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. After that, think twice about what you bring in. Stash useful (but not beautiful) items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in simple woven baskets. Group similar items together on sleek trays.
“Fill your home with the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken,” says Antoinette Nue, an Atlanta consultant who specializes in helping people simplify and go green.
Make it safe and sound:
A home can be beautiful, but without safety it can be hard to fully enjoy the beauty. 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.
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 cause real harm. This is a small investment — $40 or more.
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.
Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint in the process)
When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels or a hybrid car to make a difference.
The best place to start is by cutting your energy usage in your home:
– Remember your mom’s advice and switch off the lights when you leave a room.
– Turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house and dial your heater down to 55 degrees at night.
– Install LED bulbs and low-flow shower heads.
– Try drying some of your clothes on the line and wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them.
– Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.
Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean:
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. Bring everything back to its assigned place.
Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:
– Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths – in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room. Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room.
Get your place ready for entertaining:
To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update? These can be simple like a couple of dramatic presentations. For example, a large flowering agapanthus or potted palm in a bright ceramic planter that complements your existing color scheme will do the trick.
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. These can be exciting new year’s resolutions for starting the new year.
Find more New Year’s resolutions for your home at: