9 for ’19: New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners
Nine ways, big and small, 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 nine “Homeowner Resolutions” to try for 2019. You can help make your neighborhood brighter, your step(pier) peppier, your home healthier, your pocketbook happier, and your corner of the world a little bit greener with these easy tips…and no dieting involved!
In 2019, 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.
Forget the yearly (empty) promise to go to the gym or to exercise more. Why not treat your body and your soul by simply resolving to play more. No one said being active means you have to be a gym rat…and no one ever said you have to act your age all the time. We grownups can, and should, play. In fact, there are studies that show the many benefits of playing for adults, which include increased creativity, productivity, and feelings of well-being.
Join a sports team or rec league (pickleball, anyone?). Try a new hobby like tennis lessons, ice skating, or horseback riding. Walk a neighbor’s dog. Take a nighttime hike to look at the stars. Run through the sprinklers. Resolve to make a date night every week—and go somewhere active…TopGolf, Lasertag, paintball, even bowling.
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.
Want to see more easy fixes for household hazards? Check out our article on essential home safety.
Grow with it
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!
And I know we promised no diets… but this is a non-diet way to use up all those garden veggies! Try a Meatless Monday and eat vegetarian one day a week. Meatless doesn’t have to mean bland, either. You can make delicious versions of almost all your favorites—lasagna, tacos, pizza, quiche, grilled kebabs…you name it. Check out some of these easy weeknight meals from Southern Living to get you started.
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. 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.
Not sure where to take it? Here are a few places looking for donations:
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 face lift.
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.
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
Your house is decluttered...it's clean, organized, and energy efficient...and you've resolved to play more. What to do? Why not pick a date and throw a random party in 2019. Celebrate for no reason--or any reason you choose. 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."
Get up 10 minutes earlier
When it somes right down to it, we can't tackle All The Things, all the time. Sometimes we need to start small. We all have big goals after New Year's. But sometimes, real change can come in tiny ways. While committing to rising before dawn or promising yourself you'll get up an hour earlier every day can be losing propositions, simplly setting the alarm for a few minutes earlier is easy--and chances are you won't even notice the time. And you would be surprised--you can do a lot with 10 extra minutes!
Whether your resolution is to be more organized, get more exercise, pamper yourself, learn a new hobby, get more exercise... a seemingly small extra 10 minutes a day can make a big difference.
Use that 10 minutes to add stretching or a set of planks to your workout. Spend 10 minutes every day doing one small household chore—tackle the junk drawer, one compartment at a time, purge your old magazines, etc. Or, take 10 minutes to do something mindful entirely for yourself—meditate, read a chapter of a book, play with your cat or dog.
*See limited warranty for details. Based on testing of 10 double-hung units per ASTM E2068 20 years after installation.