the stress of work and the world. Thus, we suggest that you resolve to make your home as comfortable as you can for you and your family. This can include comfy couches and seating; a splash of color here and there with paint, fabric or flooring; getting rid of clutter and ‘opening up’ the space in your home; allow in more natural light with updated window treatments; and organize closets and storage. Create a special place in the garden as a retreat. Add a water feature – the sound of trickling water can be very therapeutic.
Happy New Year!
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