New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions: eat healthier, read more books, exercise more, learn a new language. You can make New Year’s resolutions for your home, too!

The start of the new year is the perfect time to resolve to make lasting, impactful changes around your home. The following are three changes to make around your home in 2020.

  1. Create a cleaning schedule

Very few of us enjoy housework; a cleaning schedule can keep your house clean – and ready for visitors – throughout the year. Divide up tasks by days, such as doing laundry on Sundays or cleaning the first Monday of the month.

  • Daily: Make beds, empty and load the dishwasher, wipe down counters and sinks, sort mail, and sweep the floors.
  • Weekly: Clean bathrooms, do the laundry, change bed linens, mop and vacuum, dust shelves and furniture.
  • Monthly: Wipe down baseboards, clean inside of kitchen appliances, clean light switches and door handles, wash windows and mirrors.
  • Yearly: Shampoo carpets, have HVAC system serviced, wash curtains and scrub blinds, rinse screens, polish wood cabinets.
  1. Keep your home safe and sound

While we all want our homes to be beautiful, it’s more important that they’re safe. There are a number of hidden hazards around the home.

  • Radon in an odorless, colorless gas that can trap radioactive particles in your lungs as you breathe. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are related to exposure to radon gas. A simple test kit from the hardware store can alert you to the presence of radon gas in your home.
  • Carbon monoxide. While exposure to radon gas can cause long-term lung damage, carbon monoxide has even more serious – and deadly – consequences. This colorless, odorless gas can leak from fireplaces, stoves, and other heating appliances; it can cause symptoms such as headaches and nausea and, if left untreated, can lead to coma and death. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor and outside bedrooms along with fire alarms.
  • Dryer vents. Dryer vent lint is extremely flammable; while this makes for excellent kindling, it can lead to dryer vent fire if not removed. The US Fire Administration estimates that clogged dryer vents cause more than 15,000 building fires a year. Have dryer vents cleaned annually, especially if lint is visible from exterior vents.
  1. Lower your energy bills

When homeowners think of “going green”, they often picture installing solar panels on the roof or driving an electric car. However, there are a number of easy, common sense ways to use less energy around the house. In addition to being better for the planet, it has the added benefit of saving money on your energy bills each month. Ideas to cut energy usage include:

  • Switch off the lights when you leave a room. During the day, avoid using artificial light by opening blinds and curtains.
  • Install low-flow shower heads and turn off the water when not being directly used, such as when washing dishes or brushing teeth.
  • Turn off the air conditioner when you leave the house. Lower the heater at night, too, and add an extra blanket to the bed!
  • Replace old bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs.
  • Turn off or unplug power strips to electronics when not in use.
  • Switch out water-hungry flowers and landscaping for drought-tolerant plants.
  • Compost food scraps to create nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.

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