Photo of New Year Calendar

2017 is coming to a close, and with the new year just around the corner, you’re probably already thinking about New Year’s resolutions for yourself.

While you may be making some of the typical resolutions, like exercising more or going on a diet, as a homeowner you should also add home improvement resolutions to your list that will help you better maintain your property.

Getting your house in shape not only improves the health of your largest investment, but also enhances your quality of life at home.

Here are seven New Year’s resolutions for homeowners that are easy to keep in 2018.

1. Set Up a Cleaning Schedule

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t pull out the vacuum or cleaning supplies until your home gets really dirty, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Most people consider cleaning to be a real chore and do whatever they can to avoid it unless it’s really necessary.

Unfortunately, neglecting to clean indoors can be a costly mistake.

The longer you let your house stay dirty, the faster the interior will experience wear and tear. Dirty homes are more expensive maintain because things like flooring, furniture and appliances have to be replaced more often.

For this new year, make it a resolution to keep your house spotless. It’s not as hard as you may think.

By setting up a simple cleaning schedule you can keep your home in tip-top shape without a lot of hassle or time involved. In fact, following a schedule will make your cleaning go five times faster and easy to manage.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Focus on one type of cleaning at a time (i.e. dusting, vacuuming, washing windows)
  • Tackle only a few rooms at once
  • Set up a weekly or monthly schedule for cleaning duties

Here’s an example of what it looks like in practice:

  • On the first Monday of each month you’ll:
    • Focus on dusting
    • Tackle only the living room and dining room
  • On the following Tuesday you’ll:
    • Focus on vacuuming
    • Vacuum the living room and dining room
  • On the following Wednesday you’ll:
    • Focus on polishing
    • Polish the furniture in the living room and dining room
  • Thursday through Sunday are free days without any cleaning

This type of schedule can be repeated for the other three weeks in the month and allow you to hit every room in your house. To expand on the example above, the second week of each month could be reserved for cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. The third week could be used for bedrooms and the fourth for the basement.

Your options are endless.

As you can see, dividing the tasks and rooms up like this makes it a lot more manageable and faster to clean. Depending on the size of your rooms, you can probably get all of your cleaning done for the day in 10 minutes or less.

Setting up an easy to follow cleaning schedule in the new year will ensure that your whole home stays spick and span.

2. Purge the Clutter

It seems like as the years go buy we all tend to accumulate more stuff. The surfaces and corners of our homes start to collect more clutter, and even cabinets and drawers get jam packed with unnecessary junk. 

As a homeowner, make it a resolution this new year to purge the clutter. Not only will this make your home look more tidy, but you’ll also feel a lot better in your environment, too.

Now, you may want to go wild and attack every room in your house so you can get this job done as quick as possible. However, this type of approach often burns people out and the task never fully gets done.

Instead, take things slow and go room by room. Clear anything you don’t use, wear or love and throw it away or donate it to charity. Get rid of things on your counters that are not used on a daily basis. Toss anything in your cupboards that hasn’t been used in the past month.

If you count up the number of rooms in the standard 3 bedroom, 2 bath floor plan, you’ll find that it has about 8-9 rooms (excluding hallways). Your home may have more or less. Regardless of the number, the best way to handle the decluttering process is to make a plan. This makes it easier to manage and more likely that the job gets completed.

A realistic decluttering plan for an 8 bedroom house could look something like this:

  • January – Living room and dining room
  • February – Master bedroom and one bathroom
  • March – The other bathroom and one bedroom
  • April – The final bedroom and kitchen

You could also speed this process up by tackling one to two rooms each weekend and be finished in four to eight weeks. Additionally, you could spread the chores out over the course of eight months and still be done by the new year.

Purging the clutter inside your home doesn’t have to be a painful process. Plus, once you’re done you’ll find that it’s a little easier to breathe in your own house.

3. Improve Indoor Air Quality

Speaking of being easier to breathe, this coming year you should make it a priority to improve the air quality inside your home.

We could go on forever about how important indoor air quality is for your health, but we’ve already written numerous articles on that very topic, so we won’t go into much depth here.

All we’ll say is that it has been proven that the air quality inside most homes is two to five times worse than the air you breathe outdoors. Inadequate ventilation, building materials, dust, dirt, cleaning chemicals, pet dander, bacteria, etc. are the major culprits that contribute to this statistic.

By simply adding an air purifier to your home, you can remove up to 99% of toxic pollutants from the air you breathe indoors. You’ll breathe better, feel healthier and reduce the amount of harmful particles that can make you sick.

You can find out about the most common types of air purifiers here.

We also have a complete air purifier buying guide that goes over every aspect of these devices.

