The New Year is a time for reflection combined with a positive and confident outlook on the year ahead. With almost endless possibilities, you set your sights on some attainable goals and push forward into January and beyond. And for the New Year, many of us set goals and resolutions, from creating a healthier lifestyle to taking more time for self-care to even saving more money for those rainy days. However, these accomplishments and resolutions are more personal. What if, instead, you could also consider some resolutions around the home as well? After all, it’s where we spend most of our time with family and loved ones.
From keeping the home neat and organized to taking care of your own health – beginning with indoor air quality and green cleaning methods – here are eight resolutions for you and your home this New Year.
1. Tackle Home Improvement Projects
Since the New Year starts in the dead of winter, leaving you cooped up inside, take this moment to tackle any home improvement projects or home restorations. And there are many ways you can improve your home, some of which can even increase your home’s resale value. It can be smaller projects like adding a fresh coat of paint to liven up a room or installing new flooring in the main living areas. Better yet, choose to tackle a home improvement project that the entire family can accomplish together, such as creating a gallery wall in the living room or decluttering and donating items to local thrift stores.
2. Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Home improvements can be much more than a DIY project with the family. You can also resolve to create a more green-friendly home. An excellent place to start is setting up recycling bins and remembering to turn off lights when they are not in use. However, if you genuinely want to go green, you can swap out outdated and energy-sucking appliances, lighting and more with energy-efficient alternatives. By installing Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting fixtures, you can not only help the planet, but shave money off your energy and water bills.
3. Design a Healthier, Family-Friendly Kitchen
Since the kitchen is considered the heart of the home, why not resolve to have more sit-down family dinners? And the best way to do this is by designing a healthier, family-friendly kitchen that invites everyone together after a long and busy day. Whether your kitchen has an attached breakfast nook or an island bar, design it as a multi-purpose space where the kids grab a quick snack or do homework. Another fantastic way to make a kitchen more inviting is by keeping it neat and tidy. Essentially, this means creating better organization in the cabinets, pantry space and even the refrigerator. In general, designing your kitchen to keep nutritious snacks and cooking tools organized as well as offering an activity area or place to gather around can bring your family closer. And that’s one resolution that’s best for everyone!
4. Address Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
From dust in carpets and upholstery to hidden mold, indoor air quality can be harmful to you and your family’s health, especially after prolonged exposure. And when the windows are closed all winter with the air recirculating, it’s even worse. As a service to everyone, make addressing indoor air quality one of the first resolutions you tackle!
For starters, you can maintain your HVAC system and ensure it has clean, new filters to capture contaminants. You can also make sure specific areas of the home, like bathrooms and kitchens, have adequate ventilation to remove excess fumes and moisture from steam. Another overlooked energy-saving aspect that can be easily updated is investing in new air registers that will make air flow more efficient. To address matters even further, make sure to eliminate any materials and finishes that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as paints, adhesives and even cleaning products.
In addition to these upgrades, purchasing indoor plants that contribute to better indoor air quality is a great way to purify your home. Not only do these plants help detoxify your living spaces, but they double as beautiful, live decor for your home!
5. Create a Cleaning Schedule
If you have trouble remembering to swap out filters, it might be time to create a cleaning schedule. Start by creating a digital calendar and break down home-related tasks by the year, month and even weeks. Once you’ve replaced filters, set an alert a year from now to do the same again. You can also set seasonal reminders to do things like clean out the fridge and oven before the feast-filled holiday season or to do landscaping in early spring. For a monthly, weekly and daily cleaning schedule, consider creating chores like vacuuming and laundry to disperse among everyone in the family. This way, your home will stay tidy year-round and cleaning won’t seem so dreadful.
While you’re building a cleaning schedule, go ahead and designate a cleaning closet where you keep tools like the mops and vacuum and sprays like glass cleaners and polishes. Don’t forget to swap out those harmful cleaning products with a more green-friendly version. This way, you can also improve your indoor air quality and reduce VOCs.
6. Make Your Home Safe and Secure
While it’s not cleaning necessarily, it’s still critical to set a reminder to check your home’s detectors. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends to test fire and carbon monoxide alarms monthly and to replace batteries once every year, if not more frequently. In addition, you should also replace smoke alarms entirely every 10 years. Ensuring these alarms are in proper working order can protect you and your family from unforeseen and accidental house fires and offer early detection of gases like radon and carbon monoxide. So be sure to double-check those batteries and replace entire units when necessary!
7. Install Easy-to-Maintain Finishes and Fixtures
When it comes to cleaning your home, it helps to install easy-to-maintain finishes and fixtures. For instance, you can install LED light bulbs that can last nearly a decade or install durable vinyl plank flooring that needs a gentle sweeping and mopping, eliminating the need for sanding and restaining. Ultimately, when you install these low-maintenance finishes and fixtures, it saves you time cleaning and tackling other home improvement projects. And, in return, you get to spend more quality time with family and loved ones.
8. Organize and Declutter
Last but not least, one of the easiest and most affordable resolutions and goals you can set for yourself and your home is to organize and declutter. Having a well-organized home with everything in its place can create a more peaceful environment and relaxing space for everyone. Instead of waiting until March for an official Spring Cleaning, get started in January. Chances are you just received new gifts from the holidays, so swap them out with older garments and items you no longer use or want, donating them or storing them for a future garage sale if you wish.
As you sort through belongings you wish to keep, consider adding shelving or cubbies along the walls to give them a dedicated space. For example, garages filled with sports equipment and tools could use some wall-to-wall shelving to keep floors clear of debris. The same goes for a mudroom or even existing kitchen cabinets. Feel free to rearrange cabinets or redesign an entire room to make it appear more spacious and open.