Who hasn’t made a New Year’s resolution for themselves? And then, by mid-February, we realize the resolution was too big, too ambitious, and too hard and we didn’t really want it anyway?! For 2021, how about resolving to help our home, and ourselves, with some practical, easy-to-achieve tasks? Check out this handful of ideas that, if I can accomplish, I KNOW you can, too!
Day to Day Living
We all know being stuck at home because of winter and COVID restrictions stinks. How about a fresh start for your floor plan by rearranging the furniture and optimizing your floor space for a new look? This small change is great for improving your mood, upgrading your environment and getting some hard cleaning in, too!
Instead of lighting a match to the mess (which I’d sometimes like to do!), start by picking a room and proceed to get rid of stuff! Ask yourself 1) Do I love this item? And 2) Do I use it regularly? If “NO!” pops into your head, the item goes into one of two places – the garbage or the donation box! You’ll feel good about helping someone who does need the item and you can get a nice tax deduction! If you are really ambitious (and committed to the work!), you could also use the “garage sale” box!
5 MINUTE TIDY UP!
Easy, peasy! Set a timer for five minutes and GO! Wipe off the mirror smudges, put away the box in the living room corner that’s been there for two months, pick up the bedroom floor, clear off a countertop – you name it! You can do this every night before going to bed or, my favorite, on commercial breaks or game breaks when watching TV! After a couple weeks, it is a great habit and efficient use of time! A lot better than stuffing more potato chips in my mouth!
We’ve all seen a Minnesota thunderstorm wreak havoc on our lives and personal belongings with wind, lightning and torrential rains. For less than $50, a simple surge protector can protect your computers, high def TVs and other electronic devices from electrical damage. And protect YOU from the emotional trauma of losing all your photos, music and important documents. To help with the stress of storm damage power loss that can last a few days (our longest stretch of no power was six very long days!), consider adding a whole house generator. While spendy (likely $3-5,000), it will be a god-send during that power outage! And save the freezer food!
This often overlooked task is easy, takes less than two minutes and can save you up to $60/year. Most furnace filters should be replaced monthly (check your furnace recommendations) to help protect your blower motor. Make sure the filter is facing in the right direction – use a Sharpie to put an arrow on the furnace to remind you what direction is correct! It is also highly recommended to have your furnace and air conditioner tuned up every year. It helps the units run efficiently, can prolong their lives and minimizes the risk of a dead furnace in mid-January when it is -20°!
These simple lighting units are a proven crime deterrent! They are often easy to install and require just basic tools. Entry doors, garage door and easy-to-hide places are the best spots for these units. For a couple hundred dollars, you can rest easy!
SEAL THOSE DRAFTY WINDOWS
While new windows are an attractive upgrade and bring some improved value to a home, they are also a very expensive upgrade! Well maintained older windows are NOT the drawback you might think when selling your home! With some labor, a few tools, caulk and/or weather stripping and 30-60 minutes of your time checking out YouTube videos, you will quickly be able to upgrade and recondition every window and door you have in your home! Or, you could spend $15-20,000 (or more!) for some awesome new windows and doors! So, the next you’re you are watching a Twins/Vikings/Timberwolves, etc., game, grab a window to recondition at the same time!
Exterior wooden garage service doors are often easy access points for the bad guys. If they aren’t unlocked (very commonly noted when showing homes!), they often have weak or rotted center panels that can easily be punched or kicked through. From there, for attached garages, it is just a couple of steps to the almost universally unlocked inside door to the house. With an hour or two of labor, brackets, plywood, 2x4s and simple tools ($50 in supplies, tops, probably less!), you can assemble your own simple garage security system. Check out the link at the bottom for instructions.
WATCH YOUR GUTTERS!
Did you know a small 1,000 sq. ft. roof will run off over 600 gallons of water during a 1” rainfall? With four downspouts (a common number we see), that is over 150 gallons of water being dumped next to each corner of your basement! Now multiply that during a summer Minnesota thunderstorm! Clean and properly functioning gutters are critical to moving that water AWAY from your foundation. Make sure your downspout extensions are attached, free of blockage and long enough to discharge water away from the house. Double check your extensions after mowing your lawn, before leaving on vacation or to stretch your legs during the next commercial break!
Interest rates are at historical lows right now. Also, homeowner equity levels are at all-time highs! If you are planning to stay in your home for a few more years, this might be the perfect time to tap some equity to make those long-delayed upgrades to your kitchen, bathroom or living areas! Other equity friendly improvements would be finishing your basement, adding a 3- or 4-season porch or installing a backyard deck! In the first year alone, you will get 50-60% of the cost back as additional value to your home with these projects. And the refinance might even lower your monthly mortgage payment at the same time!
These are just a handful of ideas out there on how to watch out for and improve the health of our homes and, in the process, our lives! For more terrific ideas, please check out the resource links below and feel free to add your own ideas on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/YourAtHomeTeam3.