What resolutions are you setting for 2020 and the decade ahead? Are you ready to buckle down and become more healthy?
That’s a great goal, but what exactly does it mean? You may be thinking about doing more yoga, eating more vegetables, and losing a little weight. But did you know that your home could be working against you by increasing your stress and your chance of getting sick?
Don’t let your home be the reason you flub your New Year’s resolutions. Here are five easy things you can do around the home to ensure a happier healthier you in the year ahead.
Clear the Clutter
Old magazines. Toys your kids have outgrown. Amazon boxes that should have gone into recycling on Boxing Day. Whosits and whatsits galore. Tis the season to clear out the old and make room for the new!
One of the quickest (and free!) ways to feel good about your home is to tidy it up and remove anything that no longer sparks joy. We’ve written before about how to go room-by-room and straighten up your home. But in addition to making your home look cleaner and less cluttered, the practice helps you keep your home actually cleaner, too. Empty boxes crowding corners and piles of clothes or old papers are the best dust collectors. By moving them out of the way, not only do you remove these dust traps, you make it easier for yourself to get into those spaces to keep them clean and allergen free.
Make Safety a Priority
In addition to collecting dust, old magazines and loose papers can be a fire hazard. Pair them with a linty dryer trap and a fire extinguisher that hasn’t been checked since you bought it years ago, and all your goals for 2020 could go up in flames.
Whether you own or rent, there are a few things everyone should do each year (or more often!) to ensure you’re not living with health or fire risks. As we alluded to, check your fire extinguisher to make sure it’s in working condition. Next time you run a load of laundry, check and clean your dryer vents and ducts. And don’t forget about the very air you’re breathing! Check your radon mitigation system if you have one, or test your home if you don’t. Installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home is also important, especially if you have a gas fireplace. Make a schedule to regularly clean household vents and change filters, as well, to prevent mold and other allergens from circulating through your home.
Planning on making a few changes around the home this year anyway? Make your home and your wallet a little healthier as you go by cutting your energy usage. Even a few small changes to your surroundings can make a big difference.
Are you planning on remodeling a bathroom? Install a low-flow showerhead and LED lights as part of your new look. Adding a new suite of smart home gadgets in your living room? Plug them into power strips that are easy to turn off at night or when you take trips. Want to improve your gardening skills this year? Put in drought-tolerant landscaping so you save on watering your yard, or give composting a try. And above all, remember what momma taught you: Turn off lights when you leave the room. And adjust the temperature at night and when you leave for work so you’re not wasting energy on heating or cooling an empty house.
Make a Chore Chart
Okay, so you don’t need to literally build a chore chart with gold star stickers. But if your New Year’s resolutions include new routines for diet and exercise, they should include a cleaning routine, too.
What things need to be put away every night? We recommend getting dishes into the dishwasher and dirty clothes into the hamper. What actions need to be taken at least once a week? Try setting aside some time (an hour is a good start, and you can add to it if needed) for weekly cleaning. Keep all your cleaners in a portable container that’s easy to move from room to room. Then, complete your cleaning from high (ceilings and cabinets) to low (floors), working your way clockwise around each room. Does that sound like a lot of work? Get the whole family involved! In addition to teaching great cleaning skills, you can finish as a team in record time.
Prepare for Guests
Is one of your resolutions to spend more time with friends in 2020? What a great idea! Spending time with friends boosts your happiness and reduces your stress. And it’s easy to feel more comfortable inviting friends into your home by setting aside a special space for entertaining!
A “new” entertainment space doesn’t necessarily require a big investment of time or money. Instead, a few updates can give you a fresh, new look. Rearrange your furniture so that it is oriented for conversation and not just staring at the flat screen. Add a few houseplants to improve the Feng Shui and bring new energy to the space. And if you’re looking for a bigger change, pull a new accent color from your existing decor. Add a couple new accessories that feature that color, and you’ll be surprised how much the space appears to change. A few throw pillows or a runner rug should do the trick!
What are your New Year’s goals? Share them with us in the comments.
This post inspired by HGTV’s 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home.