Most of our New Year’s resolutions seem to have a lot to do with our physical bodies – losing weight, getting in shape, giving up unhealthy habits and the like. But there are many resolutions that could be made about other parts of your life – maintenance of your home and garden, for instance.
Let’s face it, it’s tough keeping up with all the different tasks that must be done in order to keep your home looking its best. I know I certainly don’t get everything accomplished when I should, but I am getting better at this as the years go by.
So in the spirit of the coming new year, here’s a look at potential resolutions for keeping your house and yard in tip-top shape.
• Lose some weight … from your interiors. Look around your home and be honest: Is the clutter starting to creep in? Or has it taken up permanent residence?
The holidays are a time when items come in to the house but don’t always go out in a timely fashion. That’s why this is a perfect opportunity to start looking around and seeing what needs to go away.
It’s time to start putting away the holiday items, get the house back to normal, and above all, find places to stow your extra stuff. Boxes in the family room? Get them to where they belong. Too many items in the den? Make some decisions about what needs to be given away to family, friends, worthy causes or charities.
Cast a critical eye on the inside of your house and clear away the trash, the non-essential items, and the things that don’t enhance your life or the looks of your home. Make countertops clutter-free, bundle up the old magazines for recycling, and clean out the closets and drawers.
Check Out: Clear Your Lawn of Clutter for outside clutter clearing tips
• Get help from above … from your friendly neighborhood roofer. One thing many of us don’t do regularly is to have our roofs inspected. A roofing expert can check and advise, and let you know if there’s debris, damage or other problems up top that need to be remedied. It’s better to do this kind of preventative maintenance now than to have to deal with leaks later on in the winter. Cleaning your gutters, or having someone clean your gutters is a good idea to prevent spillovers and breakage.
• Luxuriate in a beauty treatment … for your entryway. What do people see when they first come into your home? Is your foyer or entryway warm and inviting? Or is it cluttered and dull? Walk through your front door and into your house and pretend you’re seeing it for the first time. Then note any improvements that need to be made.
Some easy ways to dress up the entryway are to clean your front door and polish the hardware, clear away any unsightly items from the porch to give easy access to your guests, cut away encroaching shrubbery, and clean the area thoroughly, with a special eye to getting rid of cobwebs.
You can then add some flowering plants in attractive pots when the weather warms up a bit, on either side of your front door. Primroses, Icelandic poppies and pansies all do well in cool temperatures.
Check Out: Cheap Tips for Accessorizing Your Home
• Look into a facelift … for your living room. When’s the last time you did anything to freshen up your décor? Start looking for little ways to dress up your living room, or whatever room you commonly entertain guests in.
Consider swapping out your sofa pillows, adding new candles or scent diffusers, changing area rugs or even switching window treatments, in order to inject some new life into the old living room.
• Stop smoking … get your chimney cleaned. If it’s been more than two years since your chimney’s been cleaned and inspected, then hesitate no longer. It is wonderful having fires in the fireplace on these cold nights, but chimneys have to be looked after so that your fire will warm the home rather than burn it up. An inspection and cleaning will ensure that there are no gaps, breaks or creosote buildup to worry about.
• Clean up your habits … with earth-friendly products. There are so many eco-responsible cleaning products on the market these days that there are few excuses for not using them. One of the oldest and best: Simple Green, biodegradable and with myriad uses, and concentrated so that a bottle will last a very long time.
In other products, look for those that use lemon juice or baking soda for whitening rather than bleach, and vinegar rather than ammonia. Also, consider making your own cleaning products from these natural items rather than buying them – you’ll save beaucoup bucks while saving the earth.
• Warm your life … with energy-efficient habits. ‘Tis the ideal season to clean or change your furnace filters for maximum heating efficiency, as well as checking for any air leaks that could be bringing chilly temperatures inside the house. Caulking and weatherstripping the gaps will help curtail much of the heat loss.
Check Out: Home Energy Conservation Tips
If you’re concerned about the heating bill, contemplate which would be a better solution, to turn up the heat or to simply put on another sweater. Sometimes just stepping into fuzzy slippers can make you feel much warmer on a frigid day.
Also remember to close your curtains against the cold – they’ll help prevent precious heat from escaping – but on those occasional sunny days, open up the curtains up to get every last ray of sunshine, which will heat the house naturally.