With it being the start of the New Year, it is the perfect time to tackle those household items you’ve been putting off. Use this list to create a plan and improve your home throughout 2023! These often small and/or overlooked items will not only improve your family’s quality of life but will also increase your home’s overall value.
1. Get Rid of Clutter and Organize
The first step toward the house of your dreams involves organization and decluttering. Whether we realize it or not, being locked in our homes these past few years means we have a buildup of odds and ends. There are many ways to organize your home, so choose the method that best works for you.
Start the year with a decluttering session and go through every room in your home, or if you feel the need, bring in a professional organizer. Analyze your current stock of shoes, books, pantry, supplies, equipment and more. Once you say goodbye to the items that no longer serve you, take time to sort and organize what’s left.
2. Invest in Upgrades
Your home is an investment. You’ve put a lot of thought and resources into making it the comfortable and beautiful home that you’ve dreamed of. However, we tend to postpone certain upgrades, like appliances, until our current ones give up. In 2023, consider upgrading to smart home appliances.
More than just looking sleek, having a smart home means you can focus more on your well-being. These appliances connect with your phone, track your daily habits and work seamlessly with your home to operate as a synchronized orchestra.
3. Cut Down Energy Use
Get an energy audit to learn more about your energy use if you haven’t. An energy audit can show you the overall efficiency of your home. You can start making low-cost improvements to save energy and decide on significant upgrades that will save you money for years to come. With so many energy-efficient appliances and solutions, not going greener in 2023 seems like a missed opportunity.
4. Focus on Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is one of the most important indicators of the environment you’re living in. Make it a resolution to maintain your HVAC systems and change furnace filters regularly. Using localized ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens can help you get rid of smoke, cooking fumes and humidity. Invest in air filters around the house to improve overall air quality and breathe clean air.
5. Create a plan for cleaning
Sure, you can declutter and organize all you want. But, without a cleaning plan, your home will never be as organized as you want it. Create a schedule or a routine to clean the house regularly. Every day, do your best to do the dishes, pick up and put away items scattered across the floors, and start with routines as simple as making the bed.
Weekly, you can clean the house divided by segments. For example, you can make Saturdays the bathroom cleaning day and Wednesdays the day you vacuum. Having this written down and even scheduled in your calendar will help tremendously.
6. Design a home gym to help you reach your fitness goals
If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get fit in 2023, improve the odds of following through by creating a home gym. According to HomeAdvisor, a home gym costs around $2,000 on average and up to $15,000 on the high end. A home gym practically pays for itself. Working out from home can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars a year, considering the average fitness membership costs $800 annually. Beyond these savings, research reveals that home gyms recoup 51% of project costs in added value at resale.
7. Pay Attention to Neglected Areas
Lastly, make it a resolution to pay attention to neglected areas. Think about the last time you cleaned your refrigerator coils, the dryer vents, or organized the attic. Cleaning and maintenance jobs like these aren’t usually top of mind. But, doing them will keep your home running more efficiently for longer.
Other chores that fall through the cracks involve your dishwasher, showerheads and air conditioner. Sit down and write down the areas of your home that you often neglect and make it your new year’s resolution to get them done before the end of 2023. Check out this link for 37 ideas on small home improvements/fixes New Year's Resolutions for Your Home | Family Handyman
When selling your home in the wintertime, it is important to keep your driveway and walkways clear of snow. This makes it easier for potential buyers to come view your home, but also prevents injuries from happening on your property.
1. Safety first when shoveling – before anything else, safety should be your priority even when shoveling snow. The most common injury related to shoveling is on the lower back, while cardiac-related injuries are also reported. With this, here are some safety recommendations that you should follow before and while shoveling:
o Do not shovel if you have a history of heart disease – a clear driveway is not worth it. If you do not have a doctor’s clearance, do not shovel.
o Warm-up – just like with any physical activities, warming up and light stretches should be done first. Start slow and don’t over-exert yourself. Also, do not shovel while smoking or after eating.
o Wear proper clothing – wear layers to make sure that comfortable body temperature is maintained.
o Push don’t lift – to reduce body strain, push the snow with the shovel instead of lifting. In case you need to lift, lift with your legs and not your back. Also, just partially fill the shovel when lifting.
o Multiple trips could be done – you don’t have to do everything in one go. You can shovel periodically to avoid moving a large amount of snow.
o Stay hydrated and rest – make sure you are hydrated while shoveling. Also, don’t over-exert by resting every 20-30 minutes especially if the snow is wet.
