8 for ’18: New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners
Eight ways to improve your home and the way you live in it in the New Year.
As we head into the New Year, resolutions and promises abound. Here are eight “Homeowner Resolutions” to try for 2018. You can help make your neighborhood brighter, your home healthier, your pocketbook happier, and your corner of the world a little bit greener with these easy tips…and no dieting involved!
Be more energy efficient
In 2018, we’re challenging homeowners across the country to become more energy efficient—it’s good for the environment AND your utility bills.
Consider upgrading certain features of your home such as your thermostat, large appliances, and windows to energy efficient products. Want a tip? Look for the ENERGY STAR label. Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows has been shown to lower household energy bills by an average of 12% nationwide.1
Consider switching to energy efficient LED light bulbs and make sure your fireplace is properly outfitted with dampers, doors, and fireplace inserts to reduce heat loss.
Simple changes to your daily routine can make a difference, too! Turn the lights off when you leave the room, take shorter showers, and turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Unplug the “energy vampires” in your home when they aren’t in use: plugged in electrical devices like TVs, stereos, microwaves, and other small appliances draw electricity even when they aren’t actively running. Make it easy by using a power strip for electronic devices and flipping one switch to power them all down.
Get in the routine of regular home-safety checks. Lists like this one from Redfin can help you get started.
What are some key dates during the year to remember to help keep your family safe? Fire Prevention Week is observed the week of October 9 every year. Take some time to review these tips from the National Fire Prevention Association.
Early April marks National Window Safety Week. Andersen Corporation and Renewal by Andersen encourage homeowners to familiarize themselves with ways to help prevent window-related accidents and to read more about our LookOut For Kids® window safety program.
Starting a garden might be one of the most beneficial resolutions you could make.
Gardening can cut your grocery bill, reduce your carbon footprint, keep you active, and help reduce stress. Plus, it’s something the whole family can take part in and learn from.
Are you a gardening beginner? The Old Farmer’s Almanac can help get you started.
Don’t have a lot of space? Not to worry! Check out these seven ideas for crafty container gardens and perfect patio pots—they’re small in space, but big on taste!
Donate what you don’t use
On the list of popular resolutions, “decluttering” is right up there.
If you’re preparing to purge your belongings, don’t just toss it all in the garbage and sprint away.
Many of us have “stuff” all around up the house we don't really need, want, or use. Why not give your unwanted items extra life, and save space in a landfill?Instead of throwing it away, consider donating your gently used items to a local charity. You free up space, and the organization provides for those in need or is able to re-sell items and earn much-needed cash. (Always check with the agency before dropping items off, however, as many places have restrictions on what types of donations they accept.)
- Goodwill: clothing, electronics, appliances, and furniture
- Habitat ReStore: small and large donations of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, and building materials
- Salvation Army: clothing, furniture, and household goods
- Hope Services: cars, household goods, and bicycles
How to decide if you should keep it or send it on to a new home? A good rule of thumb—if you haven’t used it in the past year, you’re not going to miss it.
Another idea is to hold a clothing swap. This can be a fun, free way for friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and the like to find new wardrobe finds.
Boost your home’s curb appeal
Whether you’re planning to put your home on the market or you’re just looking to add value, enhancing your home’s curb appeal is a great place to start for homeowners in the New Year.
For most, the exterior of a home is an afterthought when it comes to upgrades, when actually, some of the most cost-effective and easiest upgrades a homeowner can make happens on the outside.
Here are seven ideas to get you started on your home’s exterior facelift.
Go low (maintenance)
When we’re ticking off common resolutions, reducing stress is right up there with losing weight and decluttering. Help your home “destress” with low-maintenance materials and products that are designed to be durable, resilient, and long-lasting.
- LED bulbs are long-lasting, cool to the touch, and much more durable than traditional incandescents. ENERGY STAR Qualified LED Lighting uses at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting, saving on operating expenses. They also lasts 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent lighting and about 2 to 5 times longer than fluorescent lighting. That means no bulb-replacements, no ladders, no ongoing disposal program.2
- Quartz countertops are incredibly tough, stain-resistant, and impervious to moisture. Engineered quartz comes in hundreds of colors and grains and is also very resistant to scratches, cuts, and high heat. Plus, they do not need the regular sealing of granite.
- Windows made with Andersen’s exclusive Fibrex® composite material combine the strength and stability of wood with the low-maintenance features of vinyl. They’re warranted not to flake, rust, blister, peel, crack, pit, or corrode, and they do not need painting or staining. Plus, our windows stand the test of time and are as easy to operate after 20 years as the day they were installed.3
Go gutter-guilt free
Okay…if there is a homeowner resolution equivalent to the dreaded “go on a diet” New Year’s resolution, it may be “clean gutters.” But hear us out…there’s method to the madness.
Your gutters help keep your home dry and safe. By directing water away from the house, gutters reduce the chance of hefty water damage to your basement, siding, roof, wall, foundation, and more. Those are some big bucks you’re putting on the line if clearing a little debris away doesn’t get done. So resolve to keep those trusty trenches tree-debris free and clean them at least twice a year. Want to learn more? Check out these tips for gutter maintenance.
Plan a party
Now, it’s time to show off your clean, organized, and energy efficient home! Pick a date and throw a random party in 2018. Invite your family and grandchildren or just some close friends, and as Oprah Winfrey once said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”