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December 31, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners

If you’re searching for New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep, it’s time to turn your attention to your most valuable possession – your residence! As a homeowner, you can elevate your living space and feel good about your “willpower” at the same time – just by keeping a few of these easy to achieve resolutions. Instead of cutting calories this year, try cutting your energy budget. Switch over to the newer, more efficient light bulbs. Keep your thermostats at a consistent temperature instead of turning them up and down, turn off lights when you’re not in the room, run dishwashers and laundry appliances only with full loads, and refer back to other energy saving tips that we’ve published in our blog over the past couple of years. At Ernest Signature Custom Homes, we’re dedicated to searching out new and innovative ways to save you money on your heating, cooling and electric bills! Make a promise to catch up on or start those home improvement projects you’ve been considering. It’s so easy to let your busy schedule draw you away from tasks that can make your home safer, more attractive or more economical to own. Choose a project for each month and put it on a special calendar. Put a strict deadline on the task; make sure it’s completed by the end of the month. Even brand new homes can use a little personalization. You can add custom shelving to closets, paint your kids’ rooms or upgrade your furniture. Divide your monthly mortgage payment by twelve. Resolve to set aside this amount per each month, and keep it in either a special bank account or stashed away somewhere safe. At the end of the year, make an extra mortgage payment to help reduce your debt load. Clearing the clutter from our homes is something most of us want to do, but it seems like something else is always more important at the time. Vow to stick by your resolution to pare down and tidy up. Choose a day each month where you devote a few dedicated hours to decluttering a room. In January, purge your kitchen of gadgets you don’t use, expired pantry items, aging spices, ratty hand towels and most of the items in your infamous “junk drawer”. Winnow out abandoned toys and outgrown clothes from the kid’s rooms in February. Are you ready for the garage in March? After you’ve been through each room, start the rotation over again the next month so that you can keep on top of the urge to re-collect things you really don’t want or need. And before buying anything new this year, ask yourself these questions: Do I really NEED this thing right now? Can I “make do” with something I already own? Do I have somewhere to put it when I’m done using it? If the answers to these questions aren’t in line with the purchase, simply walk away. Establish a schedule for housekeeping so that chores don’t pile up on you and overwhelm your weekends. Make a list of daily tasks that must be done, without exception, and make sure that all family members work together to do them. Dishes must be washed or loaded into the dishwasher each day, laundry must go in hampers and loads must be run with the hampers are full. Items not in their proper places must be put away. Pull the family together all at one time once a week to cover must-do’s such as changing sheets, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming and dusting. If everyone pitches in, you’ll be done in just an hour or two, and can move along to other things you’d like to do. Use your yard to “go green” in the New Year. Up the curb appeal of your home by resolving to improve the look of your lawn, shrubs, trees and ornamental plants. Create an outdoor calendar similar to your indoor versions to keep track of essential tasks. If you want to take it a step further, consider planting a vegetable garden to grow your own fresh produce, starting a composting pile to dispose of biodegradable waste or buying a rain barrel to collect and repurpose water for home use. Just make sure to check with your homeowner’s association to make sure you won’t be violating any local regulations before getting started with any of these plans. With a little determination and planning, you can make your 2017 New Year’s resolutions a resounding success!
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