In the spirit of new beginnings, Bridges have come up with some resolutions that will make your home a more beautiful, efficient, clean and green place in the coming year. Here are our five picks for the best home improvement resolutions for the new year and how to achieve them:
One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter. Each year most of us acquire a mountain of ‘things’. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and 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 MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD AND THAT YOU LOVE, AND GET RID OF THE THINGS THAT ARE BROKEN OR NO LONGER TO YOUR TASTES”
Stash useful (but not beautiful) items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in fashionable storage items or baskets. Clear your surfaces of everything you don’t use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home.
2: Make it safe and sound
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. Make sure you install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. If a chimney flue or wood burner vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide could back up in your house and be fatal. This is a small investment of £40 upwards and for such an important safeguard, why not!
Make sure your house can breathe. It’s surprising how many people’s bathrooms and attics aren’t vented to the outside (or the vents are covered over). This makes you a prime candidate for mould. And if you’re considering a refurbishment of your current home and it was built or refurbished previously before 1978 — consider testing for lead paint and asbestos, it will have to handled properly during removal, or particles can be released into the air for you to ingest.
3: Shrink your bills
When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels or a hybrid car to make a difference. The best place to start is by cutting your energy usage in your home. Remember your parents advice and switch off the lights when you leave a room. Turn off or reduce the temperature of the heating when you leave the house. Install energy saving bulbs and low-flow shower heads.
Try drying some of your clothes on the line and wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them. Turn off the power to your appliances not in use and set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use. Water your garden less or farm water using water butts using the rainy season. Give composting a try. Your garden will definitely thank you.
4: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean
Here are a few tips for keeping the mess under control! Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night – no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the wash basket and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the wardrobe. 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 caddy that moves with you from room to room. Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s 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 apparently. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping work surfaces. 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, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and rubbish emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, leaving more time on the weekends for the park or the movies.
5: Get your home ready for entertaining
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. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates. One easy update that makes your home seem more “finished” is the addition of plants, they bring in new energy and help clean the air, plus it’s a great way to decorate if you’re on a budget!
Pulling out a new accent colour from your existing decor can make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused colour in the room and add more of it in the form of a new cushion or throw to update your look, A colourful 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.