It’s A New Year For Your Home Too

 

5 “resolutions” to make the most of your home in 2012

 

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House Logic, a site for homeowners, has taken the most common New Year’s Resolutions and turned them on their head — or perhaps “roof” would be more apt — to apply them to your home.

Lose weight

Reduce your energy consumption — and your energy bill — by implementing at least one energy-saving measure this year, such as

·      changing the light bulbs in your home to CFLs (don’t think “all or nothing” – try the least noticeable ones first, like in your halls and closets)

·      changing the temperature setting on your thermostat one degree

·      check and repair insulation around your doors, windows and especially your ductwork

·      For more energy saving tips and ideas, check out Energy Savers Guide: Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home from US Department of Energy, Energy Saving Tips from Flex Your Power, and Save Energy at Home from Energy Star.

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Quit smoking

Purify indoor air — according to the EPA, poor indoor air quality is one of the leading environmental health hazards we face today. Here are a few ways to keep your home air cleaner:

·        for painting projects, choose low-VOC paints, which produce fewer toxic fumes

·        make sure task-specific ventilation is installed and working in your kitchen and bathroom to properly remove cooking fumes, smoke and humidity

·        if you have a fireplace, choose real wood rather than packaged logs that could contain toxins like formaldehyde

·        For more clean air tips for your home, check out Tips for Making the Air in Your Home as Clean as Possible from Clean Air Plus, How To Keep Polluted Air (If You Really Want To) from Air Purification and Indoor Air Publications and Resources from the EPA

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Get out of debt

Create an annual budget for improvements to your home — putting money aside for home projects will help you handle common repairs and maintenance that’s likely to come up during the year:

·        lending institutions like HSH Associates and Lending Tree estimate that average home maintenance costs are roughly 1% to 3% of your home’s initial price

·        Trusty Guides’ Home Improvement section can help you analyze the cost, budget and value of specific projects

·        For some ideas and tips on home maintenance planning and budgeting, see Budgeting for Home Maintenance and Repair Costs from Mint Life and How to Write Up a Household Budget from The Nest

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Get organized

The three key words to organization are: Routine, Storage, and Disposal

·        establish a routine to handle the most common (and repeated) tasks and items that create clutter (e.g., mail, magazines, outdoor wear, toys, etc)

·        ensure that everything has a place and that there’s a place for everything — and, no, “on top of the pile” doesn’t count

·        keep what you need, and immediately throw away what you don’t — it’s amazing how much clutter can be removed merely by sorting through it and tossing what you don’t need to keep

·        For more tips on organization, clutter and storage, try Peter Walsh’s Ten Ways to Declutter Your Home, Zen Habit’s 18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess, Real Simple’s Home & Organizing, and HGTV’s Organization

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Be less stressed

Less maintenance should mean less stress — so where possible, use maintenance-free materials and solutions in your home, such as

·        LED and CFL bulbs require a bigger initial outlay than traditional light bulbs, but they not only pay for themselves over time through lower energy costs, they last anywhere from seven to 40(!) times longer than traditional bulbs, which means a lot less bulb changing for you

·        fiber-cement siding is some of the longest lasting (50 years or more) and toughest (resists fire, dents, and rot) siding you can choose for your home — and according to Hanley Wood, replacing your existing siding with fiber-cement has the highest return-on-investment of any home improvement project (of $1200 or more)

·        For more tips on low-maintenance home materials, see LSU Ag Center’s Low-Maintenance Materials and Products and Top 23 Low-Maintenance Projects from DIY Network

 

For more resolutions you can make for your home this year, see HouseLogic’s Top-10 List of New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home.
 

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