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Home Improvement 'Resolutions' For The New Year

By Beth Weinhouse

Home Improvement
A New Year means new resolutions. Instead of (or maybe in addition to) your annual resolution to use that gym membership, think about making some resolutions for your home. Changing up things where you live—to make them prettier, greener, safer, brighter, etc.—can make your whole year happier and more comfortable. Here are a few DIY home improvement ideas to get your resolution list started:

Choose one room to focus on. Looking around the house and seeing worn out carpeting, old appliances, or dated decor can be overwhelming. It can feel like there is too much to do, and never enough time to tackle it. So, where to start? How about resolving to fix up just one room this year and giving it your total attention. Keeping your resolution can be as easy as replacing one old piece of furniture, hanging up some new artwork, or grabbing a brush for a do-it-yourself paint job. Even tackling small home maintenance projects like cleaning out one drawer or cabinet each weekend will add up to a feeling of accomplishment and order in your home.

Install a programmable thermostat for energy efficiency and family harmony. Instead of constant arguments over the house temperature, install a programmable thermostat and agree on the program. Not only will everybody keep their cool (or heat!), but you'll save money too. According to Consumer Reports, the thermostat pays for itself in less than a year if you set it automatically to lower your house temperature by 5 to 10 degrees while you're out, and again at night when you're sleeping.

Change up your window treatments seasonally. Updating your drapery is a low-commitment project that can update the look of a room, and make it more energy efficient to boot. Switch your window treatments at the change of the seasons so that you have heavier, lined drapes hanging in the colder weather to make a room look cozy and help keep it insulated and energy efficient. Use sheer or lightweight curtains when the weather is warmer to give a room a lighter feel and allow more air flow as the temperatures heat up.

Green your home — literally — with plants. Houseplants can add the feeling of bringing the outdoors into your home, and they also help serve a more practical purpose: purifying the air. Plants can absorb toxic substances in the air, and release oxygen into your home. NASA has even done studies on house plants as a means of purifying the air in space stations. When picking out houseplants, be sure to research types that are safe to keep around small children and pets.

Make a commitment to being prepared. Many Americans don't have basic items, like flashlights and water, set aside for emergency scenarios. FEMA recommends that every home assemble an emergency preparedness kit with water, first aid supplies, and other necessities. You can find a full list of recommended provisions here. But for your New Year's resolution, in addition to creating an emergency kit for your home, add a few fun things so that when you're sitting in the dark by flashlight, you've got a great book, some delicious candies, and maybe some fun games that the kids can play to pass the time.

Commit to greening your home. Take a walk around your house and survey for opportunities to 'green' your space. Switch to energy efficient CFL (compact fluorescent lights) bulbs; look for areas that are drafty and could be improved with additional installation or weather stripping, and set up a recycling station in your garage to help reduce waste. These small updates can add up to energy savings in the long run too.

What home maintenance resolutions are you making in 2014?

December 18, 2013, 10:52 AM

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