While your New Years Resolutions may include losing weight, getting in shape, and organizing your finances...don't forget to include your home in those 2023 personal goals. Your home, after all, is one of your biggest assets and the place where so many treasured memories are made. Show your home some love this year! With these simple, quick and easy home improvement resolutions, you can implement one task for every month of the year!
Tackle that Junk Drawer (or Room)
Most of us have a drawer — or perhaps an entire room — filled with random, unorganized, or even broken items. That’s a problem. Many times, we don’t need all that stuff. And when it comes time to locate items we do need, they’re nearly impossible to find. Make 2023 the year you create order out of chaos by decluttering and organizing your junk drawer (or room) once and for all.
TIP: Empty the drawer; purchase an inexpensive drawer organized and put only those items your really need back in — toss the rest!
Make it Safe and Sound
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, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One in every fifteen homes has elevated levels. Also make sure you 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.
TIP: With test kits costing as little as $20 at your local hardware store, there's no reason not to get right on that. These are relatively small investments for such an important safeguard.
Stop a Fire Hazard
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.
TIP: Put reminder right on the dryer to check the lint trap once a month.
Stop Drafts in Their Tracks
There’s probably at least one door or window in your house that’s letting in a draft. Those openings make your home chilly and increase your energy costs. Fortunately, you can stop those drafts by removing window and door trim and sealing the airflow permanently.
You might also consider a draft stopper on doors and windows to keep things toasty. Finally, since your chimney can also be a source of drafts, consider a fireplace draft stopper.
TIP: Purchase a big roll of weatherstripping. Use what you need, but keep the rest handy for when other areas show signs of a draft.
Create a Plan for Cleaning
Sure, you can declutter and organize all you want. But, without a cleaning plan, your home will never be as organized as you want it. Create a schedule or a routine to clean the house regularly. Every day, do your best to do the dishes, pick up and put away items scattered across the floors, and start with routines as simple as making the bed. Weekly, you can clean the house divided by segments. For example, you can make Saturdays the bathroom cleaning day and Wednesdays the day you vacuum. Having this written down and even scheduled in your calendar will help tremendously.
TIP: Make a commitment to fill one additional garbage bag a week with items you don't need, are broken, or things you can donate. At the end of the year, you will have removed 52 bags of items from your home — now that's a commitment to decluttering!
Try at Least One DIY Project
If you’ve never DIYed, make this the year you try it. The pandemic fueled the rise of DIY activities for home improvements. DIYers plan to spend as much, or more, time on home projects from painting furniture to installing built-ins and beyond in 2023. Pick a room you feel is dated or in need of a freshening up. Give it a fresh coat of paint, switch up the furniture or just give it a good cleaning to make it feel fresh and new.
TIP: If you still hire professionals for major renovations, consider adding your personal touch with decorative accents and other fun projects.
Change Your HVAC Filters Regularly
Dirty HVAC filters can compromise the quality of your indoor air and make your heating and cooling systems work less efficiently. Generally, you should change your filters every 90 days.
TIP: Keep extra filters on hand, especially in an age of continued supply shortages. That way, when you get a calendar reminder that it's time to change your filter, it becomes a five-minute task – as opposed to having to run out to the hardware store to get a replacement filter.
Test Your Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Every homeowner needs smoke alarms. But it's not enough to just outfit your home with these safety devices – it's also important to make sure they're working properly. Smoke alarms commonly come equipped with test buttons. Just hold the button down and wait for the beeps to make sure your units are working properly. And while you're testing, take a minute to remove accumulated dust that could compromise your devices' performance.
TIP: Remember to replace the batteries regularly.
Have Your Fireplace and Chimney Cleaned and Inspected
Your fireplace and chimney can be a huge fire hazard if you don't maintain them properly.
TIP: Have yours cleaned and inspected at least once a year – and possibly twice if you use your fireplace often.
Build an Emergency Fund for Home Repairs
When you own a home, a lot can go wrong so it's important to prepare for that financially.
Expect to spend 1% to 3% of your home's value on annual maintenance and repairs. If you want to avoid unpleasant financial surprises, you may want to err on the higher end of that range.
TIP: Put a little bit of money away each month for home repairs. Knowing you're equipped to pay for repairs can help you get more enjoyment out of your home.
Spruce up Your Curb Appeal
It’s always a nice feeling to come home to a great looking house. Good landscaping and curb appeal can even increase your home’s value by up to 15% according to Better Homes & Gardens. Breaking down the daunting effort of outdoor upgrades into smaller tasks makes the process easier to take on and accomplish. Start with the basics like cleaning your siding, getting your roof inspected, and pulling out dead plants and weeds on your lawn. Then, you can move on to more creative and fun tasks like repainting your door, landscaping your front yard, or adding a deck around back.
TIP: Sometimes other people see what you don't. Ask a family member, friend or neighbor to look at your house and have them recommend what they would suggest could be updated.
Maximize Your Garage
The garage is another room that collects clutter. If you’re looking to remodel your garage space, or build a garage addition, consider maximizing its comfort and effectiveness by covering the floors in epoxy that resists oil and grease stains. Add windows for better lighting or built-in storage for tools, sports equipment and garden supplies. TIP: Empty your garage completely. Install shelves or stacking storage containers and organize items. Any old, broken or unusable goes on the curb!
To make these New Years Resolutions stick, try breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps before plugging them into a calendar to keep yourself accountable. Here’s to a happier, healthier and cozier home in 2023!