At this time last year, you were filled with inspiration. Excitement was in the air because 2006 was to be the year that you improved the look and feel of your home. You were finally going to complete all of those household projects that you've been wanting and needing to do.
Fast-forward to present day. 2006 came and went. You were busier than you were in 2005, and every weekend was booked solid. Now, it's 365 days later, and your home looks exactly the same as it did last year. In other words, the "resolution" you made about improving your home fell apart. Aside from basic maintenance, nothing got done.
How did this happen, you ask? Maybe it's because your resolution lacked focus. Perhaps you just didn't know where to begin. That's where YOU Magazine comes in! To help get you moving in the right direction, we've compiled our list of the top ten New Year's resolutions for improving your home. In doing so, we've been careful to consider everything from the time and cost involved to the overall "bang for your buck" these improvements will provide.
So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for improving your home.
10. Rid Your Home of Clutter
Clutter may seem harmless, but it can have a bigger impact than you might think. For starters, it's a distraction that frequently keeps us from focusing on bigger projects. It also makes a home look messy and reduces valuable space. For anyone who's thinking about putting their home on the market, it's a known fact that homes with less clutter will sell faster. Go through your entire home, including the garage, and clear out anything that's no longer of use. You can even earn some money for your efforts by holding a garage sale or donating the items to charity. Just be sure to get a receipt so that you can include your donation on your tax return.
9. Get Floored
Are your floors in need of a new look? There are more flooring options available now than ever before. Whether you're partial to carpet, hardwood, or tile, there are choices that will fit any budget. The best part is that a new floor, regardless of type, will not only improve the look of your home, it will also increase the value. If your floors are relatively new but look a little drab, you may want to have them professionally cleaned. Either way, this is a great project to complete during warmer months.
8. Spring is for Cleaning
When was the last time you did a real Spring cleaning? One where you cleaned behind the oven and fridge, pulled the books out of the bookcases before dusting, bleached the tubs, etc.? Keep in mind that a good Spring cleaning doesn't have to take place in one day. If you concentrate on thoroughly scouring one room at a time, you'll accomplish this project in no time. Your home will feel fresher, and it will only require regular, light cleanings for the remainder of the year.
7. Deal with Roof "Issues"
Winter can wreak havoc on your home's roof, so early Spring is a good time to assess its condition. Loose or cracked shingles should be replaced, damaged or clogged gutters should be dealt with, and the chimney should be thoroughly inspected. Many of us can complete the inspection process ourselves, but it's important to use extreme caution when climbing on top of your roof. If repairs are needed, then it's probably best to leave them in the hands of the professionals. Keep in mind that a roof is a major consideration when buying a home. By ensuring that your roof is in great condition, you'll reap the benefits whenever you choose to sell.
6. Windows Upgrade?
This home improvement is a win/win situation. If you're planning to remain in your home, updating the windows and window treatments will drastically improve its look. For those who are looking to sell, you'll increase buyer interest by making this improvement. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. From inside the home, windows provide a view of the outside world. Like the perfect frame on a painting, great windows and treatments only enhance that view. Improvements in this area range from inexpensive to pricey, and from do-it-yourself to hiring a professional, so do your research. If you decide to hire a pro, you'll want to inquire about any preparatory work you can do in advance to lower your cost.
5. Go with the Flow
Plumbing is very important to both homeowners and home buyers. Is the hot water hot enough? Do the showers have the perfect pressure? Does the toilet run longer than it should? Some of these issues can be solved with a trip to Home Depot while others will require a plumber. The important thing is that you start paying attention to these "minor" issues and work to get them resolved.
4. Embrace the 21st Century
Frequently homes that were built in the 70s and 80s seem more like they're from the 1770s or 1880s. The reason is that newer-built homes come with niceties like dimmer switches for the lighting, crown molding, digital display thermostats, smoke detectors in every room, and the list goes on. Look around your home and determine where it may be reflecting its age. And, if you've got acoustic ceilings, better known as "cottage cheese" ceilings, consider getting rid of them. It's a messy project, but it will improve the look and feel of your home.
3. Two Words: Paint... and Paint
Nothing improves the overall look of a home quite like a fresh coat of paint. This is true for both the outside and the inside of your home. For the outside, we recommend hiring professionals. This is the best way to ensure that the job is done quickly and correctly. When it comes to the inside of your home, there's nothing wrong with doing it yourself. Once again, tackle one room at a time, and don't move on until you're happy. Remember, you can always paint over a color that looked better in the store than it does on your walls. For homeowners who are thinking of selling, we suggest sticking to neutral colors when painting. Overly-stylized homes can sometimes be more difficult to sell.
2. Curb Appeal
Step outside your home and walk to the middle of the street, being mindful of any traffic. Take a good look at your home. Be as objective as you can, and ask yourself how does it look? Is the lawn in need of a manicure? Could the yard use a little more foliage? Are the front door and the garage door beaten up or in need of paint? You see where we're going with this. Assess which elements need a facelift, and use 2007 to make it happen. You'll have a smile on your face every time you pull up the driveway, and your neighbors will love you for it.
And the number one New Year's Resolution for improving your home…
Upgrade Your Kitchen and Your Bathrooms!
These two rooms are the most important in terms of your home's functionality and its worth. What meal preparer wouldn't want their cabinets refinished or a new stove to cook on? And who wouldn't want beautiful fixtures in their bathroom? Improvements for these two rooms can run the gamut with regard to the possibilities and the cost. The nice thing is that whether you opt for new tile or a new sink, any improvements you make in your kitchen and bathrooms will be well worth it.
Alright, no more excuses! You now have the focus you need to achieve your home improvement goals. Remember, it's not important or likely that you'll accomplish all of ten of these items. How about trying one or two to start? After all, you'll need something to occupy your weekends in 2008!