Your first resolution for 2017 has been made and acted on – you’ve actually moved into your new home at New Year’s. Now come all the other resolutions you can make to live differently (and better!) in your new home and make a positive impact on your life.
French architect and designer Le Corbusier famously declared “A house is a machine for living in”. Here are six approaches you can adopt to make that “machine”, and the people who are living in it, as efficient as possible, turning those New Year’s good intentions into reality:
1. Reduce water consumption
As machines, our houses guzzle water. The average household uses about 400 gallons of water every day! This runs to about $700 per year. You can reduce this and make your living machine – and your pocket book – somewhat less stressed in this area.
Check for leaks and drips, make sure faucets are turned off tightly, and install low-flow showerheads with technology that reduces the flow yet keeps up the pressure. Replacing your pre-1994, water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow HE (high-efficiency) toilet will use less than 12% of the water your older models flushed away.
Other EPA-certified water-saving devices could save close to 30% of your water bills.
2. Lower your carbon footprint by reducing energy use
Your house gobbles energy. Check your HVAC ductwork for holes, loose connections and potential leaks. Sealing and insulating your ductwork will improve its efficiency by up to 20%, saving you $200 per year or more. In addition, turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house.
Use LED lightbulbs, which can last for 20,000 to 50,000 hours between changes, or about 18 to 46 years when used for 3 hours each day!
Get back to basics with your laundry: dry some of your clothes on the line in the yard – you’ll find they dry more naturally and actually smell fresher.
Don’t run your dishwasher or washing machine until they are full.
In fact, you should do this before you even move. Get rid of “stuff” …you know, the items that accumulate and just lay around that you never use. You could hold garage sale before moving. If you really feel that there is stuff that needs to come with you, then create especially designated storage space in your new home for this purpose. Put up a high shelf between the walls of a narrow hallway, or tuck boxes in out-of-the-way nooks, such as crawl spaces under stairs. You could also use spare wall space to build shelves, which can be both decorative and functional.
If you’ve downsized (always a good idea!) and your smaller home is tight for space, you can put your things in a storage unit.
4. Adopt good habits for managing your bills and finances
Develop a yearly budget for home improvement and maintenance to prevent overspending.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates average annual maintenance and home improvement costs about $3,300 per household. Leading lending institutions state the average costs of yearly maintenance and upkeep at between 1% to 3% of your home’s initial price.
Carry forward any year-end excess for the future contingencies.
5. Become a self-sustainable gardener: grow your own herbs and vegetables
Start growing your own herbs and vegetable. It’s surprisingly easier than you would imagine. You’ll also save money, and there is nothing like creating a scrumptious salad from produce from your own garden.
You could even talk to your neighbors about starting a community garden which would serve your local community. It’s also a great way to meet your new neighbors.
Fill the garden plot with your favorite herbs and vegetables. You can also grow herbs on your countertop or windowsill. The house will also smell fresh and fragrant.
6. Time for DIY: get into those projects you’ve been meaning to start…
A great opportunity to spend more time with your family and fulfill your New Year’s resolutions is by sharing home improvement projects. Find some fun-to-do activities like planting a tree or working in your new vegetable garden.
There are plenty of fun projects, like taking an old piece of furniture and “distressing it” (making it look antique and what’s called “shabby chic”).
You could also build your own shelving unit. You don’t need to buy expensive materials – a screw driver, electric drill, some paint, and you could use some old planks.
Paint a room (or even just a wall). A fresh coat of paint signifies fresh beginnings! And changing up your wall color is an easy and inexpensive way to update the decor of your home.
Perhaps the house you have moved into needs some additional work as well. Try not to spend money on contractors, unless it’s a huge job (like re-roofing or installing new plumbing). Most of the work can be DIY.
The New Year is a time of fresh starts, new beginnings and making resolutions to improve your quality of life. If moving to a new house was on your list for 2017, why not take it to the next level with these 6 New Year’s resolution ideas for your home?