4. Shrink Your Heating and Cooling Bills

If you’ve owned a home for at least one summer or winter season, then you know first-hand how expensive heating and cooling costs can be.

Sadly, nearly one-third (31%) of U.S. households find it challenging to pay their energy bills and sustain adequate heating and cooling in their homes, according to a recent EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS),

If you’ve ever found it difficult to pay your energy bills or you’re just tired of spending so much money to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your house, this new year is the perfect time to make some smart resolutions.

In another one of our posts, How to Conserve Heat and Save Money This Winter, we share multiple ways on how to cut your heating bill. One tip in particular includes heating only the rooms that you’re using (i.e. living room and bathroom) with a portable space heater.

Following that advice alone could drop your energy bills to just $20-30 per month during the colder months.

Similar advice also rings true for the summertime, but you would use a portable or window air conditioner instead. We have several posts on this topic, including the top window air conditioner for your home and the highest rated portable air conditioner for any room.

We also have a complete section on air cooling that includes articles about conditioning the air inside your home for the least amount of money as possible.

5. Switch to LED Light Bulbs

While we’re on the topic of saving money, one of the simplest New Year’s resolutions for homeowners that saves a lot more money than you may think is switching to LED light bulbs.

Just a few decades ago, light bulbs were just light bulbs, and you only had one choice – incandescent. But within recent years the innovation of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) and Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) have put incandescent lighting to shame.

These new types of light bulbs are not only more energy efficient, but they last a whole lot longer than the incandescent bulbs you grew up with.

In fact, incandescent light bulbs are being phased out of production and will no longer be for sale after the year 2020. Simply put, incandescent lighting wastes a lot of energy, cost more to operate and doesn’t last very long.

Now, when you’re browsing the lighting aisle to upgrade your lamps and ceiling fixtures, you may be tempted to buy CFLs as a replacement bulb because they’re much cheaper than LEDs. While the lower upfront price for CFLs may be attractive, it’s the long term energy cost that makes the biggest difference.

The chart below explains it all (source: Green is Better).

IncandescentCFLLED
Approximate cost per bulb$1$2$8 or less
Average lifespan1,200 hours8,000 hours25,000 hours
Watts used60W14W10W
No. of bulbs needed for 25,000 hours of use2131
Total purchase price of bulbs over 23 years$21$6$8
Total cost of electricity used (25,000 hours at $0.12 per kWh)$180$42$30
Total operational cost over 23 years$201$48$38

As you can see, buying LED light bulbs can really pay off over time and these savings ($163) are from just one light bulb. If you replace all of the light bulbs inside your house you could save a substantial amount of money.

For example, if you replaced just 10 incandescent bulbs with LEDs, you could save $1,630 dollars over the long term. Replace 20 bulbs and you would save $3,260.

Some of us have a lot more than 20 light bulbs inside our homes. Chandeliers, ceiling fans and bathroom fixtures often use at least 3-5 bulbs each, which in this case would amount to 9-15 bulbs in total for just these three things.

So, do yourself a favor this new year and switch to LED light bulbs if you’re going to be in your home for the foreseeable future.

6. Clean the Dryer Vent

Here’s a frightening statistic… more than 15,000 household fires each year are due to clogged dryer vents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Lint and other debris can build up inside the vent, reducing air flow to the dryer and causing a backup of dryer exhaust gases, which in turn creates a fire hazard.

Have you ever taken the time to clean out your dryer vent? If not, then this should be at the top of your New Year’s resolutions as a homeowner.

A clean dryer venting system can also improve the efficiency of your machine. If your loads seem to be taking a longer time to dry, it may be due to a clogged vent. Cleaning the vent may just be the simple fix that you need.

To properly clean the dryer venting system, you’ll want to clean both the hose and the vent that exhausts to the outdoors. Inexpensive dryer lint removal kits are available online or at your local hardware store. These kits consist of a large brush head that’s attached to the end of a long rod or wire.

Detach the flexible hose from the dryer and use the brush to clean lint and debris from the entire length of the hose. On the exterior of the home, push the brush through the vent trap to remove any debris that have collected in this area.

After you’re done cleaning your dryer vent, make it a habit to inspect and this area at least once per year. If you find yourself doing laundry every day, then you may want to consider a twice annual cleaning schedule.

7. Update at Least One Outdated Feature

Are there elements of your home that are feeling rather dated? Not every home renovation has to be a major overhaul for you to feel better about the space you live in.

How about this new year you make a resolution to update at least one element inside your home. It can be as simple as changing the light switches to ones with dimmers, replacing the kitchen or bathroom faucets, or buying a brand new appliance.

The options are endless for theses types of home improvement resolutions.

By slowly updating your home’s interior, you could actually increase the value of your home while also benefiting from the added comfort.