In honor of the New Year, for our first post of 2019 we have compiled this list of resolutions that will help you make your home more beautiful, eco-friendly, and easier to maintain that ever:
One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter.
Each year, especially around the holidays, most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets, drawers, and even surfaces start to overflow. Eventually, it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. (All that clutter also makes your house look dated and dirty, designers say.)
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; fill your home with the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of things that drain your energy or are broken,” she says.
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 for a modern look.
Clear your counters of everything you don’t use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home.
Your home may be beautiful, but is it safe? 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. And with test kits costing as little as $20 at your local hardware store, there’s no reason not to get right on that.
While we’re on the subject of deadly gas, install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor. If a chimney flue or furnace vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you. Like a radon test, this is a small investment — $40 or more — for such an important safeguard.
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.
Make sure your house can breathe. Many people’s bathrooms and attics aren’t vented to the outside (or the vents are covered over with shingles.) This makes you a prime candidate for mold.
And if you’re considering a remodel, consider testing for lead paint and asbestos flooring. It will have to handled properly during removal, or particles can be released into the air for you to ingest.
When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels or a hybrid car to make a difference. But all it really takes is a little good old-fashioned common sense.
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. Also, 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.
– Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.
– Give composting a try. Your garden will thank you.
Here are a few tips for keeping the mess under control from Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning.
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, cloths and plastic bags in an 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 clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)
– Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It’s faster, Campbell says. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
– For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties. One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, another can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, Campbell says, leaving more time on the weekends for the park or the movies.
Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update?
You don’t have go for broke here and invest in a new kitchen remodel. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates, says designer McCormick.
McCormick also suggests the addition of plants, as they are an easy update that makes your home seem more “finished”.
“They bring in new energy and help clean the air,” she says. “And it’s a great way to decorate if you’re on a budget.”
A couple of dramatic presentations like a large flowering agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) or potted palm in a bright ceramic planter can do the wonders.
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, McCormick advises. A colorful rug or runner can also help anchor your space.
Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television. That just might up for chances for real conversation and connection in the New Year.
We hope these tips and tricks help make your 2019 a happy and healthy year!
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