Friends, welcome to January: The month of great hope, the month of great goals, the month of great dreams and the month of resolutions.
Unfortunately, the harsh, time-tested reality of February states we will have forgotten most of our ambitious plans for the new year by 2020’s second month.
But for homeowners, the new year brings new clarity and new resolve to protect your most important investment: Your American Dream. So let’s set aside the dream of having a house as clean as Buckingham Palace and focus on these very achievable, very realistic New Year’s Homeowner Resolutions:
Resolution #1: Streamline Your Stuff
Nobody sets out to star in an episode of “Hoarders,” we just naturally collect a mountain stuff over time. Remember, humans by nature are gatherers. But without regular purging, cabinets, drawers, desk and tabletops can look like they’ve been hit by a clutter tornado by early February.
“All that clutter also makes your house look dated and dirty, designers say,” reminds HGTV.com’s Melinda Fulmer.
As we dive into a new decade, resolve to go room-by-room once a month clearing anything you don’t use, wear or love and donate it to charity, and second-guess everything you bring in.
For an uncluttered house is a clean house.
Resolution #2: Ensure You’re Living in a Safe House
No matter how beautiful a house is, it isn’t a suitable home for your family if you’re not 100 percent certain of its safety. Do a full-point safety check to ensure you’re not living with potential health hazards or fire risks.
This month, check your home for radon. The colorless, odorless gas causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year from radioactive particles it traps in lungs as people breathe. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1 in every 15 homes has elevated radon levels. A radon test kit costs as little as $20 at your local hardware store.
Install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. Also, give your dryer’s ducts and vents a full cleaning to clean out lint, which accounts for 15,000 building fires a year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Resolution #3: Energize Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
What’s the easiest way to make money appear in your wallet and checking account out of thin air? By making your home energy efficient with Energy smart features like LED lighting, solar panels and smart strips (which stop power from flowing to devices not currently in use), you can save potentially thousands of dollars in energy bills over a full calendar year.
As the U.S. Department of Energy reminds us, “widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States.”
Resolution #4: Don’t Forget The Small Stuff
Mom’s time-tested advice of “don’t sweat the small stuff” doesn’t apply to small repair projects, which have the dangerous ability to transform into major repair bills if they are neglected too long. Those leaves gathering around your gutters, that loose, squeaking, dripping faucet in the master bathroom and small cracks in your driveways foundations can one day lead to grand repair financial disaster.
“House projects are pricey and, depending on what you’re having done, can cost you upwards of $10,000 or more,” David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks, tells Bankrate.com. “A new roof isn’t cheap. To dampen the financial burden, do two things: Save as much as you can and don’t outsource work if you don’t need to.”
Resolution #5: Resolve to Invest More Time and Energy In Your Home
Remember, your home is your child and needs constant nurturing, attention and care. Even the dreamiest of dream homes – like Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ new $28 million Santa Monica, Calif., mansion, have their issues.
This year, resolve to take action to make your home more energy efficient, more valuable, safer and more enjoyable.
For by resolving to take better care of your home in 2020, you are also resolving to save yourself and your family money.
“Homeowners can easily get into a comfortable groove year after year: make monthly mortgage payments, auto-renew homeowner’s insurance, and put of upgrading to more efficient technology (such as appliances and lighting), among other things,” MSN.com’s Natalie Campisi writes. “But that groove can cost you money.”
This year, don’t allow your 2020 New Year’s Home Resolutions to go unrealized.