Welcome to 2019! It's a time for new beginnings, fresh starts, and a few resolutions.
Yes - the dreaded "R" word. But, this time we have a few you can actually keep. You'll be motivated to keep them because they'll make your life better every day, save you money, or even make you money in the long run.
What on Earth is all this about? Your home of course!
Your home is probably your biggest investment, it's where you keep your stuff, and it's the place or thing that affects your daily experiences as much as anything else. So keep reading, this is important...
Here are 4 New Year's Resolutions for your Hampton Roads home.
With quite a few cold weeks still ahead of us, it'll pay to look into your heating and insulation systems.
Putting insulation on any exposed ducts is relatively easy, and checking for drafts is even easier. You don't have to fix anything yet, just start paying attention to where you might be losing heat, energy, and by extension, money.
Consider turning down the heat by a degree or two. Putting on an extra layer isn't that hard, and might even improve the winter mood. Colorful sweaters or hats always look good - and they're comfy too!
Spring is coming (eventually), so there are some things you can do now to prepare for the warmer months as well.
Take a look at a few options for installing solar power - you might be surprised at how low the prices have gotten.
And when you get around to your spring gardening, pick up a few drought resistant plants. It's easy to find lists of hardy, native plants to improve your garden's overall resilience and efficiency.
When the outdoor season does roll around, make sure to water your garden in the morning or afternoon to save water.
All these changes and more are simple and relatively painless. Not only that, but they have so many benefits, in comfort, savings, and helping the planet.
Make Your Home Safer
Our homes keep us safe from a great many things, but they can also present a few hazards of their own if you're not careful. So here are a few safety tips for you and your family to remember in the year ahead:
- Don't overload electrical outlets or power strips
- Remove the lint from your dryer regularly
- Have local emergency numbers posted up somewhere
- Make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency
Thankfully, there are already a bunch of useful devices built and installed to keep you safe. Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and gas monitors - first check that you have them, then check that they're all working.
Smoke alarms should have a "test" button, but you should probably take out the batteries and check them independently too.
As for the fire extinguishers - are they all in good condition? Does everyone in your household know where they are? Do they know the type and what fires they should be used on? Is everyone familiar with how to use a fire extinguisher?
Here's your resolution: Have a talk about fire-safety. Easy!
And finally, purchase some detectors for carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, radon, or propane (if you're using it). Gas detectors are relatively cheap these days and can be ordered off Amazon.
Take a Look Around
This resolution is really part of the first two - but it's quick and easy and forms the basis of a whole range of home solutions.
Here it is: Look at your house.
Yep...that's pretty much it.
If you want to catch problems before they start, or before they become too big to handle, or just to see what improvements can be made, then taking a fresh and honest look at your home (inside and out) is the first and most important step.
Go exploring. Poke around. Shine a flashlight into all the weird in between spaces. Look for trouble.
What kind of trouble?
It could be anything, but particularly leaks, pests, visibly damaged materials, or even just excessive clutter. Your home is where you spend a lot of your time - so get to know it a little better.
Get Involved in Your Community
No one really lives alone. Even if you live out in the country, you still have neighbors (somewhere), and someway somehow they have an effect on your environment and community and so, by extension, you as well.
So, my recommendation here is that you do something to make contact or get to know the people that live around you.
This has two benefits:
First, it'll improve your quality of life. Feeling connected to your community, or even making a new friend - these things just make your life better.
Second, your neighbors are those you can rely on during a crisis. Caring neighbors also keep you safe, maintaining a lookout for potential dangers, like pesky package thieves.
Here are a few specific steps for improving contacts with and within your community:
- Make yourself visible, perhaps by spending more time in your front yard
- Go over and introduce yourself to your neighbors - make sure to get contact details!
- Participate in community events, or even city management
Your area/town/neighborhood probably has some sort of a presence online somewhere, like Facebook, so find these groups and throw in your 2-cents.
New Year, New Home?
Hopefully some of these changes look relatively small and easy enough to implement going forward. But, if you're having trouble staying on top of things, consider setting up some reminders. You could put up a note on the fridge, on a wall calendar, or even go the high-tech route and set up reminders on your phone or desktop computer.
Good luck and happy New Year!