2. Choose a good shovel – a bigger shovel doesn’t mean better. Always choose ergonomically designed shovels. A good shovel will reduce strain in your body especially on your back and arms. This is a good investment for you especially if you live in areas with heavy snow.
3. Use your leaf blower – for light fluffy snow, you can bring out your leaf blower from the autumn season and use it on your walkways, driveways, steps, and even cars. But having a snow blower is a good investment especially for heavy and wet snow. Snow blowers could cost up to $500 but will surely make your job easier than just shoveling.
4. Shovel often – fresh snow is lighter and fluffier. If you wait for too long, the snow will become wetter, heavier, and harder to move. If you delay shoveling until the next day, the snow will stick to the ground and could even freeze, raising the effort needed.
5. Use a tarp or canvas painting drop cloth to speed things up – Simply place a tarp or canvas painting drop cloth (or any sturdy cloth) to exposed walkways, sidewalks, porch steps, and even your car when snow is predicted. So, when the snow stops or as you leave the house in the morning, you just need to drag the snow-filled plastic tarp or cloth to uncover a clear path. Work smart!
6. Do not place the removed snow near the foundation – when removing snow from your driveway, roof, or deck, don’t pile the snow to the side of your house. This is to avoid potential issues like cracks in your house’s foundation and frozen pipes.
7. Buy snow melting products – if you want to make your steps slip-free, consider purchasing snow melting mats or pellets. This will avoid an accumulation of snow and ice on your driveway or walkway. An alternative to these products is sand.
8. Remove snow on roofs – Heavy snow could cause damage to your roof. With this, removing snow is important. If you don’t have the right equipment or experience, we recommend that you call in the professionals for safety.
Depending on where you live, snow is something that you must put up with for a extended period of time. Though it may look beautiful, it could also cause inconvenience and extra work. Utilize these tips above to reduce the hassle and to make your home look the best it can be when it is time to sell. Happy Holidays!
Winter is coming…Preparing your home for winter by completing this home inspection can keep you warm, prevent cold-weather damage, and reduce your energy bills. Follow these tips to ensure your home is ready for this upcoming season.
1. Check your house for leaks and drafts
Leaks and drafts coming in through cracks in walls, doors and windows can prevent proper heating and increase energy bills.
· Put caulk, foam or weatherstripping around moving doors and windows.
· Use bubble wrap or a window insulator kit to seal up windows you won't be using.
· Add a storm door to reduce heat loss at the main entrance.
· Install insulation in your attic to prevent ceiling heat loss.
· Replace poorly insulated doors made of wood with an Energy Star-rated door like steel or fiberglass.
· Cover mail slots and pet doors with insulation or heavy towels to keep warm air in and cold air out.
· Use blackout curtains on your windows, keeping them open during the day to let the sun in and closing them at night to keep the heat in.
2. Get a chimney inspection
Before you use your fireplace or wood stove for heating, have the chimney or flue inspected and cleaned by a professional. This and other types of wood burning appliances can quickly cause major home damage if not maintained properly. A blocked chimney or flue can also increase your chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. Don't forget fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
3. Have your furnace inspected
If you have a furnace, you should have it inspected each year. If your furnace isn't working properly, an early inspection can give you time to buy a new one before winter sets in.
· Additionally, you should also clean your air ducts to ensure proper air flow.
· Also, routinely change your furnace filters to keep it working properly.
4. Cover bare floors
Laminate, wood, and tile floors look great, but they can cause you to lose heat during the winter. As part of your winter home maintenance checklist, consider adding rugs or installing carpet over your bare floors to keep your feet warm and prevent heat loss.
5. Winterize Sprinklers
The sprinkler system should not be overlooked when preparing your home for winter. If you have a lawn service that handles this, have it come to drain and winterize the system no later than October. Winterizing a sprinkler system is also fairly easy to do yourself. It involves shutting off the water, draining the pipes, blowing them free of water, and then opening test cocks on the vacuum breaker to allow air into the system. This prevents trapped water from freezing and cracking the plastic water lines.
