This coming year, 2017, will bring changes for many people. According to Nielsen research, the majority of Americans will be making resolutions that have to do with their health and fitness. In 2015, 37 percent of people made a resolution to stay fit and healthy and 32 percent resolved to lose weight.
These resolution stats are basically unchanging from one year to the next. Another thing that never changes is how the majority of resolutions regarding health and fitness go strong through January and February, but largely disappear by the time spring arrives.
The resolutions that last all year long tend to be those that offer more obvious rewards, such as enjoying life to the fullest and spending more time with family and friends. These resolutions tend to produce rewards immediately. Successful goals take a lot less self-discipline and are easy to pick up again when you lose momentum.
So goals that offer clear and immediate benefits make the best New Year’s resolutions. Remember they don’t have to involve self-improvement, and they definitely don’t have to be as difficult as people make them.
This year, try resolving to make improvements to your environment by focusing on your home.
- Find Areas to Save
Home ownership is expensive, which is one reason some people avoid it. Little repair jobs crop up constantly, as well as small additions you want to make to improve appearance and functionality.
This year, try not to get sucked into the commercial aspects of enjoying your home and find ways to save. Here are some excellent suggestions:
- Reduce energy and water use.
- Do some of the yard work yourself to save on
- Make cost-efficient upgrades, if necessary.
- Do renovations that earn you tax credits.
- Cut the cable and save up to $1,000 a year.
- Cook at home more.
- Find cheap, DIY décor items to decorate for the seasons.
- Make a household budget.
- Take free classes on how to get in control of your finances.
Make a list of all the areas where you spend extraneously. You might be amazed to see where overspending occurs and what you can cut to raise your financial stability.
- Cut Your Energy Use—and Utility Bill
This was already mentioned, but it bears repeating. The average American home uses approximately 901 kWh per month of energy, which is more than necessary.
Simple things we do waste electricity, like running the heat and air conditioning while you’re away, leaving your devices plugged in all night long, and forgetting to turn off the garage light. You can shave hundreds from your yearly utility costs and reduce your carbon footprint by making a few simple but profound changes:
- Unplug your electronics at night to save $100 a year.
- Change to CFL light bulbs rather than incandescent to save up to 80 percent on your electric bill.
- Repair poorly sealed windows and doorways to reduce heating costs by 15 percent.
- Add window treatments (curtains, blinds, shutters, etc.) to reduce cooling costs by as much as 45 percent.
- Invest in smart home equipment like a smart thermostat to gain a tax credit and save on unnecessary heating.
- Make your dryer more efficient by cleaning your lint trap.
Again, create a list that’s tailored to your specific living conditions. You’ll be amazed by how much you can reduce your environmental impact.
- Clear Clutter
This is an inexpensive way to make your home feel more open and better designed. You might even make a profit from some of the things you remove from your premises. Your cupboards, drawers, and closets may be overflowing with clutter you’ve collected over the years, so devote this year to cleaning some of it out and feel better about yourself.
There’s a particularly useful decluttering method from Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant who wrote the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanaese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The essential message of this self-help book is to evaluate all the things in your home and determine whether or not they bring you joy.
If something does so, keep it. If not, throw it out and make room for the things you love. This can be a very useful method for cleaning out those closets of things you keep thinking you’ll use someday, but never get around to.
Avoid being wasteful with what you remove. Rather than throwing items away, donate them to a charity or thrift store. You could also try selling them at a yard sale or through Craigslist.
- Keep the House Clean
A messy house can lead to all sorts of problems in your home, not the least of which are mold and pest infestations. Most people find they’re happier and more peaceful when their homes are clean as well. What’s more, homes that remain consistently clean have much better resale value.
Start by doing some deep cleaning in the spring: declutter closets, shampoo carpets, pressure wash the exterior, and deep clean the rooms. Then, make a resolution to keep your home clean by changing habits and assigning cleaning responsibilities.
- Pay Your Mortgage Down Faster
Most people take out a 30-year mortgage, but many can afford to pay more than the monthly payment if they budget wisely. Take a look at your finances and see whether this applies to you.
Try paying an extra 50 percent on your mortgage payments to cut interest rates over the long run. If you’re making more now than when you applied for the loan, consider getting your loan term reevaluated.
Some people turn their 30-year mortgage into a 15-year loan, which saves them tens of thousands on interest payments. That kind of savings is definitely worth pursuing.
- Make It Safer
Too many homeowners take the safety of four walls for granted. But many homes have safety concerns that people don’t think about.
Research shows that 40 percent of break-ins involve forced entry and 32 percent of burglars enter through unlocked doors, usually the garage door. Unlocked windows are also a common entry point.
So evaluate the current safety measures of your home. Would it be easy for a burglar to force his way in? Are your windows easy to break or your door locks easy to pick? If the answer is yes, make some needed updates to your home this year.
You might also consider other safety concerns, such as fire. Clean your dryer lint trap, check for GCFI outlets, and create clearer areas around cooking stations to reduce your risk of starting a fire. A few completed safety goals can make your home a better place to live.
- Rent Your Basement for More Income
If you aren’t using your basement, why not let someone else make it their home? This may require basic renovations like adding a small kitchen and appliances, but most homeowners who convert their basement into an income stream find it’s more than worth it.
If this kind of renovation interests you, Green Residential can help. Our property managers are available in the Houston and Katy areas to make your property rental smoother.
For an affordable flat fee each month, we’ll handle everything from tenant screenings to maintenance to eviction processes, and remove some huge responsibilities from your plate so you can enjoy the profits. For more information about our rates and services, contact us today!