Making promises to ourselves on January 1st every year is a time-honored tradition, and most of us are no doubt accustomed to completely abandoning our resolutions by the time February rolls around. No need to be ashamed, we all do it. But these simple New Year’s resolutions for homeowners are all pretty easy to stick to. In fact, you can be done with most of them in a few minutes, making your home a better, safer and greener place for the new year.
1. Use Less Energy
- Here’s How: Install a programmable thermostat. The bulk of your energy bills in the past year went toward heating and cooling your home. For the new year, take control by installing a programmable thermostat. For a one-time investment of around $100, you can reduce your annual energy costs by up to $180.
2. Get Organized
- Here’s How: Eliminate clutter. Start off the new year by getting rid of anything you didn’t use in the past year. Gather up all the books you’ve already read, clothes your kids have outgrown, technology that’s outlived its usefulness and anything else that’s just taking up space. Donate or give away what you can, and responsibly get rid of the rest (see #7 for more on that last one).
3. Save Water
- Here’s How: Get a rain barrel. Imagine watering your lawn and garden for free. By installing a rain barrel, you can collect up to 1,200 gallons of rainfall every year and use it to keep your plants healthy and happy. That should trim your water bills by about $35 per month this summer. Commercially manufactured rain barrels can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 each, but you can easily make your own by reusing plastic food-grade containers.
4. Beef Up Home Security
- Here’s How: Install outdoor motion sensor lights. These lights plug into any ordinary wall outlet, and they illuminate your home’s exterior whenever something moves outside. Motion sensor lights often cost less than $25, and you can install them yourself in just a few minutes.
5. Be Safer
- Here’s How: Improve fire safety. Start by checking your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Make sure they still work and change the batteries. You should do this every year, but making it one of your New Year’s resolutions is a good way to make sure you don’t forget. If you have a fireplace in your home, it’s also a good idea to have the chimney inspected once a year.
6. Purify Your Air
- Here’s How: Maintain your HVAC system. This year, make a resolution to change your HVAC filters on a regular basis. Once every two or three months is enough in most homes, but you might need to change them more depending on what kind of filters you use. Changing filters often will not only keep your air cleaner, but also reduce your energy bills (resolution #1, you may recall).
7. Give Back
- Here’s How: Recycle. If you don’t recycle already, now is a good time to start. All kinds of things can be recycled, including most types of glass, metal, plastic and paper. Check with your local recycling center to see what they’ll take, and then start setting it aside.
8. Keep It Clean
- Here’s How: Do a little every day. The best way to keep your house clean in the next year is to not let it get dirty. That means doing little things every day. Take your shoes off at the door each time you enter, and ask your guests to do the same. Throw dirty clothes directly in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor. Put each dirty dish straight in the dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink. It’s the little things.
Happy New Year!