Every January, you probably make a resolution to lose weight, save money, or spend more time with family and friends. But what are your Waterloo Region home related resolutions?
In the spirit of fresh starts, we've compiled a list of resolutions that will help you make your house more beautiful, efficient, clean, environmentally friendly and even safer in the coming year.
Here are our top five home improvement resolutions for the new year, along with tips on how to stick to them:
1: Streamline Your Stuff
Clutter removal is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to improve your home's appearance.
Most of us amass a pile of stuff each year. Without frequent purging, cabinets and drawers become cluttered, making it difficult to locate the items you use and appreciate. (Designers argue that clutter also makes your home look antiquated and dirty.)
This year, make a resolution to go room by room and throw away or donate anything you don't use, wear, or love to charity. After that, reconsider what you bring in.
If you fill your home with things that give you energy and make you happy, and get rid of the items that drain your energy or are broken, not only will your home look better, but you'll feel a lot better as well.
Use simple woven baskets to store practical (but not beautiful) goods like DVDs, remote controls, and those kicked-off shoes. On elegant trays, group similar items together.
Remove everything off your counters that you don't utilize on a daily basis. And prepare to breathe a little better in the comfort of your own home. As well as find the stuff you do need a lot faster.
2: Make it Safer
Is your home safe? It may look lovely, but is it safe? There are a few things that every homeowner should do to make sure they aren't living in a health or fire hazard.
Check for radon in your home first. According to CEPA, this colorless, odorless gas causes roughly 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year due to the radioactive particles that collect in your lungs when you breathe it in. Elevated amounts are found in one out of every fifteen houses. There's no excuse not to get started, especially since test kits can be purchased for as little as $20 at your local hardware store.
While we're on the subject of dangerous gases, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed on each bedroom floor, in addition to the fire detectors. Carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you if a chimney flue or furnace vent becomes clogged or leaks. This is a small expenditure – $40 or less — for such a vital safety, similar to a radon test.
Keep an eye out for lint from the dryer. We know you clean the small trap inside the door, but the vents and ducts behind the dryer are often overlooked. Lint may appear harmless, but it is extremely flammable, causing more than 15,000 structure fires each year.
Check to see if your home can breathe. As Realtors, we're often surprised by how many people's bathrooms and attics aren't vented to the outside (or the vents are covered over with shingles.) As a result, your home is at high-risk for mould.
Consider testing for lead paint and asbestos flooring if you're planning a remodel and your home was built or rebuilt before 1978. It must be handled carefully during removal, or particles may be released into the air, which you may inhale.
3: Go Greener to Save Money and the Planet
When people think of going green, they frequently assume that big investments like solar panels or a hybrid automobile are required.
That is not the case. All it takes is some good old-fashioned common sense.
Cutting your energy use in your home is the best place to start:
Follow your mother's advice and turn off the lights while leaving a room.
When you leave the house, turn off the air conditioner and set your heater to 55 degrees at night. Install a programmable thermostat and make sure you actually use it.
Use low-flow showerheads and LED bulbs.
Hang some of your items to dry outside when possible rather than using the dryer and wait until your dishwasher or washing machine is full before using it.
When not in use, turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to sleep mode.
Reduce the amount of water you use in your garden. If necessary, add drought-tolerant landscaping.
Experiment with composting. Your garden will be grateful and your plants and produce will be lusher and larger than ever before.
4: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean
Here are a few tips for keeping the mess under control so that you never need to do one of those time-consuming (and easy to put off) 'big cleans'
Every day: Dishes are put in the dishwasher every night - there are to be no excuses! Dirty clothes are tossed in the hamper, while clean clothes and jackets are hung in the closet. Return everything to its proper location.
Clean your entire house once a week, using these guidelines:
- Keep all of your cleaning supplies, including rubber gloves and extra cleaning cloths, in a portable carryall that you can carry from room to room.
- When cleaning, keep cleaning tools like a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths, and plastic bags in a builder's apron. Working clockwise around the room, hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you clean from high (cabinets) to low (floors)
- Concentrate on one cleaning task at a time. It's a lot quicker and more efficient. For example, wipe away fingerprints on all of the cabinets before spraying and cleaning the counters. After that, focus on windows, mirrors, and appliances. After that, move on to cleaning and mopping the floors etc.
- Enlist the help of your family for maximum efficiency. Divide the tasks among at least three parties if possible: One of you can dust/vacuum and change bedding, while the other can clean the bathroom, leaving you with only the kitchen and trash emptying to worry about. The bright side? You can clean the entire house in 45 minutes, giving you additional time on weekends to go to the park or see a movie.
5: Get Your Home Guest Ready
Every year, many of us make a resolution to spend more time with our families and friends, the importance of which has been brought into sharper focus after all those pandemic related lock-downs and restrictions. Why not give the spaces you entertain in a little facelift to make you feel more comfortable bringing people in?
You don't have to go all out and spend a lot of money on a new kitchen remodel. A little rearranging and updating is all it takes to achieve a fresh new look.
The addition of plants is a simple improvement that makes your home appear more "finished." They bring in new energy and help to purify the air, plus they're an inexpensive way to decorate.
A handful of bold arrangements, such as a brightly colored polka dot plant or a potted palm in a colorful ceramic planter that matches your existing color scheme, would suffice.
Adding a new accent color to your existing decor can instantly refresh the space. To refresh your style, choose an underused hue in the area and add more of it in the shape of a new pillow or throw. A vibrant rug or runner can also serve as a focal point in your room.
Finally, spend some time rearranging your furniture so that it is orientated in conversation groups rather than simply facing the TV. That could open the door to genuine dialogue and connection in the New Year.
Is one of your new year's resolutions buying or selling a Waterloo Region home? Let Team Pinto use their huge local real estate experience and expertise to help you. Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here