New Year’s Resolutions for your Home

In the spirit of new beginnings, lets’s look at 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:

1: Streamline the stuff

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 stuff. 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.

2: Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint in the process)

When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels or a hybrid car to make a difference.
Not so, says Bob Schildgen, who wrote the “Hey Mr. Green” column for Sierra magazine. It just takes a little 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 showerheads.
– 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 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.

3: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean

Here are a few tips for keeping the mess under control from Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning and owner of the Clean Team housekeeping service in San Francisco.

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, 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, 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, the other 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.
TeamSecundy - RE/MAX Properties Inc.

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