Start the year off right by cleaning out closets, organizing the garage, and getting rid of old stuff you don’t need or use.
2. Make a (realistic) cleaning plan
We’d all love to be the kind of people who keep a spotless house day in and day out, but that’s just not realistic. Sit down and plan out exactly how you plan to clean this year. Are you a weekend warrior? A one-room-per-night tidier? Make a cleaning plan you’ll actually stick with.
3. Learn to clean those hard-to-clean things
You probably rarely clean your microfiber sofa, air conditioner filters, and window screens, right? Because who knows how? Walk through your house and make a list of anything you don’t actually know how to clean, then look them all up at once and take notes. You will never again have to put up with grime just because you don’t know how to get rid of it.
4. Ban shoes from your house
You might think no-shoe households are for fussy fun haters. But the truth is shoes scratch up hardwood floors, get carpets dirty, and track in substances you probably don’t want your family touching (like bacteria and pesticides).
5. Go energy efficient
If you haven’t already, you should put a little effort into becoming more energy efficient. Switch your incandescent light bulbs to LED, swap out any single pane windows for insulated ones, and refresh your ceiling insulation.
6. Check for minor issues
Some small nuisances can necessitate big repairs if they go unchecked. Make sure none of your plumbing is slowly leaking, look for evidence of termite or carpenter ant infestations, check for mold, and scope out any cracks in the foundation. These are all little things that could cost you a lot of money down the line.
7. Do a safety audit
You probably know that you’re supposed to check your smoke alarms on January 1 every year, but the new year is a great time to do other safety checks as well. In addition to a smoke detector, you should install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor with a gas appliance or working fireplace. Check every electric cord for fraying — yes, every single one — and then recycle those fire hazards. Lastly, if you haven’t already, test your home for radon.
8. Squeeze in extra mortgage payments
You probably think of your mortgage as a monthly payment, but you can pay more frequently if you want. By putting a little extra aside here and there and squeezing in a few extra payments, you’ll pay your house off faster and save on interest.
9. Don’t forget the outdoors
Whether or not you’re planning to sell your home anytime soon, putting a little work into your home’s curb appeal will pay you back for a long time to come. Replace old fences, weed-filled lawns, and surfaces with chipped paint. Your home’s value will increase and you’ll love coming home even more.
10. Make a long-term repair budget
How old is your roof? What about your hot water heater? Sit down and make a list of anything that will eventually need to be repaired or replaced and figure out how much you’ll need to budget for it. Even if your roof is supposed to last another 15 years, setting a small budget so you can start saving for those big upkeep costs will prevent nasty surprises.
In the same way that making personal New Year’s resolutions can focus your attention back on what matters, taking the time to decide on some resolutions for your home will help you stay ahead of big repairs and expenses. It will also help you find the time to make maintaining a healthy, happy home a priority.