Make a Resolution—for Your House
If you've planned to repair the broken garage door or the sticky window for longer than you can remember, now's the time to make good. Make a list of all the household problems that need fixes, then focus on the ones that are actually doable. You may need to come to term with your squeaky floors, for instance, but replacing missing floor tiles is well within reach.
Plan for Your Next Renovation
Is it in your budget to redo the kitchen or bathroom this year? As you look ahead financially for the new year, also plan for any upcoming remodels. Set a dollar limit now to help you decide whether to call a contractor or DIY. Just be sure to set aside some extra money as buffer because most remodeling projects go over budget.
Staying up to date on the latest home automation is a great way to start the new year—and it can bring yearlong savings, too. Installing a programmable thermostat, for instance, could help you save on energy costs while allowing you the freedom to control your home's heating and cooling from a mobile phone.
Purge Your Home
After the holidays, homes are too often overrun with clutter. Reign in the excess by taking an inventory of your house, and boxing up what can be donated or sold. Remember: if it's not in working condition, it could be recycled at the curbside, or at an electronics or textile recycling center. If your stuff does need to be trashed, do so properly removing dangerous chemicals or electronics to the proper waste station.
Freshen Grout and Tile
Welcome the new year with a fresh home—and sparkling clean tiles. Not only do clean tiles help keep you healthy throughout cold and flu season, but they obviously look much neater. For a chemical-free clean, cover your grout lines in a mixture of baking soda and water, and scrub once it's had a chance to set. To remove more stubborn stains, try adding hydrogen peroxide.
Humidify Your Home
Putting moisture back into dry indoor air can be a full time job come winter. Consider investing in a whole house humidifier to improve air quality, and help your family stay healthy and comfortable all winter long. If you can't go all out, a small and portable unit can improve the comfort of any room.
Organize a Closet
If you struggle with clutter, now is the time to put things in order—and try to keep it that way for the whole year. Buy or DIY an over-the-door organizer to keep belts, ties, or accessories in order. Consider adding a tension rod to your closet to hang an additional layer of clothing—or to serve as a makeshift shoe rack.
Related: 10 "Zero Dollar" Storage Hacks
If winter weather is headed to your region, make sure you know the rules of safe snow removal to avoid strain and injury. Choose the right shovel, stretch your muscles before you get to work, and push snow—never lift—when clearing the path.
Paint a Room
Get a new lease on life with a freshly painted room. Choose a timeless neutral color or go bold with one of the new year's color trends. Be sure to properly ventilate the space while you're working and use a low-VOC paint to protect your family from powerful fumes.
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