6. Trim Tree Branches
The last thing you need is a winter storm to blow over a tree near you house and causing damage. Not to mention, overhanding limbs can cause excess water to seep into cracks in your home’s roof or siding, which is why you want to make sure any tree limbs or branches surrounding your home are at least 3 feet away from the house.
7. Clean your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters or downspouts can damage your home’s foundation or cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. So, after the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris. Also, make sure the gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water, tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets, and replace any worn or damaged materials. This will help a lot with drainage when snow beings to melt.
8. Invest in an easy-to-read thermometer
It's always a good idea to have a large, easy-to-read thermometer in a convenient location inside the home. Elders may not feel temperature differences as easily, which can cause serious health issues, especially if they live alone. Having a thermometer and checking the temperature regularly can help you know when to bundle up or if there could be a potential heat loss problem in the home.
9. Ensure Winter Gear is Ready
Get a head start on the snow by making sure your winter gear and equipment is ready to go. Bring out the winter clothes from storage and check their quality. Get your shovels, ice picks, snow blowers, etc. out of the garage or shed. Last, ensure your home and vehicle
Fall is the time for new beginnings. Utilize these tips to help sell your home during this season, and hopefully give others and yourself a potential new beginning. These tips are affordable and/or require a little work that you can do yourself. Read below to see how you can best show your home during these Fall days:
1. Clean Up & Landscape
Make sure to clean up your yard, front and back. Rake up all leaves when they fall, clean up that dead garden, and wash your walkways and driveways. You want to give the best first impression when potential buyers come to view your home.
2. Lighten Up
Fall means shorter days, with evening light disappearing more and more each night. So, it’s important to brighten up your house. Not only will it help buyers see all your home’s great features, but it’ll make it look inviting from the street:
· Clean your windows and screens on both sides before listing
· Make sure all blinds, and window coverings are open as wide as they can go
· Show your home earlier in the day if possible
· Utilize Outdoor landscape lighting, patio lighting or solar pathway lighting
3. Spooky Décor
If you’re selling your home close to Halloween season, you might want to go easy on the spooky décor. If you want to decorate, use pumpkins or décor that can be easily stored away during showings. Just be sure the festive spirit doesn’t dampen the buying spirit of those viewing your home.
4. Utilize Scent
Our sense of smell is one of the biggest triggers of memories and nostalgia, and what would be fall without a little reminiscing? A nice smell gives people the feeling of cleanliness, coziness, and warmth that you want in a potential home. If you can’t get on board with the popular pumpkin spice, try opting for a blend of essential oils, like cinnamon and orange.
As the season begins to change, it's time to prep your home for falling leaves, cooler weather, and sadly…winter storms. Tackling a few fall home maintenance tasks now can help ward off issues later in the season, so you can enjoy everything you love about the fall worry-free. You'll save money in the long run by preventing costly (and potentially dangerous) damage to your home. Follow this fall maintenance checklist for reminders on how to prepare your home for this upcoming season.
1. Clean your gutters.
Your roof's drainage system annually diverts thousands of gallons of water from your house's exterior and foundation walls, so it's vital to keep this system flowing smoothly. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and water in your basement.
2. Seal up air leaks.
Gaps in caulk and weatherstripping let cold air into your warm home. Sealing up a drafty house can save up to 20% on your heating bills. Inspect windows and doors to find any gaps that need to be sealed.
3. Protect faucets from freezing temperatures
If you live in an area with freezing weather, take steps to ensure that outside faucets and in-ground irrigation systems don't freeze and burst. First, close any shut-off valves serving outside faucets, then open the outside faucet to drain the line. (There may be a small cap on the faucet you can loosen to facilitate this draining.) Refer to the manufacturers guide on how to properly drain your system.
4. Freshen your furnace filter
Furnace filters trap dust that would otherwise be distributed throughout your home. Clogged filters make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature and increasing your utility bills. Monthly cleaning is all it takes to keep these filters free of debris. Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before replacement. Foam filters can also be vacuumed, but they don't need to be replaced unless they are damaged.
5. Clean your carpets
Fall is an ideal time to clean your carpets. The humid days of summer have passed, but the below-freezing days of winter have yet to arrive. It's the best time to open windows for ventilation, which should speed the drying process