“This year, things are going to be different.” We’ve all uttered the words. Come New Years Day it’s a time-honoured tradition, whether it’s losing weight or treating your fellow man/woman better, changing your ways (or making a feeble attempt to do so). But what about resolutions for your home? Playing host to you and yours for most of the year, it might be a good idea to look towards your home when setting goals for the New Year. With January already in full swing, CREB® takes a look a few options home-based New Years resolutions.
1. Dedicate yourself to de-cluttering. A turn of the calendar makes a great indicator for just how long you’ve hung on to that ugly lamp or unfortunate sweater. An easy rule is to discard anything you haven’t used for the last year. If you’ve gained an item of new clothing over the holidays, donate two others you rarely wear to charities like Goodwill, The Mustard Seed or The Salvation Army. The same rule could be applied to those receiving new books over the holidays who have no interest in pursuing a home library. Old electronics now rendered obsolete by those Boxing Day door crashers can be taken to most Staples, Best Buy and Future Shop locations in the city for recycling.
2. Resign yourself to repairing. Along with tossing out all those unwanted items, tending to those home improvements – both big and small – is one of the most oft-neglected tasks. While winter might not be the best time to tackle that outdoor paint job, chilly weekends provide a great excuse to start smaller indoor tasks. In addition to improving the look and value of your home, DIY work can help cut calories. For example, installing ceramic tile – a common aspect of kitchen and bathroom remodels – burns 238 calories an hour, while painting that outdated bedroom burns 136 calories an hour. Refinishing that hardwood floor, one task sure to help you trim down while improving the look of your home, will consume nearly 250 calories an hour.
3. Get going green. Along with trying to treat your fellow man/woman a little better this year, why not try treat Mother Earth with a little more kindness? Replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED) uses between 75 and 80 per cent less energy. Switching to cold water when doing your laundry can also yield savings, as 85 to 90 per cent of the energy used to wash your clothes is used to heat the water. When considering any Boxing Day purchases, consider replacing outdated appliances with those with an ENERGY-STAR rating to further cut back on your eco-footprint. Keep your furnace clean properly adjusted with annual maintenance, and consider installing a programmable thermostat, as you can save two per cent on your heating bill for every one degree you turn down your heat.
4. Manage your mortgage. With the onset of another calendar year, taking some time to fast track your mortgage can pay big dividends. Sherry Jenkins of Mortgage Intelligence recommends homeowners accelerate their mortgage payments by tying them to their pay schedule. By doing so, you can fit in an extra payment each year, meaning you’re paying off principal faster – leaving you with less interest to pay overall. Homeowners lucky enough to receive of a hefty Christmas bonus or extravagant cash gift from a generous relative can also pay down their mortgages by using that newfound money to pay down their principal. Homeowners can also consolidate their loans into a new mortgage and use the savings to boost your payments, resulting in big savings in overall interest.