The holidays are here, and New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. While we all love watching the ball drop and popping the champagne, what you probably remember most about this time of year is the long list of changes you want to make in your life. There’s that last ten pounds to lose, that terrible TV show you must quit watching and the charity work you always say you’re going to do but never get around to. Most homeowners have a similar list for the house, those long desired but avoided improvements that hang out year after year after year. Well now’s the time to resolve to get at least some of them done in 2013. And given the importance of your home as an investment in your future, there’s really no excuse for delaying any longer! So consider tackling at least one of these five home improvement ideas for the New Year.
First and foremost, there’s your home’s security. This is obviously something that any parent worries about, but there never seems to be enough left over in the budget for one of those high-tech security systems. Start out the New Year by considering simpler ways to ensure your family’s safety. Check all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure everything is in working order. Make sure there are no dangerous sagging spots on the stairs or sharp tools left in your children’s path in a disorganized garage. And don’t automatically rule out a security system. Mobile technology has advanced to such a degree where you can now afford some pretty cool camera systems if you look hard enough.
We all want to support environmental sustainability, but recycling alone just won’t cut it anymore. So resolve to improve your home’s energy use in the New Year. One great way to do this is by installing solar panels on the roof. You won’t necessarily fully replace the power you draw from the grid, but you will be able to power at least some of your utilities, therefore cutting down on your bills. If you can’t afford a full install start with a single panel that you can daisy chain to others as they become more affordable.
You can use these methods to create electricity, but what about cutting down on waste? You can try to get the kids to finish whatever food they take and only buy things you will actually use, but a lot of energy is wasted in our homes each year. Start out by performing a complete inspection of all the seals in the house. If you find windows or doors that are venting heat and air conditioning out into the neighborhood have the problem areas taken care of. It’s always best to replace old windows for more secure models, but at the very least get those seals cleaned up.
Another great project for the New Year will actually impact your family’s long-term health, and that’s finding ways to improve the air quality. The details of these efforts vary greatly depending on where you live, but our homes are a mess of dust, pollen, mold and other viruses at any given time. The problems are intensified in the winter since you almost always keep the windows closed. Check out your HVAC system, and make sure the filters are changed out as frequently as necessary. Take a look at the ventilation systems in your bathrooms, the garage and the kitchen to make sure that they are up to spec. And if you find a problem, invest in a portable air purifier. You’ll breathe much easier.
Finally, consider organizing your home in the New Year, which is one project that requires little to no purchasing or building whatsoever. Step into any of those fancy homes for sale and what do you see? Everything in its place, every room de-cluttered. If you have small children this isn’t easy, but you have to try and make it a way of life. Start small and keep it up, and you’ll enjoy a more relaxed existence at home the whole year round.