HGTV put together a list of 5 goals to make your home more organized, efficient, and safe in 2014:
1. Streamline. Clearing the clutter in your home is an inexpensive way to improve your surroundings. Go through each room in your home and clear anything you don’t use, wear, or love, and donate it to charity. Anything not used on a daily basis should be cleared from surfaces and put away in baskets, bins, or drawers.
2. Make it safe. To ensure their home is safe and free from health hazards and fire risks, every homeowner should consider doing the following things:
- Check your house for radon. One in every fifteen homes has elevated levels which can be very dangerous to your health. You can purchase a test kit for about $20 at your local hardware store.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom in addition to fire detectors.
- In addition to the lint trap, clean the vents and ducts behind your dryer. Lint is highly combustible and accounts for more than 15,000 building fires a year.
- Make sure you have proper ventilation in each room––particularly bathrooms and attics––to avoid mold.
- If your home was built or last remodeled before 1978, consider testing for lead paint and asbestos flooring.
3. Shrink your carbon footprint––along with your bills! You don’t have to buy a hybrid car or install solar panels to make a difference. Here are some easy ways to cut energy usage in your home:
- Switch off the lights when you leave a room.
- Turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house and dial your heater down to 55 degrees at night.
- Install compact fluorescent bulbs and low-flow showerheads.
- Try drying some of your clothes on the line and wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them.
- Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.
- Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.
- Give composting a try. Your garden will thank you.
4. Come up with a weekly plan to keep your house clean. Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning and owner of the Clean Team housekeeping service in San Francisco suggests the following:
Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night – no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place.
Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:
- Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths, in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.
- Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder’s apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)
- Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that’s done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.
- For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. Divide the jobs up to make the cleaning process go faster and seem more manageable.
5. Get your home ready to entertain. A bit of rearranging and a few updates can make your home much more guest-friendly. Interior designer Stuart McCormick suggests adding plants as a way to make your home feel more “finished”, selecting a new accent color to freshen up your room with a new throw pillow, add a colorful rug or runner to help anchor your space, or rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just toward the television.
This post can be found in its original form at HGTV.
Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens